In case you hadn’t noticed, Prince William and Prince Harry are in a 🗣️ ROYAL FEUD. Or as some are calling it, a 🗣️ ROYAL RIFT. This drama has been going on forever, and chances are, you’re vaguely confused. We all are! Because truly, what are they even fighting about and why can’t everyone just get along? Things are still not the best because of Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah…and Meghan’s even more recent interview with The Cut. But in the interest of
living for trying to understand the drama, we’ve put together a timeline of this brotherly spat. So let’s go back, back to the beginning—aka winter 2018.
At this point, likely fictitious rumors of drama between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton had already been floating around the internet for a bit. But then veteran royal reporter Katie Nicholl dropped the bombshell that it was actually Harry and William who hadn’t been getting along. According to Katie’s sources, the brothers had a falling-out around Christmas 2018, when Harry told Will he wasn’t doing enough to include Meghan in the royal family.
Per Nicholl’s source, “Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so. They had a bit of a fallout, 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.”
You’d think that’d be the end of things, but HA HA HA, please. We’ve only just begun.
The Sussexes and Cambridges spent Christmas together in Sandringham with the Queen, but unfortunately, royal watchers discovered a video of William seemingly ignoring Meghan during the family’s walk. Basically, she tried to talk to him and he spent a ton of time adjusting his scarf instead of responding.
Truly a woof month for the royal fam. Mostly because TLC started promoting its not-at-all-dramatic documentary, Kate v. Meghan: Princesses at War? I’ll give you a moment to side-eye the universe. During the doc, Katie Nicholl explained, “William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly. And being close to Harry, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, This seems to be moving quickly, are you sure?’”
She continued, “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.”
But wait, it gets more dramatic; The doc also featured a quote from The Sun’s royal correspondent Emily Andrews, who claimed that Harry “went ballistic and said, ‘You’re trying to wreck this relationship before it’s even started.’” This was probably the point at which the “royal feud” became the ROYAL FEUD.
In March, royal filmmaker Nick Bullen confirmed to Fox News that Meghan and Kate were never at odds….it was always Prince William and Prince Harry. “It’s actually that William and Harry have had a rift,” he said. “All brothers fall out. All families fall out. Their fallout at the moment is becoming public.”
In an effort to find out what the literal hell was going on, Cosmopolitan spoke to Nicholl, who told us, “I don’t know that things will ever be the way they were between William and Harry.”
Womp. On top of that, the brothers attend an Easter service together and legit didn’t speak. As People noted, “Harry was seen talking to [his cousin] Zara and exchanging pleasantries with Kate but did not say anything to his elder brother.” Yup, there’s a video:
A post shared by Meghan (fan page) (@_duchess_of_sussex)
Things kinda seemed to be improving in May. By which I mean The Mirror dropped news that Kate and William visited Meghan and Harry’s new house, Frogmore Cottage. Apparently, their hang sesh was an “olive branch” between the brothers, and Kate urged Harry to extend the invitation because she was “acutely aware of the importance of William and Harry getting along, not just because of perception but their collective responsibility to the monarchy as a whole.”
Plus, we got a video of Kate being super stoked about Meghan and Harry’s baby:
A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)
So, this is when Meghan and Harry officially split from the joint charity they shared with Kate and William. It was honestly just a logistical decision and had nothing to do with drama, but that didn’t stop everyone from reading into it.
A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)
Awkwardly, June also happened to be the month we found out that William and Harry fully weren’t speaking before Archie’s birth thanks to Nicholl telling ET, “I was told by a very senior royal source that actually they weren’t talking to each other at one point. I certainly think now that Archie is here, it has probably really helped to improve the relationship. William is over the moon that his brother is a dad.”
Positive update! William and Kate joined Meghan and Harry for Archie’s christening and they took a group photo. Negative update! William made a weird face and everyone thought he was unhappy to be there:
Oh man, the look on Prince William’s face…. #BabyArchie pic.twitter.com/X1CtDu4bfn
Oh, and an Us Weekly source revealed that William and Kate “weren’t happy about” Meghan and Harry’s decision to keep the christening private and “William thinks his brother is going overboard keeping Archie out of the spotlight” and “blames Meghan.”
Sources claimed that William and Harry planned to put their differences aside to remember their mother Princess Diana on August 31, the anniversary of her death. “They talk about the little things about Diana that made them laugh: the ski trips and outings to Thorpe Park [a British amusement park]; the effort she went to on their birthdays…all of it,” a source told Us Weekly, adding that Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle planned to “join them later.”
Good ol’ October. Otherwise known as the month Prince Harry broke the internet and admitted there was, in fact, a royal rift. “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 when asked about the rumored feud during ITV’s documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. “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 continued, “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.”
‘As brothers you have good days, you have bad days’
Prince Harry says the ‘majority of stuff’ written about his relationship with his brother William is ‘created out of nothing’ and adds: ‘I love him dearly’ #HarryAndMeghan https://t.co/GWs5KfuovM pic.twitter.com/bW7GVALZR6
At this point, a source told Us Weekly that Kate hated seeing Meghan and Harry “so miserable” and hoped “William and Harry will eventually heal the rift and let bygones be bygones. The way she sees it, life’s too short to make enemies—especially with loved ones. She’s very levelheaded like that. Kate’s a family girl.”
The month kicked off with a source telling Us Weekly that things are still “not great” for Harry and William and that “they both need to put in the effort to rebuild their relationship.”
Awkward, since the palace revealed that Meghan and Harry would be spending Christmas with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, instead of at Sandringham with the royal fam. They tried to downplay the drama, saying, “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family and has the support of Her Majesty the Queen,” but sources said there’s more to the story.
“The rift between William and Harry is one of the main reasons behind their decision. As it’s Archie’s first Christmas, they want it to be super special. It’ll be just Doria and the three of them,” a source told Us Weekly following Buckingham Palace’s formal mid-month announcement. “The drama surrounding the couple has caused a huge amount of stress. They’re making their family their number one priority right now.”
Meghan and Harry announced they’d be stepping back from their senior royal duties, adding even more fuel to the feud fire. A source told Us Weekly that “William was blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision and statement” and “there’s still a rift between the two brothers. It’s sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this.”
But the brothers tried to keep things calm, issuing this joint statement (which alluded to reports of William “bullying” Harry out of the fam):
A joint statement from the spokespeople of Prince William and Prince Harry: pic.twitter.com/H8hqYCHirK
Tension was on full display during Meghan and Harry’s final appearance with William and Kate at the Commonwealth Day Service. Body-language expert Blanca Cobb analyzed their collective interactions and thought they were “lackluster among the four of them, particularly Kate’s lack of acknowledgment.”
NEW: Prince Harry and Meghan joined the royal family at a Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Day service, the first time they’ve been seen publicly with Prince William and Kate in months and their final engagement as working members of the royal family. https://t.co/SSum5cv2qn pic.twitter.com/amQEn5PqKd
But toward the end of the month, Harry and William’s relationship seemingly began to improve as the Sussexes prepared to officially step back from the royal family. According to a report from The Daily Mail, the brothers were on speaking terms again and both agreed to do their part with helping out their homeland in the pandemic.
Just when we thought things were starting to turn around, Us dropped another report—this time claiming that William was still annoyed with Harry’s decision to up and leave England (here we go again).
“William is so tired and done with the drama of it all,” the source said. “Seeing Harry cut ties with virtually every aspect of his English life and identity is so hard to fathom.”
Finding Freedom—a biography about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carol Durand—drops and gives more insight into the royal feud. Apparently, William told Harry that he needed to “take as much time as you need to get to know this girl” when it came to Meghan, which Harry didn’t take very kindly to.
William and Harry kicked off the month on speaking terms, but royal author Phil Dampier told New Idea (via the Daily Mail) that conversations were “stilted and difficult.”
After a relatively quiet month of no big royal family events, huge news dropped: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix. The news probably wouldn’t ruffle feathers, except for the fact that Netflix is responsible for The Crown, which the royal fam has very…mixed feelings about.
According to The Sun, Prince William was especially unhappy with Harry over it. “William and other senior royals are incredibly uncomfortable about this drama and livid Harry is now in partnership with the company that’s airing it.”
On top of all this, Robert Lacey’s book Battle of Brothers comes out, and it gives more insight into William and Harry’s feud. Lacey claims William actually went ahead and got Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer involved in how fast Harry was moving with Meghan, and Harry was…not…thrilled.
The book also claimed Harry was “fighting back tears” during one particular “royal snub” by his brother during one of their final royal events together.
Robert Lacey released another excerpt of his book Battle of Brothers publicly and this time alleged that William and Harry had a “showdown” over Meghan being involved in British Vogue’s Forces of Change issue because not all the content was impartial.
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)
Per The Mirror, Lacey claimed it was “another classic Harry explosion, followed by a further, even deeper rift.”
Separately, Lacey claimed William took this picture to send a “message” to Harry:
A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)
And it kinda worked. The Times claims Harry and Meghan were indeed upset and saw it as a “signal that they were being excluded from royal life.”
According to the Sunday Times (via People), Harry asked to have a wreath of poppies laid on his behalf on Remembrance Day, but the request was turned down by courtiers because he doesn’t represent the royals in an official capacity anymore. (FYI, the Queen was apparently not aware of Harry’s request.)
Either way, Harry was said to be “deeply saddened” by the decision, and he and Meghan Markle went ahead and visited the Los Angeles National Cemetery in order to lay flowers at the graves of two Commonwealth soldiers.
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Behold: the big tell-all interview between Meghan, Harry, and Oprah. In March 2021, the Sussexes sat down to talk candidly about what happened during their time as working royals, and it was illuminating.
While Harry didn’t go all in, he did talk about the tension between himself and his older brother, saying, “As I’ve said before, I love William to bits. He’s my brother. We’ve been to hell together. But we’re on different paths.”
“The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment,” he continued. “And time heals all things, hopefully.”
As for William’s response, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Katie Nicholl said “William is devastated by this interview,” adding, “Don’t forget that the Duchess of Cambridge is being dragged into this whole saga and William will hate that and…relationship between father and son is of course at an all-time low. I think that the idea that Kate’s being dragged into this will be upsetting for Kate, who behind the scenes has tried really hard to be a peacemaker between William and Harry. She has been deeply saddened by the brothers’ falling-out. Don’t forget she was incredibly close to Harry herself.”
A source also told Us Weekly that Will (as well as Kate) were “in total shock after hearing what Meghan and Harry said in the tell-all. After all this drama, a reporter asked William, “Have you spoken to your brother since the interview?” to which he responded, “No, I haven’t spoken to him yet but I will.” A second reporter then asked William, “Can you just let me know, is the royal family a racist family, sir?” and he said “We’re very much not a racist family.”
Breaking: Prince William has become the first member of the royal family to publicly address the race row sparked by Harry and Meghan’s interview. He says he hasn ‘t spoken to his brother yet but will do and royals very much not a racist family. pic.twitter.com/WPtjexzARN
Gayle King also hopped on CBS This Morning to give an update on Harry and William’s relationship, saying they haven’t made much progress. “I did actually call them [Harry and Meghan] to see how they were feeling, and it’s true, Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too,” King says. “The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive. But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation. And I think what is still upsetting to them is the palace keeps saying they want to work it out privately, but yet they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan, still.”
Amid Prince Philip’s funeral, things between Harry and William remained “extremely frosty.”
“Truth be told, Harry didn’t really know what to expect before he came home, which is why he reached out before seeing everyone,” a source told The Mirror. “He wrote a deeply personal note to his dad to try and set things straight but tensions are still running high and things haven’t exactly ironed out the way he had hoped.”
“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 source continued. “Whether that is harder or easier to do on the other side of the world remains to be seen. There is a lot of distrust in the camp and everything is still very, very raw.”
With Princess Diana’s statue unveiling around the corner, the palace is concerned about William and Harry’s body language. “The brothers will be physically together for the ceremony but want to make their own personal addresses,” a source told The Sun, via Page Six. “You might have thought they’d go for a joint statement and speech, but that’s not the case. Each has insisted on preparing their own. It is a big concern that their body language will suggest all is not well and they won’t present a united front.”
Princess Diana’s statue unveiling was a reunion of sorts for the brothers, and the day went as planned.
“William and Harry spent the morning before the statue unveiling looking through old keepsakes, notes from Diana and bonding,” a Us source said. “They have absolutely turned a new page in their relationship and have started the healing. Everyone around them was thrilled to see how close they were on the day of the statue unveiling.”
In an interview with ET Online, royal author and expert Omid Scobie explained that there were “still feelings of anger” toward Harry and Meghan about the “way the couple carried out their departure from their royal lives” and that Will in particular “has not been able to come to terms” with the whole situation yet.
“The relationship between Harry and William is still very much one of distance,” Scobie said. “I don’t just mean physical [distance], across the Atlantic, but they are not talking that much, and that is exactly how sources close to William have put it.”
A source told People that Kate has been “really, really upset” about the royal feud, while a friend added, “Everything with Harry and Meghan has been hugely stressful, but if anything, it’s pulled [her and William] closer together. She was upset about it because [William] was so upset. Seeing her husband so distraught was tough.”
Penguin announced that Prince Harry is working on a memoir.
Prince Harry reportedly suggested that a mediator be brought in to work with him and Prince William on their relationship. Katie Nicholl laid out the details to Entertainment Tonight, saying, “Harry, I’m told, suggested perhaps that they might get some sort of a mediator in on sort of these talks, to make some progress. It was something that he had suggested to his father. He’s made it very clear that he wants to sort things out. He wants things to be improved.”
Meanwhile, Harry was asked if he “missed” his brother and dad during a Today interview with Hoda Kotb, and he dodged the question, saying, “Look, I mean, for me at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys [athletes at the Invictus Games] and these families and giving everything that I can, 120 percent, to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here. And then I leave here, I get back and my focus is on my family, who I miss massively…[Archie and Lilibet] are two little people, you know?”
Amid news that Harry and Meghan will be attending the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams tells Us Weekly that Harry and William’s “rift very definitely hasn’t been healed” and that Harry’s upcoming memoir continues to cause tension, saying, “It will again be a source of very, very substantial discord. Whatever he writes, if it’s published this year, it’s going to cause problems.”
That said, The Mirror reports that the brothers have been texting regularly and holding weekly FaceTimes with their kids, “which has allowed them to re-bond,” so it seems like things are maybe looking up?
Scratch that! It looks like William and Harry didn’t get a chance to re-bond at the Jubilee after all, as a source told Page Six things were “frosty” between them. On top of that, the Cambridges missed Lilibet’s 1st birthday party at Frogmore Cottage because of a trip to Wales.
A source told the Daily Mail that Harry and William’s relationship following the Jubilee is still at “rock bottom” and William has a lot of angst about his brother.
Meanwhile, an Us Weekly insider said William “doesn’t know who [Harry] is anymore and the trust between them is strained,” also noting that their bond is “doomed” and “irreparable.” Okay!
Prince William doesn’t appear to be thrilled about Harry’s upcoming memoir, and a source told The Sun that he’s refusing to see his brother until the book comes out later this year. And it’s not just Wills. Apparently, senior royals are “keen to avoid” the Sussexes until the memoir, but William specifically “feels he cannot trust his younger brother not to repeat their conversations.”
News of Meghan’s interview with The Cut all but broke the internet when it was published, and the royal family had ~opinions~ about it…well, ones that will probs never be admitted to the public, that is. TL;DR: Insiders said they were definitely not pleased. A source told Entertainment Tonight that the “royal family is disappointed by Meghan Markle’s latest comments in The Cut magazine and on her podcast. They are distressed that after stepping back from the royal family—claiming a need for privacy—she continues to publicize family matters in public.” The source also added there is a “loss of trust” with Meghan. Oof.
Despite all of the seemingly endless drama, we do think that maybe the families will end up setting their differences aside in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s saddening death—and they already reunited to view floral tributes after Prince William reached out to his brother:
Truly a rough month for Harry and William’s relationship. On top of the brothers failing to connect during William and Kate’s official trip to Boston, Harry and Meghan go ahead and release the trailer for their Netflix docuseries. Actually, they release several trailers—the first of which drops during the Cambridges’ trip to Boston.
Meanwhile, Prince William is said to be “very, very angry at his brother” over the series, so…doesn’t sound like these two will be working out their drama anytime soon. But we’ll keep you updated!
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