22:59 GMT +317 January 2020
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    With the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are stepping back as "senior" members of the royal family and will be splitting their time between North America and the UK, Harry’s close friend, JJ Chalmers reveals the reason for such an unprecedented decision.

    Chalmers, who served in the military with the Duke of Sussex, said during the BBC’s The One Show that becoming a father and a husband has changed Harry, and it is the wish to protect his family that was behind the announcement.

    "He's less the captain in the army I knew, and he’s more a father that’s the first thing I ask him about,” Chalmers said. "And I think the decision that he has made, at the forefront of that is to protect his family because that’s the number one rule is to be a father and to be a husband."

    When asked by the host if the family's protection was what truly drove Harry and Meghan's royal exit, Chalmers said he believes that to be the case as “any husband wants to protect their wife and any father wants to protect their children.”

    "Particularly, he's a very principled individual so when he looks at the way that the media, for example, reacts or how social media talks about someone, he has to answer to his son one day when he begins to understand this and be able to look him in the face and say 'I made the right decision and I did right by you.' Ultimately, he grew up in the limelight and he knows how this can end if it's not handled correctly," he added.

    The couple dropped a bombshell announcement this week, revealing that they are stepping back as “senior” royals and plan to work to become financially independent, triggering distress within British monarchy. According to sources close to the royal family, the Queen was very unhappy with the couple's decision, while Harry's brother Prince William and their father Charles were "enraged".

    British tabloids, as well as social media, have been speculating that Prince Harry and his wife were sidelined by the rest of the royals and that led to their decision to leave the royal family, though they said they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America, while continuing to support the Queen.

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    #Megxit: Netizens Clash Swords Over Prince Harry’s and Meghan's Decision to Step Back as Royals
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