Harry says he and Meghan 'had no other option' but to 'step back' from royal family

"I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I've ever known," Harry said.

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By Tim Stelloh

Prince Harry said Sunday that he and his wife, Meghan, had "no other option" but to step back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family.

In a speech during a charity event, the Duke of Sussex said he and Meghan had hoped to continue serving the royal family without public funding.

"Unfortunately, that wasn't possible," he said. "I've accepted this, knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I've ever known."

Buckingham Palace announced Saturday that Harry and Meghan would no longer use their "royal highness" titles, nor would they receive public funds for their royal duties.

They also plan to pay back $2.4 million in public money that they spent renovating Frogmore Cottage, their home in the United Kingdom.

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On Jan. 8, the couple said on Instagram that they had decided to step back from the royal family after months of "reflection and internal discussion." They said they would split their time between the U.K. and North America.

Observers have speculated that racism may have played a role in the decision. Meghan, who is American, is the daughter of a white father and an African American mother.