Prince Harry mentioned his mum Princess Diana twice during an emotionally charged speech in light of he and Meghan's decision to quit as senior royals.

The Duke of Sussex opened up about his controversial decision saying he had "no other option" but to leave the UK for North America, admitting his "great sadness" at quitting The Firm.

Speaking at the Ivy Chelsea Club in London on Sunday at an event for charity Sentebale he pulled no punches as he tackled the move head on.

After emphasising the UK is "my home" and thanking the public for welcoming Meghan "with open arms", he added lightheartedly: "Finally, the second son of Diana got hitched, hooray!"

Prince Harry did hold back in his emotionally charged speech at The Ivy Chelsea Club

The Sussexes married in May 2018 in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, seven years after older brother Prince William married Kate Middleton in April 2011 at Westminster Abbey.

Harry then made reference again to Princess Diana later in his speech when he thanked the British public for taking him "under your wing" after her death.

He said: "When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked after 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, because this is so much bigger than just us."

Diana, Princess of Wales, with her son Prince Harry in 1987

The prince was just 12 when Diana died following a crash in Paris, with footage of him walking behind her coffin breaking the nation's hearts.

The speech marked the first time he spoke publicly about the reasons why he and Meghan decided to move to Canada since they announced their plans to split from the royal family almost two weeks ago.

The prince said the decision was "not one taken lightly" and that it was the result of "many months of talks after so many years of challenges".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step down as senior royals has sent shock waves through the royal family

"I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option," he continued.

"What I want to make clear is we’re 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, but without public funding.

Prince Harry thanked the public for their support after he married Meghan Markle in 2018

"Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible."

Speaking about what was planned after he married Meghan almost two years ago, he said: "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.

"For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."

Prince Harry and Prince William have apparently made up following an alleged falling out last year

"Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding.

"Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible."

Speaking about what was planned after he married Meghan in May 2018, he said: "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.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to split their time between North America and Britain

Read More

Meghan and Harry 'step back' from royal life

"For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."

"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."

Following the Sussexes' decision to quite was made public, royal author Penny Junor compared the move to that of Princess Diana after her split from Prince Charles.

However, he comparison was far from favourable, suggesting it was "impetuous" and "bizarre" and that the taxpayers were "not going to be happy".