Their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II responded on Monday that she is supportive of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s request to “step back” as senior members of the royal family. But some royal experts believe the controversial departure has rocked the relationship between the two brothers.
Bullen has been making programs about the British royal family for nearly 20 years and has worked closely with their father Prince Charles for eight of those years. He is optimistic, however, that the princes will ultimately settle their differences.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2018, in London, England.
“Everyone around them is working flat out to try and repair things,” he explained. “The next few weeks and months will be fascinating for anyone interested in the royal family.”
The brothers did form a united front on Monday to deny a report that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s behavior played a role in Harry and Markle’s decision to “step back” from their royal duties.
In a statement on behalf of both princes released by the palace, the brothers denied reports from a U.K. newspaper that Harry and Markle felt pushed out of the royal family by William and his wife Kate Middleton.
In a statement confirmed by Fox News, the brothers said: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”
Prince Harry, left, and his older brother Prince William watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018, in London, England.
(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The rebuke comes in response to a story published by The Times that stated that Harry, 35, and Markle, 38, came to their historic decision to step back from their royal duties and become financially independent from the crown after two years of being “bullied” and “told their place” by William, Middleton and other senior royals.
Royal author Leslie Carroll pointed out that riffs among princes and princesses are nothing new to the monarchy. And while the brothers may be faced with tension behind palace walls, it’s clear William, who is second in line to the throne, is dedicated to duty.
“He does not appear to be a cruel person,” Carroll explained. “But he is far more inscrutable than Harry, who is much more of an open book to the rest of the world in terms of his outgoing nature, and his very unroyal and unBritish willingness to publicly discuss (and reveal his emotions). In this, he is indeed his mother’s son.
“William’s path was mapped out for him since the day he was born,” she continued. “Harry has always needed to feel useful to a wide world behind himself and has always been happier outside the confines of England — long before he met Meghan. In fact, he truly came into his own during all those years he spent in the army.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017, in London, England.
Numerous sources have long insisted there were deep tensions between the brothers after Harry revealed to his family he wanted to marry the former American actress after less than a year of dating. When William cautioned Harry that the whirlwind romance was moving too quickly, Harry reportedly became angry and hurt.
William dated Middleton, his college sweetheart, for about eight years before tying the knot in 2011.
Harry hinted at the ongoing rift between him and his older brother in the ITV documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” which aired in October 2019.
“Inevitably stuff happens,” explained the British royal. “But we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy, but I love him dearly.
“The majority of stuff is created out of nothing,” added Harry. “As brothers, we have good days and we have bad days.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge with Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Louis on the balcony during Trooping The Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019, in London, England.
Carroll shared that it is now more crucial than ever for Harry and William to mend their reported differences for the sake of the monarchy.
“Harry has never coveted William’s position at all,” she said. “It would be wonderful if the two brothers could head somewhere quiet for a week, Balmoral perhaps… so they could just talk quietly and listen to each other. Harry needs a mission, a portfolio. He has been one of the favorite members of the royal family.
“Less naturally gregarious family members would do well to see past any envy they might harbor and recognize that their own strengths are different ones; and allow the shining stars to do what they do best and shine on behalf of The Firm — which will be all to the good of everyone concerned.”