The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 'no longer working members of the Royal Family' after they had to choose between personal freedom and an official royal role.

Last night Harry revealed his sadness in a powerful and deeply personal speech clearly aimed at the British people - when he addressed guests at a dinner for supporters of the charity Santable that he co-founded.

He said: "Once Meghan and I were married we were excited, we were hopeful and we were here to serve. For those reasons it brings me great sadness that it has come to this.

"What I want to make clear is that we are not walking away and we certainly aren't walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations without public funding. Unfortunately this was not possible.

"I have accepted this, knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope you understand what it had come to, that I 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.

"I was born into this life and it is a great honour to serve my country and the Queen.

"When I lost my mum 23 years ago you took me under your wing, you've looked out for me for so long but the media can be a powerful force and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than us.

"It has been our privilege to serve you and we will continue to lead a life of service."

*Earlier in the weekend Harry and Meghan has issued a more formal statement through Buckingham Palace, saying they understood they were 'required' to step back from royal duties.

The announcement marked the conclusion of talks about their future with senior members of the family and royal aides.

The Queen issued an emotional statement, saying she recognised the 'challenges' they had faced over the past year, adding: "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."

Her statement included a personal tribute to the Sussexes.

She said: "Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.

"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."

*Meghan and Harry have already begun a transition phase of living in Canada and the UK. The duchess is there now with son Archie after the Sussexes spent six weeks over the festive period.

The Sussexes keep the style of HRH - His or Her Royal Highness - but the statement issued on their behalf said it will no longer be used from the spring, 'as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family'.

The duke will continue to work with his charities and organisations like Sentebale - his Africa-based charity supporting youngsters with HIV - and the duchess will remain with her good causes.

The Rugby Football League said on Sunday that Harry will continue as patron.