Aside from the fact that he doesn’t have social media, Prince Harry may have other reasons for not popping online Tuesday to publicly wish his older brother, Prince William, a happy 40th birthday.
Among those reasons could be the fact that William’s friends were quoted in a major UK news report marking the milestone birthday, complaining about Harry and mostly blaming him for why he relationship between the once-close brothers may never be healed.
In the “intimate portrait” published in the Daily Mail, the unnamed friends shared how William is “really, really angry about what his brother has done.” One friend said, “He believes there are things you just don’t do. And Harry has 100 percent crossed that line.” The friends also said that William grieves the loss of his relationship with the one person, aside from his wife, Kate Middleton, “who understands this strange life of theirs.”
Royal author Omid Scobie lamented in a column for Yahoo that the friends used their time with the Daily Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English to dwell on William’s grievances against his younger brother, instead of to talk more positively about what kind of king William will one day make.
Scobie said, in his experience on the royal beat, the Duke of Cambridge has a close and trusted group of friends who would never talk to a reporter — unless they got permission from him. To Scobie, this means that the friends didn’t just have William’s OK to talk openly about his feelings about Harry, they may have even been used by the duke or Buckingham Palace to promote his side of the story.
“When royal aides and off-the-record friends turn coverage of the prince’s birthday into a list of familial complaints about brother Prince Harry, I was left scratching my head at the bizarre direction they chose to take things,” Scobie wrote. “And the opportunity that was missed.”
Scobie noted that the Daily Mail has “a complicated relationship with the royals,” but that the relationship is “currently very close.” What Scobie doesn’t mention is that the Daily Mail is regularly critical of Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle. It was accused of racist coverage of the biracial American former TV actress before and after her marriage to Harry, and both Meghan and Harry have been embroiled in privacy and libel complaints against the tabloid in the U.K. courts.
Meanwhile, Scobie is known to be friendly with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and to regularly speak in their defense. He authored “Finding Freedom,” hagiographic book about the couple’s departure from royal life, and he’s often the first to share press updates from the couple.
Whatever Scobie’s bias may be, he has a point in saying that William’s friends shared plenty of complaints about Harry in the Daily Mail profile. The story describes how William’s once ” prickly relationship” with his father, Prince Charles, “is more harmonious than it has been since his early teens,” but that these days, the future king’s biggest personal worry is the fractured bond with Harry.
In order to find common ground, one friend told the Daily Mail that William and Harry “both have to admit fault — and it’s pretty obvious that one of them is absolutely refusing to do that.”
“William is also very principled and believes Harry has crossed a line,” the friend said, apparently referring to interviews Harry has given to Oprah Winfrey and others, during which he has said disparaging things about life in the royal family.
“He’s thrown accusation after accusation, knowing that silence is the family’s only option because it doesn’t want to get dragged into a public slanging match,” the friend told the Daily Mail. “William is absolutely allergic to drama, but Harry has ensured that the family laundry is being aired on a global scale.”
Another confident told the Daily Mail that William was especially angry at the way that Meghan said during the Oprah Winfrey interview that Kate made her cry — not the other way around — before her May 2018 wedding. William believes that his wife was “massively disrespected” by Meghan, who also said that Kate brought her flowers to apologize.
“It obviously never occurred (to Meghan) that they were a peace offering, not an apology,” the insider said, adding. “Despite much provocation, both William and Catherine have tried to keep the peace more than anyone will ever realize.”
In his column, Scobie complained that William and his friends could have used this opportunity in the Daily Mail to talk more about his future plans for the monarchy, the Commonwealth or issues close to his heart, such as the environment, homelessness or mental health.
The Daily Mail’s portrait of William came in two parts. After examining William’s personal life in the story published Saturday, the Daily Mail presented a story on Sunday looking at William as Britiain’s “first millennial monarch.”
With extensive comments from friends and other palace sources, the story described how William has his own distinct vision to “reshape” the monarchy and “won’t be afraid to get his hands dirty — or to speak his mind on the issues that matter.” William’s friends also talk about William’s view that the monarchy can continue to play a role in national life.
“He thinks there is a big space outside of politics where he can play a role over issues such as homelessness and housing,” a friend said. “Children are being raised in conditions in this country which are absolutely unacceptable. Where does homelessness end and housing affordability start? He really cares about this as an issue and it’s where he wants to put his energy.”