Princess Diana: Biographer on Harry and William’s ‘rift’
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William and Harry’s relationship is under the spotlight again after the Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey there is “space” between them at the moment. He also expressed hope that “time heals all things” — but still aimed some punches at his brother by alleging William is “trapped” in the monarchy. Although Harry did not explain the exact origin of their rift, it’s thought to date back to comments William made about his younger sibling’s budding relationship with Meghan.
The feud then deepened as the Sussexes fought back against Palace life before casting it aside altogether and moving to the US last year.
Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of the pro-Sussex biography Finding Freedom, claimed in their book last August that William had advised his brother to take it slowly with Meghan.
The Duke of Cambridge reportedly said: “Don’t feel you need to rush this.
“Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.”
The authors claimed Harry heard a “tone of snobbishness” that was “anathema to his approach to the world” in William’s decision to describe his girlfriend as “this girl”.
They added: “Harry was p*****d off… that his brother would ask such a thing.”
Finding Freedom then noted that William “just wanted to make sure that Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust” in his haste to tie the knot.
The Sussexes pressed ahead with their whirlwind romance anyway, announcing their engagement approximately 15 months after they first started dating.
For comparison, William met his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in 2001, but they did not become engaged until 2010, reportedly so his girlfriend could become accustomed to what royal life was really like — and what she would be giving up.
Discussing their feud, royal commentator Katie Nicholl claimed: “As for William, he is said to regret that early conversation with Harry about Meghan, because it led to the rift that continues to this day.”
Ms Nicholl also suggested that there may now be a “sad irony” to William’s initial warning.
She continued: “What he reportedly said was condescending and understandably rankled a brother who was already falling in love, but it’s also hard not to imagine how things might have turned out better if everyone had taken just a little more time.”
Writing in Vanity Fair, she noted: “Perhaps hindsight will one day allow them all to acknowledge that William’s words, poorly chosen as they were, predicted the trouble that lay ahead.”
Meghan did admit in her interview with Oprah that she went into life as a royal “very naively”, having chosen not to Google her future husband or his world-famous family.
She told the US talk show host: “I didn’t fully understand what the job was. There was no way to understand what the day to day was going to be like.”
She also alleged that she had a lack of support from within the institution, and pointedly said “there was no guidance” on how to act like a royal, only “certain things you couldn’t do”.
The Duchess of Sussex added: “There’s none of that training. That might exist for other members of the family. That was not something that was offered to me.”
Meghan, born and raised in the US, said not one person within the Palace recognised that she might not know key elements of British life, such as the words to the National Anthem.
She explained how she had not been aware that she would have to curtsey to the Queen even in private, and that she would lose her “voice” to follow the Palace’s policy of complete neutrality.
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However, aides who support Kate and William claim they went above and beyond to assist Meghan with her transition into royal life.
Writing in Harper’s Bazaar, Mr Scobie said he had pressed Palace staff for details about how they assisted the newcomer.
An aide reportedly told him: “This is nonsense… we did absolutely everything [for Meghan].
“Everybody welcomed her and she was given all the support she needed.
“They forget how accommodating we were when it came to navigating the Duchess through her first steps.”
But, Meghan maintained that she felt “trapped” within the monarchy, a sentiment Harry said he also shared.
The royal brothers have not met face-to-face since March last year, when the Sussexes carried out their final royal engagement — and the tensions with the rest of the family were palpable.
Many speculate that the Oprah Winfrey interview — which aired in the UK on ITV earlier this month — may only have deepened the rift between the brothers.
William is known to be a stickler for the unofficial royal rule of “never complain, never explain”, while the Sussexes’ tell-all interview has revealed the couple were determined to tell their “truth” regardless of the royal reaction.
Harry is expected to return to the UK this summer, if travel restrictions are lifted, for the unveiling of the Princess Diana memorial statue on what would have been her 60th birthday.
If he does make it across the pond, royal watchers are hoping the emotional event helps the brothers make up.
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