Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Prince Harry, in his first public comments since his announcing he and wife Meghan Markle will reduce their roles as British royals, said Sunday there was "no other option" but for them to step back from their positions.
Speaking at a charity event in London, Harry gave full-throated support for his wife and said he planned to continue supporting charities that are important to him along with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.
Buckingham Palace said a day earlier that Prince Harry and Markle agreed to give up their "royal highness" titles, cease using public funds and repay $2.4 million in public money paid to remodel their home in Britain.
In his speech, which has been viewed more than 4.8 million times on Instagram, Harry hinted at his disdain for the British press and his wish to live a more "peaceful" life.
"I was born into this life and it is a great honor to serve my country and the queen," Harry told the audience. "When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force. And my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful."
The prince strongly came to the defense of his wife, who some in the British press accused of leading Harry into the decision to reduce his role with the royal family.
"I also know that you've come to know me well enough over all of these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do," Harry said. "And she does. And she's the same woman I fell in love with."
Prince Harry expressed "great sadness" about the decision, which will allow the couple to split time between Britain and Canada, where Markle lived while she was one of the lead actresses in the television series "Suits."
He added, though, he was willing to take a "leap of faith" in an effort to move forward with a new life with his family.