Harry says William ‘suggested Brexit was bullsh*t’

Mark Dolan discusses Prince Harry wanting an apology

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In his memoir, Prince Harry recalled a time at which his older brother Prince William had been dubbed “work-shy Wills”, a nickname derived from his apparent step back from royal engagements. Writing in Spare, the Duke of Sussex said the papers were “awash with stories about Willy being lazy,” something he described as “obscene” and “grossly unfair” as the elder Prince was busy “having children and raising a family”. But the Duke pointed out another potential reason for the press’s maltreatment — William’s “temerity” to deliver a “vaguely anti-Brexit speech”.

During a visit to the Foreign Office in February 2016, William gave a speech to British diplomats, saying the nation’s ability to work with others was the “bedrock of our security and prosperity”.

The Prince of Wales described Britain as an “outward-looking” nation with “a long and proud tradition of seeking out allies and partners”.

He did not mention Europe or the European Union but did reference the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Middle East.

He said: “In an increasingly turbulent world, our ability to unite in common action with other nations is essential. It is the bedrock of our security and prosperity and is central to your work.

“Right now, the big questions with which you wrestle — in the UN, Nato, the Middle East, and elsewhere — are predicated on your commitment to working in partnership with others.”

At the time, there was contention over whether the speech did in fact endorse Britain’s membership of the EU; for instance, the Financial Times discussed the supposed controversy on its front page.

In Spare, Harry claimed the speech was part of the reason “the press was gunning” for his brother.

He wrote: “First, he’d got them all worked up by ceasing to play their game, denying them unfettered access to his family. He’d refused several times to trot Kate out like a prized racehorse, and that was considered a bridge too far. Then he’d had the temerity to go out and give a vaguely anti-Brexit speech, which really galled them. Brexit was their bread and butter. How dare he suggest it was bullsh*t.”

The Royal Family are expected to remain politically neutral and refrain from giving their opinions on particular matters.

For the most part, Queen Elizabeth II managed to stay above the political fray, maintaining impartiality throughout her 70-year reign.

However, there was the odd occasion when the late monarch appeared to let her view be known. Ahead of the Scottish independence vote in 2014, Her Majesty told well-wishers outside Crathie Kirk that she hoped the Scottish people would “think very carefully about the future”.

As a consequence of her steadfast code of silence, even the hint of a publicly expressed opinion had the potential to cause a huge commotion.

Following the Her Majesty’s death, concerns surrounding the royals’ political involvement intensified as her eldest son King Charles III ascended the throne.

As a Prince, Charles was known to be outspoken and had a tendency to voice his opinion, publicly and in private correspondence, on matters of policy.

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In his first address as monarch, Charles acknowledged he would have to give up some of the things that gave him the most satisfaction as heir.

He said: “My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply.”

The speech was written to reassure the nation that their longest-serving monarch’s successor would not depart from her style of stoic and steady leadership.

Dissimilar to the late Queen, whose opinions remained largely unknown, Charles has long immersed himself in — sometimes controversial — political or social issues.

He has supported of fox hunting and opposed “ugly” modern architecture, but he has also championed organic farming and been a longtime advocate for action on climate change.

In a more recent controversy, Charles was reported in June to have privately described former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as “appalling”.

However, Charles has made it clear he is aware of how his public activism can not continue in his new role as head of state.

In a BBC documentary marking his 70th birthday, he said: “The idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense.”

Now, though, Charles is at the centre of another political row — arguably unwittingly.

On Monday, it was confirmed that the monarch will have an audience with Ursula von der Leyen in Windsor.

The European Commission President’s meeting with the King — which comes as Rishi Sunak has struck a post-Brexit deal with Ms Von de Leyen to resolve the ongoing row over the Northern Ireland Protocol — has sparked a major row with the DUP and Tory hardliners.

Mr Sunak is expected to hold a press conference with the EU chief later on Monday afternoon before heading to the Commons to deliver a statement.

Ms Von de Leyen was originally set to meet the King on Saturday, before it was cancelled for operational reasons.

Unionists in the DUP and hardline Tory Eurosceptics shared their anger over the move, with the DUP and former Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg saying it risked dragging the monarchy into a political announcement.

Meanwhile, former DUP leader Arlene Foster said the timing of the audience between the King and EU Commission President was “crass” and would “go down very badly” in Northern Ireland.

A Palace spokesperson said: “The King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain and it is the Government’s advice that he should do so.”

The PM’s official spokesperson insisted: “Fundamentally it is a decision for the palace,” before pointing out that Charles had met with other world leaders during their recent visits to the UK, including Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He added: “His view is that it is a matter for the palace to decide and ultimately for the kind to decide if he wants to meet individuals.”

Nonetheless, Ms Foster argued it was “tone deaf” for the government to advise the King to meet Ms Von der Leyen at such a politically sensitive moment, taking to Twitter to say: “I cannot quite believe that No10 would ask HM the King to become involved in the finalising of a deal as controversial as this one. It’s crass and will go down very badly in NI. We must remember this is not the King’s decision but the government who it appears are tone deaf.”

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