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Friday 24 January 2020

Princes hit out at 'offensive' claim William had 'bullied' his brother

Brothers’ rift: Princes William and Harry pictured in London in 2018. Photo: TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images
Brothers’ rift: Princes William and Harry pictured in London in 2018. Photo: TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images

Victoria Ward

Princes William and Harry joined forces yesterday to issue a rare denial of a report that William had "bullied" his younger brother.

Buckingham Palace strongly denied a newspaper claim that Harry felt "pushed away by what he saw as a bullying attitude from the Duke of Cambridge" and "constantly being told their place".

A statement issued on behalf of both brothers hours before the family summit at Sandringham, complained about the report's language, citing their many campaigns on mental health.

"Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge," it said.

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"For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

The princes have both prioritised campaigns about mental health in recent years.

In 2017, they launched the hugely successful Heads Together mental health campaign, masterminded by the Duchess of Cambridge.

More recently, Prince Harry worked with Oprah Winfrey on a forthcoming Apple TV+ documentary series about mental health while the Cambridges' Royal Foundation has commissioned a task force on cyber bullying.

As Harry and Meghan's future hung in the balance yesterday, sources suggested it was Meghan who wanted out, leaving her husband forced to choose whether to prioritise his wife or the royal institution into which he was born.

He was said to be "heartbroken" at the thought of having to sever links to his family.

The source said of Meghan: "She wants to leave. She thinks, 'It's not working for me'. "He is under intense pressure to choose. It is sad. He loves the queen. He loves this country. He loves all his military stuff. I think it will genuinely break his heart to leave. I don't think that's what he really wants. I think they want some halfway house."

The Sandringham crisis summit was believed to have been the first time that William and Harry had seen each other since Remembrance Day events last November, shortly before Harry and Meghan travelled to Canada for their extended break.

Tom Bradby, the ITV journalist and a friend of both princes, made clear that relations became toxic a long time ago.

"Harry and Meghan find some other members of the family (with the exception of the queen and Prince Philip) jealous and, at times, unfriendly. "The fallout began at the time of the wedding in 2018. Really damaging things were said and done."

Irish Independent

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