Prince Harry and Prince William are unlikely to repair their now damaged relationship because members of the royal family “specialize in very, very long feuds,” according to a new episode of Newsweek‘s The Royal Report podcast.
Harry and William’s strained relationship has been well documented in recent years, with Harry making a number of allegations against his brother in his recently released media projects, including his Netflix docuseries and blockbuster memoir.
On Wednesday, reports that after the publication of Harry’s memoir he and Meghan had been evicted from their Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor Castle estate, important to the couple for security reasons when visiting the U.K., were confirmed by the couple, who issued a statement via a spokesperson announcing: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage.”
Prince Harry and Prince William photographed at Buckingham Palace, July 10, 2018. The princes’ strained relationship has been well documented in recent years. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
This latest blow, which is expected to have been authorized by King Charles, could signal an end to Harry and Meghan’s presence in Britain.
“Let’s say Harry and Meghan do all but cut off visits to Britain, do you think we’ll then see Charles and William go out to see Harry in America or is this basically full estrangement?” chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, asked Tom Quinn, author of the new royal book Gilded Youth, on The Royal Report.
“The royal family specialize in very very long feuds,” he responded. “If you think that Queen Victoria never forgave her son, later Edward VII, over a period of about 40 years she never forgave him for causing, as she saw it very unfairly, the death of Albert. She never ever forgave him for that. And in the same way I think this will happen now with Harry.”
“The fallout between William and Harry, I think it will be very difficult,” he continued. “It will be an inter-generational feud. I think it’s very unlikely that they’ll be comfortable with each other. It will be like the Queen Mother—she finally met Mrs. Simpson [the Duchess of Windsor] about 50 years after she first met her and that was only when Edward VIII died. So, I can see this going on for a long time.”
The Queen Mother (known as Queen Elizabeth during her husband George VI’s reign) was embroiled in a widely reported feud with the Duchess of Windsor. When Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry the then-Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, it caused his younger brother (and his wife Elizabeth) to take on the burden of being monarch, something which Elizabeth was said to have never forgiven the couple for.
William has not commented officially on the claims and allegations made against him by Harry in the Netflix show, in his memoir Spare, or the interviews promoting it, despite, alongside Queen Camilla, coming under the most criticism.
Among the personal observations made by Harry in his memoir, he commented on William’s “alarming” baldness, the fact that he was losing his physical resemblance to Princess Diana, his envy over his younger brother’s beard and unspoken rivalry.
The more serious allegations included an account of a physical attack that William allegedly launched at Harry in a 2019 altercation at Kensington Palace.
Reportedly angered by Meghan Markle‘s treatment of palace staff and Harry’s unwillingness to address the issue, Harry wrote that: “He [William] set down the water, called me another name, then came at me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dogs’ bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.
“‘Come on, hit me! You’ll feel better if you hit me! Do what? Come on, we always used to fight. You’ll feel better if you hit me.’
“‘No, only you’ll feel better if I hit you. Please…just leave.'”
L to R: Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed at Windsor Castle, September 10, 2022. It was confirmed this week that Harry and Meghan ave been asked to vacate their Frogmore Cottage home in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Chris Jackson/Getty Images
On the future of the brothers’ relationship, Quinn suggests that they may, at some point, wish to meet again in person.
“I think they might try and have a private meeting because I think William and Harry were close,” he told Royston.
“They were close because of all the terrible things happening around them when they were younger but unfortunately that glue disappeared later on. So, I think they might try and meet privately at some point but how can you do that? […] it would be very difficult. They won’t want the press to immediately jump on this, so I think you’ve got that barrier and you’ve got the kind of natural inclination of the royal family to be quite unforgiving.”
In summary, the author offered: “These feuds can last forever, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens with William and Harry.”
“Gilded Youth: An Intimate History of Growing Up in the Royal Family” by Tom Quinn is published in Britain by Biteback Publishing and is available now.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.
Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email [email protected] We’d love to hear from you.