“It has also been a privilege to meet so many of you, and to feel your excitement for our son Archie, who saw snow for the first time the other day and thought it was bloody brilliant!” Harry proudly told the crowd on Sunday evening when he attended an event organized for his Sentebale charity, which is aimed at supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children afflicted with HIV.
PEOPLE recently confirmed that the Duke of Sussex will remain in the U.K. until at least early this week for meetings.
After spending the end of the year on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he and Meghan returned to London on Jan. 7 to attend a handful of engagements, but she flew back to Canada to reunite with Archie on Jan. 15, soon after the couple announced their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.
Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
In his speech on Sunday evening, Harry addressed their recent agreement with Queen Elizabeth about their royal exit.
“The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I have grown up feeling support from so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms as you saw me find the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life. Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hurray!” Harry shared.
“I also know you’ve come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do. And she does, and she’s the same woman I fell in love with. We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride. Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve,” he continued.
“For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges,” Harry said. “And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”
In addition to telling the audience that he would “step my family back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life,” Harry also expressed his respect for the Queen.
“I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months,” he shared. “I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me. Together, you have given me an education about living. And this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined. We are taking a leap of faith – thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”
One day prior, on Saturday, the monarch released a statement, announcing that she and her family had “found a constructive and supportive way forward.”
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” the Queen’s statement said. “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
Buckingham Palace also shared a statement explaining the details of Harry and Meghan’s next steps that will take effect this spring.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments,” the statement said, before revealing that Harry and Meghan will “no longer receive public funds” and will no longer be using their HRH titles.