Prince Harry’s relationship with older brother Prince William has been thrust back into the spotlight.
The royal brothers once had an extremely close-knit bond and nobody can forget the images of them united in grief walking behind their late mother Princess Diana’s coffin almost 25 years ago.
However, now a growing rift has opened up between the pair, with it reportedly sparked by William’s concerns about Harry’s fast-developing relationship with Meghan Markle.
The tense row quickly boiled over – with Harry claiming his brother was “trapped” within the royal system during a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey after quitting as a senior royal.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Since leaving the UK in early 2020, Harry has only seen his brother twice – at the funeral of Prince Philip and at an unveiling of a statue of Diana – and just this week dodged a question about whether he missed his brother.
So how did they reach this point and what’s their relationship like now? Here we take a look…
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The first signs something was not quite right between the brothers came shortly after Harry started dating Meghan, according to the book Finding Freedom.
“Don’t feel you need to rush this,” the older brother reportedly told the younger, adding: “Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl.”
The book’s authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that the phrase “this girl” immediately bothered Harry.
They said: “Harry was p***ed off… that his brother would ask such a thing.”
Speaking on the Channel 5 documentary Kate v Meghan: Princesses at War?, royal author Katie Nicholl said: “I think what was meant as well intended brotherly advice just riled Harry.
“Harry is hugely protective of Meghan. He saw that as criticism. He interpreted that as his brother not really being behind this marriage, this union, and I don’t think things have been quite right ever since.”
The first signs of a public rift between the brothers came when the Sussexes announced they were moving out of Kensington Palace, the royal residence they shared with the Cambridges, in November 2018.
Meghan and Harry said they would be leaving their central London home and relocating to Frogmore House on the grounds of Windsor Castle – ahead of the birth of their son Archie.
Over the coming months, Harry was said to have felt aggrieved that his brother wasn’t “rolling out the red carpet” for Meghan.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, a source said: “Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so.
“They had a bit of a fall-out which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort. That’s when the Cambridges invited the Sussexes to spend Christmas with them.”
In 2019, Harry confirmed the long-suspected rift on the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
“Part of this role and part of this job, and this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably, you know, stuff happens,” he said.
“But look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. And we’re certainly on different paths at the moment, but I’ll always be there for him, as I know he’ll always be there for me.”
He added: “We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy, but you know, I love him dearly.
“The majority of this stuff (in the press) is created out of nothing, but you know, as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.”
Just months after this interview, Harry and Meghan made the bombshell statement that they were quitting as senior royals and leaving the UK to carve out a new life in America.
The next main flashpoint in the brother’s relationship came during Harry and Meghan’s bombshell TV interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Harry told Oprah that he and William are on “different paths” and there is “space” between them, while Meghan claimed an unnamed royal made a racist comment about Archie and the institution didn’t help her through her mental health struggles.
Speaking about his father and brother’s future roles as kings, the prince said: “I am part of the system with them, I always have been, but I guess—and I’m very aware of this—my brother can’t leave that system, but I have. My father and my brother are trapped.”
According to friends, William was “very upset” and “reeling” over the claims, with his head “all over the place.”
A former palace aid told the Sunday Times: “Once he got over the anger of how things happened, he was left with the absence of his brother.
“They shared everything about their lives, an office, a foundation, meetings together most days and there was a lot of fun along the way. He’ll miss it forever.”
Weeks later they were reunited at the funeral of Prince Philip, which Harry returned to the UK for – but they weren’t able to reconcile properly.
Reunited to celebrate mum – but no other reunion
However, just months later, William and Harry were brought together again.
This time it was to unveil a statue of their late mother Princess Diana at her former home of Kensington Palace.
After the ceremony ended, champagne was reportedly laid on for guests on the terrace of Kensington Palace Pavilion.
Harry stayed for a drink but was seen been driven through the palace gates around just 20 minutes later.
This is the last time they are thought to have seen each other as Harry and Meghan’s recent trip to the UK to see the Queen did not involve a meeting with William or wife Kate.
William was believed to be on a skiing holiday in the French Alps with this family – although he was aware of Harry and Meghan’s visit.
According to royal expert Robert Jobson, it was “significant” Harry’s brother and sister-in-law were not involved in the meeting.
He told the Mirror: “Significantly, Prince William and Catherine were not involved in these ‘clear the air’ chats.
“Hopefully, in time the royal brothers too can break bread and end this new war of the Wales’s, which is in danger of turning into one of the fictional soap style dramas Meghan used to star in.
“For William to do that, however, Harry will have to show that he (and his team of PR image gurus and advisers) can keep their counsel at this early and delicate stage.
“If not, this promising development would all have been for nothing.”
Another bombshell interview
However, Oprah wasn’t the end of Harry’s tell-all interviews – this week he sat down for another chat with NBC’s Today show host Hoda Kotb.
In the interview, filmed during the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, Harry talked about the competition as well as about his secret meeting with his grandmother the Queen and life with Meghan and their children in California.
During the chat, Hoda asked Harry if he misses his family, who are all in the UK.
He told her: “Yes I think especially over the last two years, everyone has missed their family and that ability to get home and see them, of course..”
However, when she followed up by asking if he specifically missed his brother Prince William and dad Prince Charles, he quickly changed the subject, before talking about missing his children Archie and Lilibet back home in California.
He responded by saying: “Look I mean for me, at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys and these families and giving everything and giving 120 per cent to them.
“Giving them an event of a lifetime is my focus here and when I leave here, when I go back, my focus is my family, who I miss massively, they are two little people.”
Also in the interview, he controversially claimed he is making sure the Queen is “protected” and “has the right people around her”.
The comment sparked outrage in some and William himself was asked about it during an engagement the day after the interview.
However, both he and Kate ignored the question, got into their car and drove off.