Over the weekend, Queen Elizabeth revealed her decision regarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s future in the royal family. The monarch confirmed the couple would be stepping down as senior royals and would no longer use their not use their HRH titles.

Although Queen Elizabeth’s announcement suggested the decision was amicable, Prince Harry delivered an emotional speech during a charity event on Sunday that contradicted his grandmother’s statement.

In his speech, the 35-year-old appeared heartbroken the rift in his family and took responsibility for the split. However, royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight that the move was the Duke of Sussex’s attempt to shield Meghan from public backlash.

“He said it was his decision to walk away and that really he had no choice. This was a joint decision, and I think Prince Harry’s been very magnanimous by taking it all on himself. I think he’s simply doing that to protect Meghan,” she said.

“Over here, all of the headlines are dominated by one word: Megxit. The insinuation being that she is responsible for this move [and] pulling Prince Harry over to North America. It’s really not the case,” the royal biographer explained.

Despite what others may think, Nicholl insisted that both Prince Harry and Meghan agreed to the split from the royal family. However, a friend told the royal commentator that Harry was hurt following Queen Elizabeth’s announcement.

“He’s very sad about leaving the United Kingdom. We pretty much saw Harry say that himself in that speech for the charity Sentebale,” Nicholl noted.

“He’s always been very honest about his emotions, and I think you could see that heartache quite clearly written all over his face.”

Nicholl believes that Prince Harry has been wanting to leave the royal family and believed his new family gave him the perfect excuse to cut ties. “I think Harry has been looking for a way out -- a way for a new life -- and Meghan has simply been the catalyst,” she shared.

“But make no mistake -- this was a joint decision. Harry didn’t make it on his own, and Meghan didn’t force him into it.”

Meghan and Prince Harry are expected to officially step back from their senior royal duties in spring 2020.

Prince Harry is patron of the Rugby Football League
Prince Harry is patron of the Rugby Football League POOL / Steve Parsons