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

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By Tim Stelloh  with NBC News World News
Image: Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in 2018 in London.   -   Copyright  Chris Jackson

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 Saturday night, 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."

On Saturday, Buckingham Palace announced 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 their home in the United Kingdom, Frogmore Cottage.

On Jan. 8, the couple said on Instagram that they had made the decision 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 that decision. Meghan, who is American, is the daughter of a white father and an African American mother.