Princes Harry and William have five months to heal their rift or else their relationship may become irreparable, a royal expert claims.
Royal biographer Robert Lacey said the brothers’ rift must be healed before the one-year review of Harry and wife Meghan Markle’s new working relationship. if not, there could be no turning back, he warned.
The review is due in March, but Mr Lacey said he “no longer rates highly the chances of reconciliation” between Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ sons.
The author, who wrote the new bombshell book Battle of Brothers, said Meghan’s alleged experience at the hands of palace aides remain an obstacle to the siblings putting past feuds behind them.
Mr Lacey, 76, told Newsweek: “Meghan’s style, the way she swept into the palace, the way she brought her own American advisers with her, rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way.
“So there was that personal animus in those negotiations and I fear there remains to this day an obstacle to reconciliation.”
He claims the “courtier establishment” within the Royal Family is reluctant to bend to Harry and Meghan’s demands or pursuits.
He added: “I no longer rate highly the chances of reconciliation. I think whatever gets decided in March has pretty well got to be for the foreseeable future.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, now living with one-year-old son Archie in a $14 million (£10.7 million) mansion north of Los Angeles, are halfway through a 12-month probation period after quitting life as senior royals.
When it comes to an end, the Queen, Charles and William will review the Sussexes’ relationship with the monarchy.
Harry, 36, was forced to step down as Captain General of the Royal Marines when he and Meghan, 39, took a step back from royal life.
The post has not been filled, but there has been speculation that William, 38, could take over the role at the end of the probation period.
If that happens, “that would be the end” of William and Harry’s relationship, Mr Lacey claims.
He said the public will expect answers come March or the summer, when the brothers are due to unveil a statue of Diana at Kensington Palace, as to whether the rift has been healed.
Mr Lacey has also called on William to make a public statement to acknowledge the rift, which Harry previously confirmed during his trip to Africa last year.
It is claimed that the Sussexes will spend this Christmas in California – the second year in a row they have decided not to spend the holiday with the Royal Family at the Queen’s estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.
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It is also said that the couple will travel to the UK days after Christmas and self-isolate for two weeks before the start of Meghan’s High Court case against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday in January.
Mr Lacey’s book, Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of A Family in Tumult, which was released earlier this month, contains a number of explosives claims about a feud and Meghan’s time as a royal.
It claims the rift developed between William and Harry years before Meghan came into the younger brother’s life, when the younger prince was pictured in a Nazi costume.
The response to the Nazi costume incident in 2005 prompted Harry to reconsider his older brother’s involvement and the differing treatments of the pair, the book alleges.
Mr Lacey also wrote the Queen, 94, felt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were “erratic and impulsive” in making their departure from the royal family.
And William was said to be so infuriated by his brother’s behaviour he refused to dine with Harry alone before a summit with their grandmother at the height of the imbroglio surrounding the Sussexes’ decision to step down.
The book also alleges:
- The Royal Family were “hopping mad” over Harry and Meghan’s trademarking of Sussex Royal products and services, which was viewed as a “commercialising of the crown”.
- The Queen, Charles and William were not consulted over the multiple legal actions taken by the couple against the media.
- A “powerful constituency” within the family felt Meghan’s interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby during last year’s tour of Africa, in which she bemoaned her life, showed a “bizarre tone deafness” and was “miserably self-indulgent”.
- Kate Middleton and William broke up over the phone while she was at work at Jigsaw after their relationship hit a rocky patch in 2007. They got back together months later.
- Battle of Brothers also claims the Duchess of Cambridge refused an invitation from the Queen to attend a Royal Family Christmas prior to her engagement to William.
Mr Lacey wrote that the monarch extended her first invitation to an unregistered partner for the family’s traditional Christmas lunch to Kate in 2006.
He claims Kate “would go to Sandringham on Christmas Day only when she was engaged and had a ring to prove it”.