After last Saturday’s deeply personal funeral for the Prince Philip, attended by only 30 family members and closest friends, Prince William and Prince Harry were seen talking as they walked back to Windsor Castle from St. George’s Chapel. Duchess Kate had been walking with her husband when Harry caught up with them and she stepped back, giving the estranged brothers time to talk privately, which made international news. But according to those close to the situation, the brothers still have a long way to go. “That is all well and good,” a royal insider told Best Life of the post-funeral walk-and-talk. “But a few words after a funeral do not indicate one way or the other that any real progress has been made in healing the hurt and mistrust that exists between Harry and William.”
That lack of trust is why William is hesitant to move forward in resolving his rift with Harry. “[William] is really struggling with it,” a source said. “There has been a complete breakdown of trust since that interview with Oprah Winfrey. The prince has been both angered and shocked by the things his brother chose to discuss on American television.”
The source continued, “William and [Prince] Charles were very hurt by Harry’s claims that they were both ‘trapped’ inside the institution. Harry’s become a loose cannon who, along with [Duchess] Meghan, has the potential to do irreparable damage to the monarchy. [The royals] don’t know what they might say next. Nothing has changed since Harry came back to the U.K. to reunite with the Royal Family.”
Read on to find out how the brothers’ broken bond has grown more fragile and why it will be a long time—if ever—before it will be repaired. And for more on who’s giving Harry the cold shoulder, find out why These 3 Royals Aren’t Willing to Forgive Prince Harry, Says Source.
Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was just the beginning.
In March, the Royal Family was thrown into chaos after the Winfrey interview in which Harry and Meghan alleged they had been subjected to institutional racism and that an unnamed family member had a conversation about the color of yet-to-be-born Baby Sussex’s skin. The Duke of Sussex later told Winfrey off-camera that neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip had made the racist statements. Winfrey shared that information (with Harry’s approval) the day after the broadcast during an interview with her close friend Gayle King on CBS This Morning.
A few days after the interview, while on a visit to a London school, William was asked by a Sky News reporter if he had been in touch with his brother after the broadcast. “No, I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I will do,” he responded.
Soon thereafter, King revealed how that conversation went, announcing on CBS This Morning one week later that she’d called the Sussexes to see how they were holding up. The news anchor said she had spoken to Harry, who told her his conversations with his brother and father were “not productive.” King went on to say Meghan was “upset” that no one from the Royal Family had reached out to her after the interview.
“William felt utterly betrayed by that,” said a royal source. “Everything went from bad to worse.” And for more on how Philip’s death has changed the situation, check out The One Thing Harry & Meghan Must Do Now That Philip Has Died, Sources Say.
Gayle King sharing details of private family conversations was the “final straw” for William.
“William was infuriated after learning Harry had made Gayle King an unofficial mouthpiece for him and for Meghan,” said a royal source. “It wasn’t enough to make these very serious claims against the family themselves, now it seemed Harry was going to allow someone with a large media platform to share private conversations between him and his father and brother. How could William ever trust Harry with anything that was said from that moment on?”
The continued coverage of the interview also led to further tensions between the Sussexes and the royals. An insider told Vanity Fair: “Harry was out in the cold after Oprah and then when details of private family conversations were leaked to Gayle King, it was the final straw.”
Now, insiders say, William wants some ground rules in place to ensure there will be no more leaks of private conversations between the brothers or with Prince Charles about the future of the monarchy. And for more on that, check out The One Thing William Must Do to Save the Monarchy, Say Insiders.
William and Charles’ talk with Harry after the funeral did little to ease tensions.
There was no wake for Prince Philip, but after the funeral, there was a face-to-face meeting on the grounds of Windsor Castle between William, Harry, and Charles. Royals reporter Dan Wootton revealed in the Daily Mail that the Duke of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales took an unprecedented step that indicated just how deep their mistrust of the Duke of Sussex is at the moment. Charles and William made it clear they would only meet with Harry together so as to prevent any words from being misconstrued should they be leaked to the media. Kate, who had played peacemaker earlier in the day, also sat in for some of the talks, but no staffers were included.
“William needs to know he can trust Harry and that private conversations will stay private,” an insider told the Vanity Fair. “Things need to be talked through, but this was not the occasion and everyone respected that. It’s going to take more than speaking after a funeral to sort things out, but this is hopefully a start.”
A source told Best Life that Harry and William’s “issues run very deep and are going to take time—and a lot of it—to rebuild the close relationship they once had.” And for more royals news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The Queen is reportedly aligned with Charles and William.
Despite his two-hour meeting with his father and brother, a source told Best Life, “Harry still harbors a great deal of resentments towards the Royal Family, and many members of the family are clearly not comfortable around him.” Another source told The Mirror: “Harry didn’t expect everything to be completely back to normal, but his feeling after seeing his family was there is a lot of ground to make up.”
The Duke of Sussex returned from the U.K. to his home in California on Wednesday to reunite with his son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, and wife, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child and did not travel to the funeral on the advice of her doctors. The prince left one day before the Queen’s 95th birthday, the first she will spend without her husband of 73 years, but is reported to have spoken with Her Majesty privately during his visit.
Russell Myers, royals editor of The Mirror, said on the popular ITV talk show Lorraine that Charles wanted to see his son again before he left, but was told Harry was on a “tight schedule” and had get back home to be with Meghan, who’s likely now in her third trimester. Myers also said William and Charles are “still very hurt.”
The Express has reported that while Her Majesty still has great affection for her grandson and his family, she is very much on the side of William and Charles. MailOnline columnist Wootton reported a source told him: “The Queen has made it clear to senior advisers that she is united with Charles and William, and was disappointed with aspects of Harry and Meghan’s interview.” And for more on how Her Majesty is making moves since Philip’s death, read up on The One “Drastic Change” the Queen Is About to Make Now, Insiders Say.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.