Prince William and Prince Harry Had A Major Rift Way Before Meghan, A New Book Revealed

Prince William and Prince Harry's "rift" is unprecedented in British history. No other royal brothers, who grew up an heir and a spare, had ever tense relationship like them, not even Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) and his younger brother and successor, George VI, or King Edward VII and his younger brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (sons of Queen Victoria).

The young William and Harry at Highgrove during happier days

So what had caused the deteriorating relationship of once close and inseparable brothers? A number of incidents that occurred before and after Harry's wedding were cited as reasons.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their young sons, Harry and William

Their supposed "feud" began in 2017 when Harry asked his family's approval to marry Meghan Markle. Reports had it that Prince William asked his younger brother to slow down a bit because he just met Meghan in over a year. And the decision to rush into marriage might "bring him elsewhere". 

Prince William sounded like a visionary with his warning, given the fact of what happened less than three years later.

From then on, things became difficult between them, with Prince Harry viewing Prince William's opposition to his marriage plans as a lack of support. 

In 2018, their respective wives, Kate and Meghan, were dragged into a tense situation when reports surfaced that Meghan reduced Kate into tears during Princess Charlotte's fitting of a bride's maid's dress. 

Who made one another cry?

This allegation was debunked by Meghan during their Oprah interview, telling otherwise that it was Kate who reduced her to tears. 

It worsened when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from senior royal roles in 2020 and moved to America. The explosive Oprah interview in February 2021, where Harry claimed his father and brother were trapped in their royal roles, only escalated the tension, which many believed, had thoroughly eroded their brotherly relationship.

During the Thanksgiving Service, they were not seen acknowledging each other

However, a new book dropped bombshells about royal scandals and why the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry eroded over the years. 

The new book, "The Palace Papers: Inside The House of Windsor - The Truth and the Turmoil", written by a bestselling royal author, Tina Brown, claimed that Prince Harry's animosity towards Prince William, in fact already existed way back a whole decade. 

The Prince of Wales and his sons, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge

Prince Harry was said to have been obsessed with, and regularly made rants about his older brother in the past. And if he was not mad at Prince William, he was moaning about his father, the Prince of Wales.

According to the book, the brothers' friction already existed before Prince Harry met Meghan Markle in 2016. At that time, Harry was dating Cressida Bonas, a granddaughter of the 6th Earl of Howe.

Brown claimed Harry grew "angry" when he felt his brother was "hogging the best briefs" - which means that Prince Harry detested the fact that his brother, the future British king, always got the "juiciest patronages". 

Prince Harry stood as best man to Prince William's wedding in April 2011

It reached a fever pitch after Prince William became the patron of the Tusk Trust in 2015, which Harry also had wanted. 

Tusk Trust is a foundation that supports conservation efforts of wildlife - particularly rhinoceros and elephants - in South Africa, an advocacy closest to Prince Harry's heart.

Prince William stood as his brother's best man in May 2018

But Prince William would be king someday, thus, most of the biggest patronages that have global coverage always go to him. And it annoyed Prince Harry.

A friend of the brothers also claimed, they had "Olympic rows" and that Harry was a "very angry man". 

Brown further claimed in her book that Prince Harry regularly shared his "anger" about Prince William and Prince Charles, with his then-girlfriend, Cressi Bonas, who he dated for two years (2012-2014) before he met Meghan in 2016.

Bonas, a daughter of Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, apparently persuaded Prince Harry to seek professional help to address his uncontrollable anger because she found his complaints to be "tiresome".

Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas

Cressi Bonas began to worry about Harry's mental health so she advised him to seek professional help. "It was she who first persuaded Harry to see a therapist", Brown claimed.

It was also the time when Cressida began assessing her decision whether to remain in the relationship or not because she find the "royal life" and being in the public eye "unbearable" and "scary". Prince Harry by then was hinting he wanted to marry her.

Cressida's realization that she could not cope with the demand of being royal came when she saw the coverage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Australian and New Zealand tour, where they brought their son, Prince George. 

Cressi realized she does not want that kind of life. She and Harry split in 2014, and though he attempted to win her back in 2015 (he privately spent his 31st birthday with Cressida), nothing came to fruition and they decided to just remain friends. 

Cressida Bonas and Prince Harry

After their breakup, Prince Harry was said to have written Cressida a letter, thanking her for helping him, "address my demons and seek help".

Prince Harry's short-lived romances became a great concern to Prince William as his younger brother could not stick to one particular girlfriend. 

Two of Harry's serious girlfriends, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas, got out of the relationship due to the pressure of being royal girlfriends. Kate Middleton also experienced the same feeling during her relationship with Prince William, but she was determined to hold on.

Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas 

Brown wrote that shortly after Prince Harry met Meghan Markle, the Duke of Cambridge was skeptical. "Every time his brother fell in love, it was an eruption of Vesuvius" Tina wrote

"You do realize this is the fourth girl you've taken to Botswana", Prince William was heard telling his brother after Harry shared the account of his trip with Meghan. The Duke of Cambridge was reportedly nervous at the rapid pace of Harry and Meghan's relationship.

Within months of Prince Harry's involvement with the Suit actress, Prince William reportedly told their father, Prince Charles, that Harry's obsession with Meghan was "something I have never seen".

Commonwealth Day service, March 2020

The Queen, nonetheless, gave her permission for the marriage. The Sovereign's approval is required under the Royal Marriages Act. In the repealed Act, only the first six persons in the line of succession are required to seek the Sovereign's permission when marrying. 

In "The Palace Papers: Inside The House of Windsor - The Truth and the Turmoil", Tina Brown wrote about why Meghan's entrance into royal life went so wrong, so quickly.


Tina Brown is the author of the 2007 New York Times bestseller book, The Diana Chronicles. She was a former editor-in-chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. And was awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to journalism.

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