Saturday 25 May 2019

Inside the royal rift - what's really going on with William and Harry?

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2018 in London, England
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2018 in London, England
Harry (left) and William (right) kept their distance at the Easter service. Photo: Reuters
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex promote their Heads Together campaign (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: (L-R) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge greet Queen Elizabeth II as she arrives for the Easter Sunday service at St George's Chapel on April 21, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Camilla Tominey

When they were boys, Prince William and Prince Harry were travelling to Highgrove with their mother when they began bickering in the back of the car. An increasingly irritated Diana, Princess of Wales, finally snapped and told the squabbling pair they would return to Kensington Palace if they did not stop misbehaving.

It was Harry who piped up first. "I don't care what you do," he retorted in front of nanny Olga Powell and Ken Wharfe, the princess's bodyguard. "I'm not going to be king, so I will be able to do whatever I like!" exclaimed the mischievous youngster.

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"All the adults in the car looked at each other and thought, where the hell did that come from?" Wharfe has recalled. "There was a sense that from a very young age, Harry thought he could do whatever he wanted, while his brother had to shoulder all the responsibility."

Fast forward 30 years and the once inseparable royal brothers are forging separate paths. William (36) is preparing to realise his fate as the next Prince of Wales and future king, while a newly married Harry (34) is carving out the latest phase in his role as the 'spare'.

Much has been written about a supposed rivalry between the siblings, as they set out on the next chapter in their royal lives. Indeed, to onlookers, their appearance alongside the Queen at an Easter service at St George's Chapel Windsor on Sunday - also the occasion of the monarch's 93rd birthday - appeared somewhat strained.

It coincided with reports that Harry and Meghan (37) plan to live abroad, possibly in Africa, following the birth of their first child - due any day now. In what should be a momentous week for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the headlines are once again rife with reports of rifts and tensions at the heart of the House of Windsor.

Harry (left) and William (right) kept their distance at the Easter service. Photo: Reuters
Harry (left) and William (right) kept their distance at the Easter service. Photo: Reuters

Eyebrows were raised when the @RoyalSussex Instagram feed released seven previously unseen wildlife photographs, taken by Harry, just hours before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge published new images - taken by Kate - to mark Prince Louis' first birthday on Tuesday.

Just a happy coincidence? Or an ominous sign of the kind of one-upmanship Diana was determined to avoid when she insisted on bringing up her two sons as equals?

The late princess made no secret of the fact that she lavished attention on Harry to make sure he didn't feel overshadowed by William.

"I have to," she once told a friend. "Charles and I worked so hard to ensure both boys receive equal amounts of our time and love; others in the family seem to concentrate on William."

As a child, Harry reportedly complained to his mother "it's not fair" that William was "made a fuss over" when visiting their great-grandmother - so much so, that Diana was forced to confront the Queen Mother over her alleged favouritism.

No wonder then that a source close to both Princes recently revealed: "Harry has always complained about being sidelined by William, but now I think they see this split as an opportunity to really spread their wings."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex promote their Heads Together campaign (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex promote their Heads Together campaign (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

As president and vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, Meghan and Harry are determined to make a positive impact on the world in a bid to harness their star power.

Another source was keen to scotch rumours of a serious fallout between the siblings, pointing out that they were both "laughing and joking" outside the church on Easter Sunday and revealing that they sat next to each other in the pews. "It was the Queen's birthday," added the insider. "Everyone was in good spirits".

News of Harry and Meghan's planned secondment undoubtedly piles more pressure on the Cambridges to 'step up' at a time when they are desperately trying to get the balance right between their private lives and public duty.

That delicate balancing act was in evidence on Tuesday, when William spent the morning having a family birthday breakfast with little Louis before flying out to New Zealand in the afternoon to represent the Queen at meetings with those affected by last month's Christchurch mosque shooting.

As William increasingly finds himself standing in for his grandmother, will Harry - once his brother in arms - still be around to fill the void?

© The Telegraph

Telegraph.co.uk

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