DELIBERATELY separated, the sight of Harry and William speaking to each other as they walked up the hill after the service has sparked speculation of a reconciliation.
Clearly nervous as he walked out of St George’s Chapel, flapping the order of service on his leg, Harry’s darting eyes suggested uncertainty.
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To his good fortune, William and Kate did not isolate him despite the trashing he meted out on his family on US TV just six weeks ago.
Only the coming days will reveal whether Harry is prepared to show honest remorse.
Undoubtedly, the sight of the Queen’s suffering during an emotional service for their beloved grandfather will have drawn the brothers and Kate together in the minutes after a draining spectacle.
It was in the same chapel where Harry got married in 2018. Knowing they were being filmed, William and Kate rightly avoided appearing churlish towards Harry.
Cynics may call it stage management. The evidence suggests that after a year’s separation, Harry’s anger towards his family has not evaporated.
The funeral is unlikely to have cured his antagonism.
Inevitably, during the service the TV cameras were directed to ration the shots of the two brothers.
Viewers were denied the chance to judge whether the splendour of British tradition had aroused any emotional conflicts within Harry.
Realists will judge that his refusal so far to utter any public apology cannot be disguised by a short walk up the hill.
Like all fallouts, the origins of Harry’s anger with William are richly disputed.
Disappointed royalists are puzzled why the brothers’ close embrace in the wake of their mother Princess Diana’s death has been wrecked.
LOVE TURNED INTO POISON
Why has their mutual love turned into poison?
Inevitably, many heap the blame on to Meghan.
But in truth, there were fractures between Harry and William that started more than 20 years ago.
Although united by the torture of the exposure of their parents’ serial adultery, their volatile childhood was complicated by their different destinies.
Identified as the future monarch, William was sometimes invited alone for Sunday lunch with the Queen in Windsor.
Walking across the Thames from Eton, the schoolboy was introduced by his grandmother to the secrets and magic of the world’s most enduring monarchy.
To his growing dismay Harry was denied that privilege.
Although Diana had spoken of Harry’s luck to be relieved of that burden, he grieved over being sidelined.
The resentment festered as Harry struggled to pass his school exams and was tarred as a reckless teenager while William, equally wild and ill-tempered, escaped public criticism.
As William assumed the sober dignity of a future king, Harry was caricatured as a hell-raising nightclubber who had recklessly worn a Nazi uniform.
Any bitterness Harry felt diminished after 2005 when he became an Army officer. It gave him the stability he craved.
But it was a difficult road ahead for the younger prince.
He faced several rocky relationships and he realised his position as the “spare” heir became irrelevant once William married in 2011 and his son George was born two years later.
That anchor in life disappeared.
Harry won widespread sympathy after confessing to mental anguish since his mother’s death.
But his stability was dashed again after he was compelled to leave the Army in 2015. His salvation was meeting Meghan.
Only a few cynics were unenthusiastic after her arrival in Kensington Palace in 2017 — and the fabulous Windsor wedding in May 2018.
Waiting for the beautiful bride at the altar in St George’s chapel, Harry and William epitomised Britain’s successful creation of a peaceful multi-racial society.
Unlike America, race was only divisive in Britain when weaponised by the extreme left and right.
To ecstatic applause, the Palace’s eager unveiling of the “Fab Four” was hailed as the beginning of a new, modernised monarchy.
Harry’s stardom was universally applauded. The unseen hiccup was William’s cautionary warning to him a year earlier: “Are you sure?”
Could Meghan, William asked, cope with the unnegotiable demands of royalty?
Could Harry really be certain that the woke actress, who blessed the sun-kissed Pacific beaches, would happily enjoy rainy London?
Would the outspoken “progressive” American campaigner understand that after the marriage she was duty-bound to become neutral and serve the Queen?
Harry resented William’s doubts. Just weeks after the wedding, his undiluted grudge against his brother was reignited by Meghan’s anger with William and Kate.
By November 2018, only six months after their wedding, Harry and Meghan resented being seen as minor royals while William and Kate were glorified.
Many sympathised with Harry’s anger. The telltale signs were William and Kate not visiting Frogmore to see Archie until eight days after his birth.
After that the relations went downhill.
Simultaneously, the UK public’s love for the couple began to fray.
As a protective husband, Harry was outraged as stories emerged of Meghan making Kate cry, about the American’s staff resigning because of her alleged bullying.
There were also stories of how the climate change campaigner jetted in private planes to parties across the world.
Harry and Meghan believed William and Kate shared the public criticism.
Like the media, William was puzzled by Harry and Meghan’s demand for privacy and then participating in publicised self-promoting features in glossy magazines.
There was also engagement in a bitter battle with her US family.
Provocatively, Meghan and Harry accused their critics of being racist.
If the criticism did not stop, predicted ITV journalist Tom Bradby in 2019, the couple’s fast-developing relationship with Oprah Winfrey would lead to an explosive interview on the US CBS network.
The curtain-raiser was Harry’s stunning revelation in a TV interview with Bradby in October 2019.
“We are certainly on different paths,” he said about William.
That lit the fuse to their exit to California. Angry by then with both William and Prince Charles, they plotted their TV interview with Oprah.
Effortlessly trashing the Royal Family, Meghan’s list of complaints has been by now widely ridiculed.
Her claims about the date of their marriage and Archie being denied appointment as a prince at birth have been exposed as fabrications.
Her accusation that the royals are racist and that Kate made her cry have proved deeply wounding.
Yet at the same time they were as heartfelt as Harry’s denunciation of Charles and his description of William being “trapped”.
Reconciliation is only possible if the Sussexes apologise.
Despite yesterday’s deeply moving funeral was the chat on the walk up the hill the first step towards a ceasefire or has Harry dug in his heels?
He did not seem to eagerly reunite with his family in Windsor.
The unanswered question is on what conditions will he return in July to stand with William to unveil Diana’s memorial in Kensington Palace.
Will he seek reconciliation with his family or will the ceremony prove that he has permanently burnt his bridges?
- Tom Bower is the author of Rebel Prince, a biography of Prince Charles
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