The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have caused a world of upset over their decision to cut back on their royal duties and make their own way in the world. And the person who has undoubtedly taken the heaviest emotional sucker punch is Harry’s own brother, the Duke of Cambridge.
Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, gained a rare insight into the brothers’ lives during his time as a royal editor and says he’s never known their relationship to be quite so strained.
“The rift between them has never been this big. Clearly the boys’ relationship at the moment is in a very bad place,” he exclusively tells OK!
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“William will not be happy at all with Harry. He won’t wish him ill-will, but he’s now been burdened with a lot of responsibility and I’d be astonished if he didn’t feel Harry is being selfish.”
Meghan and Harry returned to work on January 8 feeling “invigorated and excited”. Hours later, they announced on Instagram their plan to “step back” as senior royals and “become financially independent” while continuing to “fully support” the Queen.
Her Majesty is now on a mission to ensure a swift split to safeguard the future of the monarchy and has been holding crisis talks involving Harry and William along with their father Prince Charles.
Duncan suggests there may have been raised voices at the palace as the drama unfolded. “The royals are delightful people until they don’t get their way. They can’t cope with that. We don’t know if Harry and William had cross words, but you could hardly think of an example where they’d be more divided. I still think the princes have a very special relationship – nothing can change that – but they’re further apart than ever.”
In Harry and Meghan’s bombshell statement last week, they revealed their intention to “carve out a progressive new role” for themselves – the implication being that the House of Windsor needs modernising and that they are the couple to see that through.
Duncan says their choice of words would have been deliberate. “It appears to be another swipe at William,” he explains. “After Harry made that comment last year about only wanting to have two children because it’s better for the environment, it’s very difficult to dismiss this as a clumsy statement.”
It’s not just William who’s reeling from Harry and Meghan’s decision. His wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, who along with the rest of the world heard the news on the eve of her birthday last week, has always shared a special bond with her brother-in-law.
“Harry is hot-headed, he’s stubborn and he wears his heart on his sleeve,” says Duncan, explaining the duke’s impulsive behaviour. “William, the Queen and Prince Charles will have bent over backwards to talk the pair out of doing this, but the Queen won’t punish Harry for it. She just wants Harry and Meghan to be happy.”
Duncan also notes that the couple’s timing is catastrophic. “They’re walking away from the royal family at a time when the Windsors desperately need a young rock star royal with a successful glam wife to keep the monarchy relevant. Without Prince Harry, there’s a major crisis for the royal family on the horizon because after the Queen, he’s the royal everyone wanted to meet.”
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