The No. 1 Thing Prince William Can't Forgive His "Wingman" Brother Harry

Royal observers were looking for signs that Prince William and Harry had repaired their relationship during the events surrounding Queen Elizabeth's funeral. But one royal watcher claims there's one thing Prince William—the newly minted Prince of Wales—can't forgive his brother Harry, now living in California as a non-working member of the Royal Family. Read on to find out what it is, and why—and the unprecedented step Harry offered to take to heal family division, which was rejected outright. 

1

William "Simply Can't Forgive" This, Expert Says

The Daily Mail reports that a royal expert said a William-Harry reconciliation is not going to happen, and that William "simply can't forgive" Prince Harry for stepping back from the Royal Family and leaving the UK in 2020. 

"William simply can't forgive [Harry], not just for his behavior and what he's done and how he's done it, but look at how much now rests on William," said Katie Nicholl, author of The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth's Legacy and the Future of the Crown. "He always thought Harry would be his wingman. Now he's doing it on his own."

William and Harry are the only two children of King Charles III. They were 15 and 12, respectively, when their mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. 

2

Drama Only Started With Move to the U.S.

Nicholl said that Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, ultimately felt "relief" when Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced their decision to move to America because they believed the "drama was gone."

But in many ways, it was just starting. The couple gave a headline-making interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which they alleged that royals had reacted to their marriage and children with racist attitudes and that Markle had experienced suicidal thoughts. 

The interview provoked a compassionate statement from Queen Elizabeth—who reportedly adored her grandson before and after—but deepened the rift among Harry, his brother, and his father, royal watchers say.

3

Harry Suggested Professional Help in Healing Family Conflict, Author Says

In an excerpt from her new book, published in Vanity Fair this week, Nicholl reports that Harry suggested bringing in a mediator to settle his rift with the Royal Family. The idea was floated when Harry and Markle visited the UK last April for the Invictus Games, she says.

"Charles insisted on meeting Harry and Meghan before their audience with the queen," Nicholl writes. "According to one insider, he wanted to make sure Harry wouldn't be able to sweet-talk her the way [Prince] Andrew had and get her to agree to anything without Charles's say-so."

Citing an anonymous family friend, Nicholl says. "Harry went in with hugs and the best of intentions and said he wanted to clear the air. He suggested they use a mediator to try and sort things out, which had Charles somewhat bemused and Camilla spluttered into her tea. She told Harry it was ridiculous and that they were a family and would sort it out between themselves."

4

Another Interview Compounded Tension, Author Says

After the Invictus Games, Harry said on the Today show that he wanted to ensure his grandmother "had the right people around her." That raised eyebrows at Buckingham Palace and had the effect of deepening the rift, Nicholl says. So has the fact that Harry has been contracted to write a memoir, whose release is imminent.

"It wasn't clear whether Harry was referring to his father and William or the aides who were closest to the queen — such as her private secretary, Sir Edward Young, her personal adviser and in-house dress designer, Angela Kelly, and trusted courtier Paul Whybrew," Nicholl wrote. "It seemed Harry's drive to win back some of the trust that had been shattered post-Oprah was dashed. There was also still the matter of what Harry plans to disclose in his forthcoming memoir."

5

"There Was a Long-Term Plan in Place"

"For Charles and William, the situation with the Sussexes hasn't just been hurtful and upsetting on a personal level," wrote Nicholl. "There have been real repercussions, particularly for William, whose young family has been thrust into the spotlight prematurely. He always expected Harry would be his wingman; there was a long-term plan in place for the brothers to work together and support one another."