Prince William and Prince Harry used to have a close bond. However, the Duke of Sussex said in late 2019 he and his brother were on “different paths”, and their rift is believed to have worsened following the Sussexes’ decision to step down as working members of the Firm.
Prince William “can’t completely forgive Harry” for his decision to step down as a full-time working member of the Firm, a royal author has claimed. This has to do with the fact the Prince of Wales and his family have been hugely impacted by Megxit, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to leave their senior posts within the Royal Family was dubbed in 2020, author and journalist Katie Nicholl said. The author of the newly-released book The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown told Us Weekly: “[When Harry stepped back from his royal duties], it was very difficult for William, and I think that’s partly why this rift hasn’t been resolved, because, you know, William can’t completely forgive Harry for what he’s done.
“It had a huge impact on him, on Catherine, on their young family. It put them in that prime sort of centre. It moved them centre stage far sooner than they would otherwise have been.” After the accession to the throne of King Charles III on September 8, Prince William became the heir to the throne and his nine-year-old son, Prince George, the second-in-line. Prince Harry’s position on the line of succession also changed, as he became fifth-in-line – but the fact he is no longer a working member of the Firm means he can’t undertake any official duty nor support the Crown through his work.
Ms Nicholl added she believes the heir to the throne “had always expected” he would have Prince Harry’s support the closer he got to the throne. William’s grievance against his younger brother would not just be on the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have left the Firm, but also on the way they chose to stand down. Ms Nicholl said: “I think a lot of it was how he chose to do that and what William saw as great disrespect to the institution and to his, to his family, to his grandmother.”
Prince Harry and Prince William last came face to face in September, following the death of their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. Two days after their passing, the brothers and their wives put on a united show as they stepped out together in Windsor to meet mourners and view tributes left for the late sovereign. William and Harry appeared together again at other events linked to the Queen’s funeral, including the procession which led the late monarch’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall and the grandchildren’s vigil held on September 17.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior royals was shared with the world on January 8 2020, but the Duke of Sussex had already started discussing with the Queen and King Charles his intention to change his status within the Royal Family. The Sussexes officially stepped down as full-time working members of the Firm at the end of March two years ago. They have since relocated to California and launched their organisation Archewell, which includes a non-profit Foundation and two production powerhouses.
As with Megxit they gained financial independence, the Sussexes also struck multi-year deals with streaming platforms Spotify and Netflix to produce audio and video content that uplifts, informs and entertains. Both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also signed deals to author a book – but while Meghan penned a children’s story called The Bench inspired by her son Archie’s relationship with Harry, her husband is expected to release within months an “intimate” memoir. While this autobiography could contain claims or revelations regarding the Firm, Harry and Meghan already opened up about their struggles during the time they were working members of the Royal Family and launched damaging allegations of racism against the institution. After the interview was aired, the Prince of Wales took the rare decision to respond to a question asked by a reporter during an engagement, saying: “We are very much not a racist family.”