Harry and William have gone through a torrid time of late, particularly after the Duke of Sussex sensationally stepped down from royal duties alongside his wife, Meghan Markle. The once close brothers appeared to be at odds with each other, as Harry admitted they were “on different paths” and William was said to avoid seeing Harry for lunch at the now infamous Sandringham Summit. But rivalry between the two dates back far longer than just a few months, as they used to fight and argue as children.
It stems from William knowing he will become King one day ‒ a fact he has been aware of since the early stages of his childhood.
Harry, on the other hand, is very unlikely to ever take up that position, with his brother, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis combining to make him sixth-in-line to the throne behind his father Prince Charles.
Like William, Harry has been aware of this since he was a child ‒ and a Princess Diana insider claims he would tease his older brother about the role he would one day fill.
Diana’s former protection officer Ken Wharfe claims young Harry would tell William he could do “anything he wants”.
Prince Harry’s brutal boast to Prince William: ‘I can do anything I want!’
William, Harry and Princess Diana prepare for a tennis lesson
Mr Wharfe recalled a car journey when the boys were only children.
With their nanny and the late Diana in the vehicle, Harry turned to his older brother and teased: “It’s alright, I can do anything because I won’t be King.
“You will be, therefore I can do what I want.”
Mr Wharfe believes William “gleefully liked” the acknowledgement Harry had given him of his place in the family.
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Diana with Harry and William
He added: “As children, I always thought it was rather funny.”
While William is likely to become King, Mr Wharfe added in Robert Jobson’s Royal Podcast that Diana also thought Harry would make a good monarch.
Diana is said to have nicknamed her youngest son “Good King Harry” during his youth.
Mr Wharfe explained: “Many, including Diana, thought that Harry – given his predilection to being quite robust and good at taking orders would have made a good King himself.”
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Diana with William and Harry at Thorpe Park
Harry reportedly took issue with William referring to Meghan as ‘this girl’
It was after the death of their beloved mother in 1997 that the brothers truly bonded.
This was typified by the support they gave each other as they set about on careers in the Armed Forces.
Harry in particular was said to have struggled to cope with the demands of adapting to a civilian life after the end of his 10-year spell in the Army – and it was William who helped him through it.
According to Finding Freedom ‒ a sympathetic biography of Harry and Meghan written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand ‒ Harry’s relationship with William truly soured after he started dating the former TV star.
The authors ‒ famously close with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‒ claim the rift started when Harry took offence at William urging him to slow down the relationship, referring to Meghan as “this girl” before Harry had proposed to the future Duchess.
Royal line of succession
Harry was unhappy at the “tone of snobbishness” that was “anathema to his approach to the world” and this bitterness between the two brothers persisted after Harry wed Meghan in May 2018.
Author Robert Lacey, however, argues that the rift came about several years before, as William got to grips with his destiny.
Mr Lacey believes it stems from Harry’s treatment after he infamously dressed up as a Nazi for a party.
He claims the decision to wear the costume was taken by both brothers and left William “laughing all the way back to Highgrove”.
William and Harry with Diana
William and Harry with Charles in 2005
Mr Lacey told Entertainment Tonight: “This is the first time we discover the conflict between the brothers, and Harry starts resenting this stereotype that is forced on him.
“William is the King of the castle, and he’s the dirty rascal. And when Kate comes along, he happily falls into the role of number three and it’s all so far so good.
“Then Harry falls in love with Meghan and that really turns things around, and she makes him see things in a new way so that’s where the rift really started with William and Harry – when he saw how deep he was falling in love with Meghan.”
‘Finding Freedom’ was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand and published by HQ in 2020. It is available here.