DAN WOOTTON: Insiders fear Harry’s renewed criticism of Charles has put reunion with ‘horrified’ William to honour their mother Diana at risk
- Royal source says Prince William is ‘saddened by the recent developments’
- Harry is ‘putting such deeply personal pain into public domain’, source adds
- Brothers had agreed to no longer speak publicly about loss of their mother
- But Harry’s recent pronouncements during podcast appear to break pact
The gulf between Prince William and Harry over the way they intend to publicly deal with their father has become seismic.
In private, the Duke of Cambridge has shared many of his brother’s views about Prince Charles’ parenting ability in the past.
However, the thought of broadcasting such private family matters in the incendiary way Harry has over the past week on an American podcast would horrify the second in line to the throne.
By contrast, William has spent the past three years attempting to privately reconcile some of the issues he had with his dad and his troubled childhood in order to smooth relations before Charles becomes king.
A royal source tells me: ‘Prince William is, of course, saddened by the recent developments because of the way Prince Harry is putting such deeply personal pain into the public domain, invading all the family’s privacy.
Prince Charles with his sons Harry and William at Lancaster House in London in February 2014
‘It is fair to say that, even now, William does privately have conversations about the relationship with his father, which has been strained in the past.
‘There was much hurt after his mother’s death and both brothers at times found their father’s commitment to his work difficult to comprehend.
‘Just like Harry, William has learned lessons from his upbringing and ensures he puts his family time first above any other commitment.
‘But William also believes continually developing and growing his relationship with his father is critical for the future of the monarchy.
‘They now have a lot of mutual respect and he would never even comprehend for one moment speaking publicly in the way Harry has done in the past week.’
In fact, Harry’s recent pronouncements during the interview with US star Dax Shepard appear to break an agreement made by the brothers to no longer speak publicly about the loss of their mother.
(From left) The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales to Westminster Abbey in September 1997
When both brothers contributed to a high profile ITV documentary about Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017, William believed they had pledged not to talk about their mother again.
Speaking on behalf of his brother, he said in the documentary: ‘We won’t be doing this again – we won’t speak as openly or publicly about her again, because we feel hopefully this film will provide the other side from close family friends you might not have heard before, from those who knew her best and from those who want to protect her memory, and want to remind people of the person that she was.’
But it’s clear Harry no longer intends to honour that pledge, having started to speak about his mother regularly at events and in the media since quitting the Royal Family to move to the US last year.
On last week’s Armchair Expert podcast, he said of life as a royal: ‘Look what it did to my mum. How am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family, when I know it’s going to happen again?’
He added of Diana: ‘The massive immense impact that she had on us in the short time she was around was huge. Because all she wanted to do was make sure we had as normal a life as possible.’
Apple has included a shot of Harry walking behind Diana’s coffin on the day of her funeral in the trailer for the Duke’s new Apple TV series The Me You Can’t See about mental health, a decision Harry is likely to have personally approved as an executive producer of the show.
It is clear Harry feels speaking publicly about his mother and her death is important as he opens up about his mental health battles.
There are fears within royal households that he may launch further attacks on his family, possibly around the circumstances he and William were forced to walk behind the coffin, in the Apple show, which is released on Friday.
Prince William laughs with Prince Charles next to Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace in 2000
Another royal insider says: ‘Of course this is Prince Harry’s story to tell and he has every right to share it.
‘But what you have to understand is that it goes very much against the strategy he agreed with William following the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death.
‘That’s going to increase tensions between William and Harry, which sadly are already high.’
The podcast interview sent shockwaves amidst the royal households last week, as Harry complained of the ‘genetic pain’ of being part of the Royal Family, while targeting the parenting abilities of both Prince Charles, and the Queen and Prince Philip.
He told Shepard: ‘If I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure that I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on. Suddenly, I started to piece it all together and go, ‘OK so this where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this bit about his life, I also know that’s connected to his parents.’ So that means that he’s treating me the way that he was treated. Which means, how can I change that for my own kids?’
(From left) Dax Shepard, his co-host Monica Padman and Prince Harry pose in a photograph for the Armchair Experts podcast, which sent shockwaves amidst the royal households last week
The Mail on Sunday revealed at the weekend how some royal aides want the Sussexes stripped of their royal titles.
But as I reported on Friday Prince Charles favours a very different approach.
While sources familiar with the Prince of Wales’ thinking concede tensions with Harry are high at the moment, the future king wants to find a way to welcome his wayward son and American wife back into the royal fold, even if such a rapprochement takes years.
There is a looming test of the relationship between William and Harry, however.
In July they are due to publicly come together in London to unveil a long-anticipated statue of Princess Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1st.
The more Harry speaks publicly about their mother before then, the harder those arrangements are going to become.
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