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"He's being a father... a guy who is trying to protect his cub," Nacho Figueras said of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit

By Robyn Merrett
January 31, 2020 01:05 AM
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Prince Harry‘s close friend Nacho Figueras says the royal longs to live “a normal life.”

During a new ABC special Royal Divide: Harry, Meghan, and the Crown, Figueras, 42, opened up about the pain he’s watched Harry, 35, experience leading up to his and Meghan Markle‘s bombshell decision to step back from royal duties.

“I spoke to Harry a few days ago,” Figueras, a professional polo player, shared on the special, which premiered on Wednesday. “He has suffered a lot from all of things that have happened to him. He suffers a lot from people judging him.”

Figueras explained he stands by Harry’s decision saying, “He’s being a father… a guy who is trying to protect his cub and his lioness from whatever it takes.”

“He has become an incredible man, a man that his mother would be proud of,” Figueras said of the late Princess Diana.

In addition to doing what’s best for his family, Figueras said that Harry simply “wants to live a normal life.”

“As normal as his life is going to be, right? Because when you have 1,000 paparazzi outside your house in Canada waiting to get one picture of your son, that’s not very, very normal,” Figueras continued.

Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras
Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Meghan, 38, and Harry shared their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family and split their time between the U.K. and North America on Jan. 8, soon after which Meghan flew back to Canada — where they had spent the holidays — to reunite with Archie. Harry, meanwhile, remained in England to continue the discussion about the big changes ahead with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Prince Harry joined his family in Canada after carrying out a number of public engagements in the U.K. The trio has remained in the Vancouver area since.

Queen Elizabeth, 93, spoke out about the couple’s intentions to spend time in Canada during the “period of transition” to their new roles, which will take effect this spring.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the monarch said in a statement. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.

Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras
Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras
| Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday of this week, the couple dedicated their Instagram story to Bell Let’s Talk, a mental health initiative in Canada. For every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, the company donates 5 cents towards mental well-being. Bell has donated over $100 million since launching the initiative in September 2010, according to their website.

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“We are so happy to be supporting Bell’s mental health campaign,” Meghan and Harry wrote following a collage of photos featuring people encouraging kindness. “Each time you watch bell_letstalk official video on Instagram, Bell will donate 5 cents towards Canadian mental health initiatives. So please share, please talk and be part of the solution.” They completed the note with a Canadian flag.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie
| Credit: Toby Melville/WireImage

Now that they are stepping down as senior working members of the royal family in the U.K., their sign of support for the Canadian initiative is the latest sign that they are putting down roots in the North American country. Meghan has made a few philanthropic appearances since the move, including a visit to the Vancouver headquarters of Justice for Girls— a charity that promotes women’s rights and helps provide young girls with access to advocacy and education — earlier this month. That same day, Meghan also made an appearance at Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, where she discussed “issues affecting women in the community.”

Mental health is a cause Prince Harry and Meghan have focused on in their royal work, along with Prince William and Kate Middleton. Their Heads Together initiative has helped mainstream mental health discussions, and the foursome has lent their support to Shout, an affiliate of Crisis Text Line in the U.K. that offers free, confidential mental health support via text.