"That's the number one rule is to be a father and to be a husband," JJ Chalmers said of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision

By Robyn Merrett
January 10, 2020 07:09 PM
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Prince Harry‘s close friend JJ Chalmers says the Duke of Sussex made the bombshell decision to step back as a senior member of the royal family in order to “protect his family.”

Chalmers, who met Harry, 35, while they were both serving in the military, defended Harry and his wife Meghan Markle‘s royal exit during an appearance on the UK show The One Show on Friday.

“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, 33, 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,” Chalmers said.

Chalmers went on to explain that he believes this is the reason behind the bombshell decision.

“I would say so, any husband wants to protect their wife and any father wants to protect their children,” Chalmers aid.

Chalmers also shared that Harry wants to set a good example for his and Meghan’s son 8-month-old Archie.

“He is a very principled individual and so when he looks as how the media reacts and 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,'” Chalmers said on The One Show.

“And ultimately he grew up in the limelight and knows how it will end if this isn’t handled correctly,” Chalmers added, in reference to Harry’s mother Princess Diana‘s 1997 death. Diana was killed in a car crash while trying to escape the paparazzi.

Prince Harry, JJ Chalmers
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty

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Chalmers isn’t the only one of Meghan and Harry’s friends to speak out about their decision.

Earlier this week, journalist and author Tom Bradby, who is friends with the couple said the royal exit has created “a new war of the Windsors.”

Speaking on his ITV News program in the immediate aftermath of the couple’s stunning announcement on Wednesday, Bradby — who toured southern Africa with the royal couple for the emotional ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey — added, “It was, in effect, a declaration of independence.”

Bradby — who also interviewed the couple after their November 2017 engagement at Kensington Palace — hinted that the couple may have made their decision long before they toured South Africa, Angola, Malawi, and Botswana in the fall of 2019.

Prince Harry, JJ Chalmers

“The documentary I made with Harry and Meghan in Africa last year was inevitably only half of the story,” Bradby added on the ITV 10 O’Clock news. “I sensed at the time that what I was witnessing on that trip was possibly a long, sad farewell to this royal life; in part, to us?”

“Many people will ask why of course,” he continued. “So much privilege, so much power, so much good being done. Why leave it all behind?”

Bradby himself provided part of the answer: During An African Journey the Duke and Duchess of Sussex both opened up about their treatment by the British tabloid press, with Prince Harry emotionally revealing that he thinks about the fate of his mother, Princess Diana, “Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash.”

When Bradby asked Meghan “how she’d found the last year,” she emotionally answered: “It is a very real thing to be going through,” adding poignantly, “Thank you for asking — because not many have.”

“A lot of old friends of the couple took that primarily to be aimed at the royal family, not the media,” Bradby said on Wednesday, before revealing that a subtle change of Buckingham Palace staff may be the real cause of the decision.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty

Bradby confirmed that Harry and Meghan intend to continue with their charity commitments and their work for the Queen — particularly within the Commonwealth. This, however, will only be resolved after “intense negotiations within the royal family.”

“Some argue Harry and Meghan were too independent, too difficult, but their friends feel they have been driven out,” Bradby said. “Those close to the couple say that if the royal family is to be slimmed down, this is the right, indeed only, step. But complicated it will be. This is a new war of the Windsors. It’s not over yet.”

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Stepping Back From Royal Duties

Meghan and Harry detailed their current financial situation in a Q&A on their Sussex Royal website, explaining that they will “no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant,” though, there are still many questions surrounding how the couple plans to make a living and how they will finance it.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Trish Regan, host of Trish Regan Primetime on Fox Business, elaborated on Meghan and Harry’s individual net worths and how the pair will most likely earn their own income to become “financially independent” in their new life.

“The possibilities right now are endless for them. They need to think about what it is that they like, what they identify with and whether there’s a market for that,” Regan, 47, told PEOPLE. “Obvious things might include a book deal if they can really provide insight into what life is like as a royal. I think there’s a lot of Americans and people throughout the world that would be very interested in that, so that would be a value. Another obvious thing might be something like a talk show.”