Prince William’s relationship with his younger brother, Prince Harry, has been strained since the Duke of Sussex’s shock exit from the Royal Family two years ago. The princes have not seen each other since July last year, when they unveiled a statue in tribute to their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Their relationship was pulled back into focus following Harry’s brief visit to the UK last month.
Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, secretly stopped off in Windsor while on route to the Invictus Games. While they were reunited with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and later the Queen, they did not manage to meet with William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as they were on a family ski trip in France at the time.
During his time at the Games, Harry sat down for an interview with NBC’s Hoda Kotb; the prince spoke fondly of his time with the Queen, but did not mention his meeting with his father. He also dodged a question regarding whether he missed William and Charles, further exacerbating reports of tension between the princes, particularly within the brothers’ relationship.
William and Harry once shared a close brotherly bond, and one royal expert has recently recounted a story which proved the loving relationship they used to have. Tina Brown, author of the new, best-selling book ‘The Palace Papers’, told this week’s episode of Royally Obsessed about Harry’s return to England following his deployment in Afghanistan in 2008. She said: “There is no doubt that these two brothers were really, really close.
“One of the scenes that I love in the book is when Harry had to be yanked out of Afghanistan because the press broke the news that he was there, and once that news broke he was too much of a danger to his men to stay. “And it was a crushing moment for Harry to find that he couldn’t do what he most wanted to do in the world, which was to serve in Afghanistan with his fellow officers. “So he was yanked back, he was very, very unhappy.”
Ms Brown said William noticed that his younger brother was in “real distress” and took on the role of protector. She explained: “There was a news conference as he landed with members of the media who had been promised an interview as soon as he got back, and William could sense from the back of the room — because William was there with his father — that Harry was in real distress.
“He was fragile. He was trying to be a good soldier by talking to the media, but it was clearly agony for him. “And even though there had been a promise that he would talk to the media, William just suddenly got off and made a kind of gesture — pulling a knife across the throat — as if to say: ‘Cut, cut, cut, we have to cut’. “And he embraced Harry and they went off together and they got into the waiting car.
“That was about a brother really feeling for his sibling and feeling sad, worried and anxious for him. He wanted to make sure that he was alright as a human being as opposed to simply a symbol of the monarchy.” Ms Brown went on to say that because of their previously close bond, it is “particularly sad” that the current rift between the brothers remains. She said: “It is particularly sad when you consider that that kind of relationship is now sundered by what happened subsequently.
“I am told that there is very little relationship between them at all right now, the rift has not been mended.” The brothers are expected to reunite next month when Harry and his family visit the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s attendance was confirmed this week.
A spokesperson for the couple said: “Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are excited and honoured to attend The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children.” It will be the first time Harry and Meghan have brought their two children — three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet — to the UK since leaving for the US in 2020.
While the Sussexes will not be on the Buckingham Palace balcony during Trooping the Colour, they have been invited to other Jubilee events including the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral. It will be the first time that the so-called “Fab Four” — William, Kate, Harry and Meghan — have come together since the Sussexes’ exit.