Kate Middleton and William respond to Prince Harry ‘snub’
William and Harry were once incredibly close, having grown up together in exceptional circumstances. However, over the last year, reports have claimed that their relationship began breaking down shortly after Harry started dating his now wife, Meghan. The pro-Sussex Finding Freedom biography claimed the Duke of Cambridge urged his younger brother to take it slow and to get to know “this girl” — only for Harry to be enraged by William’s “snobbish” advice.
Then when his relationship with the US actress hit the press in October 2016, Meghan was struck by the overwhelming international attention as she was pushed into the spotlight.
She found the scrutiny around her family, profession and ethnicity incredibly difficult, leading Harry to release an unexpectedly personal statement a month later.
It read: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.
“It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”
It added that their relationship was “not a game” but “her life and his”.
Prince William and Meghan Markle
William, Harry and Meghan arriving at the celebration for the RAF in 2018
This veered away from royal protocol and the monarchy’s mantra of ‘never explain, never complain’.
Royal commentator Russell Myers suggested that it caused outrage behind Palace walls as Harry had only given the Royal Family 20 minutes’ notice before releasing the statement.
This was seen as an “absolutely catastrophic” move.
Most of the royals stayed tight-lipped about the unprecedented statement.
William hesitated and only released a supporting statement three weeks later.
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William and Harry with their mother Diana who died in 1997
His spokesman said: “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him.”
However, as biographer Sean Smith noted in his book ‘Meghan Misunderstood’, “it was the very opposite of a powerful endorsement”.
He continued: “The sentence was such a pompous tongue twister that it tied itself up in knots to ensure that it didn’t mention Meghan by name or her ongoing ordeal.
“Its effect was to ensure that nobody got the message.
“All he had to say was, ‘Come on guys, leave them alone’.
“Instead, it was the first indication that all was not rosy behind closed doors.”
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Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in 2017
Some royal insiders were reportedly frustrated at Harry’s statement because it was seen to be “torpedoing” Charles’ week-long tour of the Middle East which was taking place at the same time.
William’s reticent statement could have therefore been a reflection of that outrage from behind Palace walls.
He may have also been waiting for the news from Charles and Camilla’s tour to have settled — but even then, his one-sentence statement was nowhere near as passionate as Harry’s page-long rebuttal to the press.
Royal diaries are carefully coordinated so that each senior member of the Firm can have their time in the spotlight to get the oxygen of publicity for their passion projects.
However, Harry and Meghan struggled to work with the Palace machine throughout their time on the royal frontline, starting with that first public statement which confirmed their relationship back in November 2016.
William greeting Meghan with Harry in 2018, shortly before the couple married
Prince William jokes about being Prince Harry’s best man in 2018
As Finding Freedom claimed: “Increasingly Harry had grown frustrated that he and Meghan often took a back seat to other family members.
“When they wanted to focus on a project, they were told that a more senior ranking family member, be it Prince William or Prince Charles, had an initiative or tour being announced at the same time — so they would just have to wait.”
The row between the brothers only seemed to escalate after that public statement.
By the time Harry carried out his final royal engagement in March, at the Commonwealth Day service, the two barely looked at each other.
Another commentator, Howard Hodgson, told Express.co.uk that William has adopted the same unfeeling approach as the Queen towards royal duties.
William and Kate were criticised for being frosty towards Harry and Meghan back in March
Harry and Meghan have now settled into their new life in California
Therefore, it’s likely that he was further infuriated with Harry’s decision to abandon his royal obligations and flee across the Atlantic to start a new “normal” life.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have now settled into life outside of the Royal Family in their new lavish mansion in California.
They are expected to launch their charitable vehicle Archewell at some point next year, have signed a production deal with Netflix and have a contract with the same high-profile public speaking agency as the Obamas.
It is not clear whether Harry and William have managed to put their feud to bed amid the coronavirus pandemic and Meghan’s devastating miscarriage in July.
‘Meghan Misunderstood’ by Sean Smith was published by HarperCollins in 2020 and is available here.