Scotland

Prince Harry's friend backs his decision to step back from Royal duties

Prince Harry and JJ Chalmers
Image caption They served together in Afghanistan and have both since become fathers

One of Prince Harry's friends has spoken out in support of his and Meghan Markle's decision to step back from royal duties.

JJ Chalmers, a Scottish veteran and Invictus Games medallist, served with Prince Harry in Afghanistan.

Both in their early 30s, Mr Chalmers defended his friend of five years and said the decision was not a surprise.

A father himself, he said Prince Harry's decision was down to his priorities shifting to protect his son.

Speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, he said that Prince Harry was "a father first and foremost, and a husband beside that".

Image caption The Invictus Games medallist said he had Prince Harry to thank for the life-changing experience

Mr Chalmers said: "When you have a child you realise that your life is not yours anymore.

"Your life is the responsibility of raising that right individual and raising them with the right principles and morals.

"When you consider what he and Meghan face from the media and social media, they're definitely taking it upon themselves to protect him".

He also argued that family dynamics and support networks naturally shift as people reach their 30s and become more dependent on their spouses.

Mr Chalmers said that he had seen a tremendous amount of change in his friend since they first met during their time serving together in the military.

Mr Chalmers' military career ended because he was wounded but he said for Prince Harry it was because of media intrusion that put his and other people's lives in danger.

"We both got married, we both had kids.

"Regardless of the incredible experiences we've had in life, nothing changes you like having kids, let's be honest.

"And I think we see that now when he looks to change his priorities in life," he explained.

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Media captionBBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond breaks down the Queen's statement

Mr Chalmers said that Prince Harry's childhood experiences and the fact his military career did not end on his own terms were key points that have shaped him as a person as well as his attitudes to media attention.

He also said that despite Prince Harry often using the media to champion the causes he believes in, he ultimately wants to shield his wife and son from it as much as possible.

Mr Chalmers admitted, however, that it would be very difficult to do so regardless of whether or not the couple have official titles.

The Queen agreed on Tuesday to a "period of transition" in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will spend time in Canada and the UK.

She said she was "entirely supportive" of their desire for a new role but "would have preferred" them to remain full-time working royals.