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William and Kate host glittering Buckingham Palace reception for African leaders in wake of Sussex fallout

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have hosted a glittering Buckingham Palace reception for world leaders from Africa.

William and Kate were joined by other royals at the event, following a difficult few weeks for the monarchy in the wake of the Sussexes' decision to take a "step back" from duties.

Harry is reported to be on his way back to Canada to be reunited with his wife and baby son.

At the UK-Africa Investment Summit on Monday evening, the Duke of Cambridge said he was "delighted to be welcoming" prime ministers and presidents on behalf of the Queen.

William movingly described how Africa holds "a very special place" in his heart and was the place he visited after the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and where he proposed to his wife.

It was the first time the Duke and Duchess had hosted a reception for world leaders on behalf of the Queen, and was another milestone in their journey to one day becoming king and queen.

Prince William's speech to world leaders comes in contrast to that of his brother, Prince Harry, who on Sunday night said he was "taking a leap of faith" in stepping back from his life as a member of the royal family as there was "really no other option".

Earlier on Monday, Prince Harry carried out what is likely to be one of his few remaining official engagements when he met some of the leaders attending the summit for one-to-one meetings.

He met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Saadeddine Othmani, Prime Minister of Morocco, among others.

He attended the summit at the request of the UK government.

Speaking on Sunday night to supporters of the charity Sentebale – his Africa-based charity supporting youngsters with HIV – the Duke gave an emotional speech, saying he had "no other option" but to give up his official royal duties and forge a new life in Canada, where wife Meghan and son Archie are setting up home.

It comes a day after royal family talks concluded and the Sussexes announced they will stop carrying out royal duties from the spring, no longer use the title HRH and will repay the taxpayers’ millions spent on their Berkshire home.

In his speech, Prince Harry said: "I must say I can only imagine what you may have heard and perhaps read over the past few weeks.

"So I want you to hear the truth from me as much as I can share, not as a prince or a duke but as Harry, the same person who many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years but now with a clearer perspective.

"The UK is my home and a place that I love, that will never change.

"I have grown up feeling supported by 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.

Harry, Meghan and Archie are expected to spend the majority of their time in North America. Credit: PA

"I also know you’ve come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do.

"And she does, and she’s the same woman I fell in love with.

"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.

"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly.

"It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.

"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.

"Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.

"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 to 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."

Sentebale chairman Johnny Hornby said everyone in the room was "moved" by Harry's "genuine" and "heartfelt" speech.

"I wasn't surprised that he was going to be open and heartfelt, but I certainly wasn't aware of the content of his speech before," Mr Hornby told ITV News.

In reaction to Harry's mention of Meghan and the love he feels for her, Mr Hornby said: "To anybody who spends any time with them, you can feel that sense of adoration between the two of them.

"That's as strong today, as it ever was, and he probably didn't need to say it, as everybody can see it, but I think the fact he did say it meant a lot to the people in the room and I'm sure it meant something to her too."

Prince Harry struck an exasperated tone in his speech to supporters of the charity Sentebale. Credit: PA

The reception hosted by the Cambridge's at Buckingham Palace follows a day of meetings for the heads of state attending the UK-Africa Investment Summit staged in London.

Also at the event were the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal, who mingled with leaders, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK and African business figures.

The summit aims to demonstrate the strength of the relationship between the UK and Africa. Credit: PA

The summit aims to demonstrate the strength of the relationship between the UK and Africa.

It's also hoped the event will help showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa, and highlight the UK’s commitment to supporting economic development on the continent.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with the IMF Director, African Department, Abebe Aemro Selassie. Credit: PA