Prince William ‘Burning,’ King Charles ‘Heartbroken’ Over Prince Harry’s Memoir

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Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage
Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Welcome to this week’s edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Sunday.

If you thought the last few days had been insane, as ever more juicy slices of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare were served up freshly translated from Spanish—frost-bitten penises and all—the latest feeding frenzy from the British Sunday newspapers ratchets things up to an even crazier level. Then, later today, come Harry’s interviews with Tom Bradby in the U.K. and Anderson Cooper in the U.S. Tomorrow morning, there’ll be another interview with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America. Then the book itself is published Monday, 7 p.m. eastern time. Then, Stephen Colbert hosts Harry Tuesday night on The Late Show.

Cold compress anyone? Here goes…

William is “burning,” Charles is “heartbroken”

After Harry telling all about Prince William allegedly shoving him on to a dog bowl in a heated confrontation, a close friend of both brothers tells the Sunday Times that William “won’t retaliate, he never would, because he’s dignified and unbelievably loyal. William is a sitting duck because Harry knows he isn’t going to retaliate. How many shots can you take at a sitting duck? It’s cruel, cowardly, and so sad for William to keep taking the punches. He’s keeping quiet for the good of his family and the country.”

William was “anxious and he’s sad,” the friend said. “He’s concentrating on his wife and his children, that’s what he has. He has to focus on them, and look out for the rest of the royal family. He’s handling it so well on the outside—inside, he’s burning.”

All Prince Harry’s Memoir Revelations So Far—and One Big Omission

Another friend told the Sunday Times: “William will be going through a range of emotions—anger, concern, and worry—not just for his family but how all this is going to affect the institution. He will be thinking strategically and grappling with the personal versus the institutional reaction. We know how closely he followed his grandmother’s example, and the institutional response may win the day over the personal. But he is staunchly protective of his own family, and he’s not just going to roll over.”

William and Kate are set to do a joint engagement this week. “His focus is on getting on with the job and his commitment to duty and service is unwavering,” an aide told the Times. “We’d rather concentrate on the work we’re doing than on books or anything else that is happening.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>(L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex leave after attending Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Stephen Pond/Getty Images</div>

A friend of the royal family told the paper: “William is tough, the family can play the long game in the way Harry and Meghan can’t. They can channel their inner Queen Elizabeth: show, don’t tell, demonstrate this is the role you’ve taken on with courage and decency. That’s a very powerful counterpoint to all this.”

As for King Charles, a source said: “The king is no less hurt because he personally hasn’t been the focus of the majority of the anger and frustration of the book. He feels it as keenly, it is no less painful for him because the focus is on his son rather than him. There is a lot of family pain.” Another friend of the king told the Times: “Charles will be perplexed and heartbroken, but he is resilient.”

Charles hopes to reconcile with Harry, the Telegraph reports—the problem is each side believes the other should make the first move. Those close to Charles are aware that the “only way out of this mess” is reconciliation, however difficult, the paper says. “It is considered the only way of avoiding ‘open warfare’ for years to come.”

“The challenge here is not to build a mountain of resentment that cannot be bypassed,” a source told the paper. “In many ways, the royal family is no different to any other family and it will be their normality, rather than their uniqueness, which offers their greatest chance of reconciliation. Although Harry resents the role he was dealt within the institution, it is the fact that they are father and son that will bring them back together.”

While Harry said his family has shown “no willingness” to talk, a source told the Telegraph, “What father does not forgive their son?”

Looking ahead, the Sunday Times’ royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah tweeted that Harry had been “written out of the script for the Coronation, with no official role in the service if he attends. Breaking with tradition, Charles will scrap royal dukes kneeling and paying homage to the monarch. Only William will perform that role.”

Another un-brotherly fight—and a secret code

The brothers’ fight sketched out in the first extract from Harry’s memoir isn’t the only occasion of alleged fisticuffs. The Sun reveals that Harry’s memoir also tells of when a “steaming” and “shouting” William “grabbed my shirt” as Harry, Charles, and William held so-called peace talks in the gardens of Frogmore Cottage in April 2021 after Prince Philip’s funeral.

Harry said to his father and brother he felt the Megxit agreement had been “violated.” William told Harry: “I just want you to be happy.”

Harry writes: “My voice broke as I told him softly, ‘I really don’t think you do.’”

He says William shouted: “You never came to us. You never came to me.” Harry should “take it up with Granny,” William said.

Harry writes: “I waved a hand, disgusted, but he lunged, grabbed my shirt. ‘Listen to me, Harold.’ I pulled away, refused to meet his gaze. He forced me to look into his eyes. Listen to me, Harold, listen! I love you, Harold! I want you to be happy.”

Harry writes he responded, “I love you too…but your stubbornness is extraordinary!"

William “grabbed him again and twisted him to maintain eye contact,” and said, “Harold, you must listen to me! I just want you to be happy, Harold. I swear, I swear on Mummy’s life.’ He stopped. I stopped. Pa stopped. He’d gone there. He’d used the secret code, the universal password. Ever since we were boys those three words were to be used only in times of extreme crisis.”

Harry: “Our lives were built on death”

Harry, the Sun reports, writes that he thinks his “best memories, somehow involved death. Our lives were built on death, our brightest days shadowed by it. Looking back, I didn’t see spots of time, but dances with death.”

Windsor Castle, he writes, is a “tomb, the walls filled with ancestors,” and the Tower of London was “held together with the blood of animals” adding, “Maybe we were a death cult.”

Harry and Meghan’s 25-page bullying rebuttal

The Sun also reports that Harry writes that the palace staff bullying allegations leveled against Meghan was “the latest vicious campaign” the rest of the royals had “helped orchestrate… It was so shocking, so egregious, that even after Meg and I demolished their lie with a 25-page, evidence-filled report to human resources, I was going to have trouble simply shrugging that one off.”

<div class="inline-image__credit">Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images</div>
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Harry criticizes his father and brother for dealing with the media, writing: “They began talking over each other. We’ve been down this road a hundred times, they said. You’re delusional, Harry. But they were the delusional ones.”

“Counter-bombshells” are a possibility

Sources speaking to the Sunday Times indicate the royals or their friends may soon strike back, claiming Harry’s allegations are far from the whole story.

“I don’t know how you can do that to your brother, even if you don’t like or get on with him any more,” a friend of the royal family told the Sunday Times. “William was always there to pick up the pieces for Harry, he was his mum [after Diana]. There’s so much stuff over the years that Harry has rung friends up about and said, ‘throw away that photo, promise you won’t speak about this’. You could have a f***ing field day with shit on Harry. So could William, who (in comparison) is as clean as a whistle. I can’t believe he’d stoop so low. It’s outrageously disloyal.”

Another close friend of the brothers told the paper: “It’s strategically not clever. Harry is good at getting his narrative out there, but we know so much, we’ve cleaned up so many messes over the years, there is so much we could say.”

Several once-loyal friends of Harry, the Times reports, say they may dismiss some of his claims as “bollocks,” and drop counter-bombshells. “Loyalty works both ways,” said one.

“You can’t underestimate how angry he’s felt about being controlled within the confines of the institution for so long. What he definitely doesn’t want to do any more is live thinking, ‘What does it look like from a public relations angle?’ He’s not thinking, ‘How will I come across?’ He’s thinking, ‘F*** this, I’ve lived a life for so long where I’ve been controlled for so long’. People need to take a step back and ask why he has done it. Many will be asking if he’s genuinely OK. We know he isn’t. He’s damaged and one way to deal with it is to write a book.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2nd L), Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd L), Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (3rd R), Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd R) and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) depart Westminster Abbey after attending the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">PHIL HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images</div>

Another royal worry around reconciliation talks is that Harry and Meghan may leak whatever is said. There’s also general puzzlement that Harry keeps trashing his nearest and dearest, then claiming he wants his family back together.

One of Harry’s biggest supporters in royal circles tells the Times: “I don’t know how you can say you want your father and brother back after writing all that. But the king has a massive role to play here. If you’ve got Harry saying all this, there is a case of swallowing it and taking the higher ground. If he does, it will be easier for William to follow. They need to find the higher ground that is right for the family and the institution, otherwise it will continue to be a headache up to the coronation and beyond. Not talking about it will never work. The strength of this institution comes from the strength of the family.”

A source who knows Charles well told the Times: “The royal family has to avoid being vindictive, but that doesn’t mean the king is going to fly out to Montecito to calm Harry down. They’ve got no alternative but to let the hurricane blow through.”

A royal adviser added: “What does Harry want from the family? He wants 100 per cent validation of their story, he wants the Palace to say we’re sorry in a way that says everything we’ve been saying since Oprah is true. That won’t happen, because it’s not all true. The Palace will rise above it and let time do its job.”

The Telegraph reports that while the glacial silence from the palace will continue, a “small team” has been focused on monitoring the revelations, and crafting pushback if deemed necessary. “They have been wargaming every dispute, every clash the Duke had with his family that they feared could be made public in his book. Every possible allegation they could think of has been run through in detail so they could feel prepared. They were taking it very seriously and wanted to be ready to react if necessary. They were on a war footing.”

“In the event, staff opted not to respond to any of the claims,” the paper said, “despite their often personal nature. It is understood that some of their biggest fears did not come to fruition, prompting them to conclude that there was no reason to fuel the fire.”

Subscribe here to get all the latest royal news and gossip with Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman.

Harry’s Nazi narrative rebuffed

Harry’s claim that William and Kate somehow incited him to wear a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party in 2005 “is news to a former royal aide who helped to handle the fallout and spoke to Harry at length at the time,” The Sunday Times reports. “I was there in the middle of all of that, at no point did Harry ever say that to me,” they said. “There was no mention to any advisers at the time that it was William and Kate’s idea or they thought it was hilariously funny. That recollection did not exist at the time, contemporaneously.”

<div class="inline-image__credit">JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images</div>
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Another source, described as a “well-placed friend who attended the same party,” says of Harry’s attempt to blame William and Kate: “Bullshit. It was nothing to do with them.”

Harry cried once after Diana’s death

The Sun reports that Harry will tell Tom Bradby later on ITV that he cried only once after Diana’s death—at her burial. “I cried once, at the burial, and you know I go into detail about how strange it was and how actually there was some guilt that I felt and I think William felt as well, by walking around the outside of Kensington Palace. There were 50,000 bouquets of flowers to our mother, and there we were shaking people’s hands, smiling. I’ve seen the videos, right, I looked back over it all… And the wet hands that we were shaking, we couldn’t understand why their hands were wet, but it was all the tears that they were wiping away. Everyone thought and felt like they knew our mum, and the two closest people to her, the two most loved people by her, were unable to show any emotion in that moment.”

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, told her funeral planners that expecting William and Harry to walk behind her coffin was “a barbarity,” the Telegraph reports Harry writing in the memoir. Harry writes that, “It seemed like a lot to ask for two children”, adding: “Several adults were horrified.” Earl Spencer, “flew into a rage”, saying: “You cannot force these children to walk behind their mother’s coffin. It's a barbarity!”

Who was the older woman?

Hail the wit of Suzannah Harvey, one of the women whose name popped up in connection to the mystery of the older woman who Prince Harry had first-time sex with when he was 17 in a field behind a pub. The former model posted a photo of Ginger Nuts biscuits to her Instagram stories with a caption stating: “The only ones I’ve EVER touched...,” adding “Believe zero of what you read.”

Catherine Ommaney, former Real Housewife of D.C. has also denied it was her; she was 34 and he was 21 when they had their fling she told the Sun on Sunday, adding Harry “knew what he was doing” and was a “great kisser… It was clear he wasn’t a virgin when we met. He was 21 and he was very sure of himself. He was a great kisser and obviously knew what he was doing. “He lifted me off the floor in a way that no man has ever done to me before or since - and Harry knew how to treat a woman. He was very giving, very passionate, lovely and a total gentleman.”

Ommaney added: “No, I’m definitely not that girl in the field and nor would I do that. I hate horses and that sounds so gross to me. I’m actually quite sad that Harry lost his virginity to some older woman behind a pub. Virginity is very special and to lose it to someone—whether you are a royal or not—in a field is not romantic at all.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage during their carriage procession on Castle Hill outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images</div>

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage during their carriage procession on Castle Hill outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony.

Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The wedding: Beard-gate and Kelly confrontation

William told Harry he thought he was being “brainwashed” by a therapist, the Mail reports in yet more memoir revelations. Harry also accuses William of believing “I was unwell, which meant I was unwise” as he crafted his royal life escape plans. Harry told his brother a join therapy session would “be good for you. Good for us,” but William didn’t agree to it.

William, the Mail says, also disagreed strongly when Harry said he wanted to keep his beard for his wedding to Meghan, but Queen Elizabeth backed Harry’s wish to keep it as it made him feel “calmer.” Harry says he and Meghan had even wanted to elope for a “barefoot Botswana,” ceremony, adding: “We wanted to get married quickly. But the Palace couldn’t seem to pick a date. Or a venue.” Harry goes through the discussions he had with William about the venue.

Writes Harry, “Yes, she (the queen) said, you may keep your beard. But then I explained it to my brother and he... bristled? ‘Not the done thing,’ he said. ‘Military rules, so forth.’” A “livid” William told Harry of the beard/queen situation: “You put her in an uncomfortable position, Harold! She had no choice but to say yes.” William “wouldn’t let it go,” and the argument continued “in person, on the phone, for more than a week.” William ordered him to shave the beard off. Harry writes he replied: “For the love of God, Willy, why does this matter so much to you?”

“Because I wasn't allowed to keep my beard,” William said.

“Ah, there it was,” Harry writes. “After he’d come back from an assignment with Special Forces, Willy was sporting a full beard, and someone told him to be a good boy, run along and shave it. He hated the idea of me enjoying a perk he’d been denied.”

Tiara-gate and laughing gas

The Mail reports that Harry denies in the book the much-repeated line “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets” in a row over which tiara she’d wear for her and Harry’s wedding. First, Meghan was offered a tiara worn by Diana, then the queen offered Meghan access to her tiara collection. She told Meghan tiaras suited her. But Harry says Angela Kelly, the queen’s formidable dresser, didn’t respond to his attempt to set up a practice fitting.

Kelly eventually “appeared out of thin air” at Kensington Palace to make him sign a release form before handing over the tiara, Harry writes. “She fixed me with a look that made me shiver. I could read in her face a clear warning. This isn’t over.” Markle ended up wearing Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau.

At another major event, son Archie’s birth, Harry writes that he ate “Nando’s chicken and got high on laughing gas to calm his nerves.”

Unanswered questions

So many. But primarily: This will never end, right?

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