Princess Diana's friend speaks out after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle step back

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are starting a new life away from royal duties

Princess Diana's close friend, Rosa Monckton, has described Prince Harry's decision to step back as a member of the royal family as a "loss to the royal family and the nation". Following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's shock announcement over the weekend, Rosa took to her Twitter page to share a throwback snap of her daughter Domenica posing with her doll alongside Harry. "Domenica and Harry. Farewell Prince Harry. Such a loss to the royal family and the nation," she tweeted.

Prince Harry and Meghan at Canada House before announcing their decision

Rosa and Diana met through mutual friends and shared an extremely close bond. Their friendship extended to their families, with Princes William and Harry's mother acting as godmother to Rosa's daughter Domenica, who was born with Down syndrome. Meanwhile, during a speech at a private dinner for his charity Sentebale on Sunday evening, Prince Harry said he was "taking a leap of faith" with his decision but added "there really was no other option".

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Prince Harry and Meghan - along with their son Archie - will now split their time between the UK and North America as they begin to transition into their new independent life. Despite the imminent move, Harry continued by saying that the UK will always be his home and that he and Meghan had hoped to serve the Queen and country: "The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I have grown up feeling support from so many of you, and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms as you saw me find the love and happiness that I had hoped for all my life."

WATCH: Harry's speech in full

"It has also been a privilege to meet so many of you, and to feel your excitement for our son Archie, who saw snow for the first time the other day and thought it was bloody brilliant," he added. "I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months.

READ: Prince Harry made the cutest reference to son Archie in heartfelt speech

"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."

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