If you’re a fan of the British royal family, you know that Prince William and Prince Harry haven’t seen eye to eye in quite some time (via Cosmopolitan). The two brothers seemed attached for life at one point, with Harry always trailing his brother and Kate Middleton at every outing, photograph, and event. But things started to change when Harry met and married Meghan Markle, and pretty much everything has been downhill for the siblings since.
Of course, family tragedies have a way of refocusing the narrative, and in the wake of Prince Philip’s death, one question has risen above all the others: what’s going to happen to William and Harry’s relationship? The death of their grandfather, the storied Duke of Edinburgh who played such a large role in their lives, is shifting the attention away from their feud and onto healing. But is there any kind of relationship left between Harry and William to salvage?
The aftermath of Philip’s death (as of publication) is still developing, but we did the digging to provide you with the answers you’re looking for. Here’s everything we know about Prince William and Prince Harry’s relationship since Prince Philip’s death.
What went so wrong between Prince Harry and Prince William?
Here’s a quick recap as to why the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry is in shambles. Reports of tension have plagued the brothers pretty much since Meghan Markle came onto the scene, and the tension absolutely boiled over after Harry and Meghan’s (now infamous) sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.
After their departure from the royal family and their move to the United States, Harry and Meghan told the storied television host that racism, press hostility, and lack of protection on the Firm’s part drove them to one option: to leave Britain and the royal family, and start a new life of their own. Harry even said that his brother was "trapped within the system" that is the royal family.
But according to The Times, William doesn’t see it that way. The elder brother was "reeling" after the interview, and said that Harry’s comments were "way off the mark." A close friend added that "[William] has a path set for him and he’s completely accepting of his role. He is very much his grandmother’s grandson in that respect of duty and service." So yeah… bad times between siblings.
What did Prince Philip think about Prince Harry and Prince William’s public feud?
The British royal family have, historically, done everything they can to avoid conflict. They’re the public figures who always have it together, so any drama within the family is unwelcome. So what did Prince Philip think about the declining dynamic between his grandsons?
One royal source said that he was "dismayed" by what he was seeing play about between them. Philip reportedly "urged them both to put to rest their differences, and not only remember their bond but also be mindful of their duty to the Queen and the country."
It seems as though Philip’s wishes, while he was still alive, weren’t met because the brothers have gone more than two years without speaking to each other in positive ways. A royal source told the Mirror that the relationship between Harry and William is "strained," even after Philip’s death, and that the chances of them seeing "eye to eye" anytime soon isn’t likely. "Both are fully aware of their shared history and will no doubt remember what impact their grandfather had on their life growing up," the source shared, but will they hug and make up? That remains unclear.
Prince Harry and Prince William were supposed to reunite on Prince Philip’s 100th birthday
Before his death, plans to celebrate Prince Philip’s 100th birthday — which would’ve been in the summer of 2021 — were underway. And despite their ongoing conflicts, Prince William and Prince Harry were both expected to participate and, naturally, meet up with each other. As reported by The Sun before Philip’s death, Harry had indeed been reaching out to the royal family in preparation for his grandfather’s 100th birthday celebration. Of course, people speculated that things would be "awkward" between Harry and William, as well as Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, so the groundwork was being laid to address some of the issues.
The last time the "Fab Four" were spotted together was in March of 2020 at the Commonwealth Day Service; the temperature was frigid, to say the least, as Harry and Meghan had just announced their intent to step back from their roles as senior royals. And since the two couples were last together, things have only gotten worse between them, so it’s hard to say exactly how well Philip’s 100th birthday celebration would have panned out for the foursome.
A week before Prince Philip’s death, Prince Harry and Prince William still feuded
Hindsight can really bring out the toxic details, and unfortunately, things didn’t pan out well for Prince William and Prince Harry. Just a week before their grandfather died, it was reported that the tension between the brothers was at an all time high, as a source revealed new information to Us Weekly about their ongoing feud. In retrospect, the timing of the news was highly unfortunate.
The insider told Us Weekly that William was still recovering from the interview that Harry and Meghan Markle gave; but furthermore, the source revealed that William no longer felt comfortable sharing any information with his brother. "William was left reeling. He says it was a cheap shot to leak details of their private call and that he twisted the truth," the source shared. William reportedly is even "uncomfortable" speaking to his brother on the phone. "He’s putting himself at risk of the same thing happening again," the insider added. Of course, the latest piece of the negative puzzle forming between the brothers was quickly overshadowed by Prince Philip’s death.
Prince Harry and Prince William will come face-to-face at Prince Philip’s funeral
If you’ve been following the unfolding drama between Prince William and Prince Harry closely, then you know that they were destined to reunite at some point. Sadly, the brothers will see each other at their grandfather’s funeral for the first time since the infamous sit-down interview Harry and Meghan Markle gave to Oprah Winfrey. The circumstances are less than ideal, and Harry will also be facing his family for the first time on his own — due to her pregnancy and her doctor’s orders, Meghan won’t be joining him, but will be staying in California (via Forbes).
As noted by NBC News, Harry’s much-anticipated return to the United Kingdom will be followed very closely. He is set to attend Prince Philip’s funeral, scheduled for April 17, and will be there with William and other royal family members. The service will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the same place where Harry and Meghan got married. Time will tell how smoothly the service — and the highly anticipated reunion of the brothers — will go.
Prince Harry and Prince William honored their grandfather separately, spurring tension
Prince Philip had been a staple of the royal family for years, and it almost seemed like he would be with us forever. In the aftermath of his death, many family members released statements expressing their heartache, including Prince William and Prince Harry, but the statements came with a catch. The brothers weren’t aligned, and released two separate statements half an hour apart, fueling rumors that there’s still an extraordinary amount of bad blood between them.
According to NBC News, William’s statement was very proper. He pointed to his grandfather’s service to Great Britain, and said that Philip would want everyone in the royal family to "get on with the job," regardless of the circumstances. "My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service — to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and queen, and to our family," William’s statement read.
Harry’s statement took a far different approach, and remembered Philip as a grandfather, first and foremost. "My grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end," Harry’s words read, a far different tone to that of his brother.
Prince William and Prince Harry will both be walking behind their grandfather’s casket
The world watched in disbelief when Britain’s two young princes, Prince Harry and Prince William, walked behind their mother’s casket. According to the Daily Mail, Prince Philip joined his grandsons and walked behind Princess Diana’s casket with them, an immense display of support (especially for the royal family). In a sight that’s bound to be eerily similar, Harry and William will once again walk behind a casket, this time, their grandfather’s. The two princes are "expected to stand shoulder to shoulder" as part of the royal procession that will follow Philip’s casket, and given their fractured relationship, it’ll be interesting to see how the event plays out.
Philip’s coffin will be transported to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where his funeral will be held on April 17, via a Land Rover vehicle he assisted in designing. The Royal Regiments, Corps, Marines, and Air Stations will make the event a grand display of British service, despite Philip’s request to "stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor." The sight, and the two brothers reuniting, will certainly be something to see.
Prince Harry and Prince William will be two of just the 30 people attending Prince Philip’s funeral
It’s often easier to avoid people when you’re surrounded by a group, but (perhaps unfortunately) for Prince William and Prince Harry, they will be just two of 30 people allowed to attend Prince Philip’s funeral. As noted by Page Six, the COVID-19 restrictions are curtailing the size of Philip’s funeral, and while the ceremony will be broadcast, only a handful of people are allowed to attend.
As noted by NBC News, everyone who attends Philip’s April 17th funeral will have to maintain social distancing, and will be required to stay six feet away from anyone not in their household. Unlike past royal funerals, there will be no public access, limited guests, and of course, brothers who can’t stand to be in the same room as each other. Harry, as per the palace’s rules, will especially be required to follow strict coronavirus protocols due to the fact that he had to travel via plane to attend the ceremony. We can’t imagine that William is bringing his brother food or quarantine goodies in the meantimes.
Will Prince Harry and Prince William find healing at Prince Philip’s funeral?
The prolonged tension between Prince Harry and Prince William has been obvious to just about everyone, but some are under the impression that Prince Philip’s death could bring the brothers back together. Former prime minister, Sir John Major, said that their grandfather’s death is an "ideal opportunity" to heal the deep wounds within the family, and if anyone were to know the brothers closely, it’s Major. As noted by the BBC, Major became the guardian of William and Harry after their mother, Princess Diana, died.
Major also expressed hope that the circumstances surrounding Philip’s death would end the "friction" between the siblings, and said that they would also need to rally around the Queen and support her. "They shared emotion. They share grief at the present time because of the death of their grandfather," Major said. "I hope very much that it is possible to mend any rifts that may exist."
Major hasn’t been the only one to express hopes about reconciliation for the brothers. Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, echoed the sentiment.
Prince William and Prince Harry will honor their late mother together
There are still a number of days before Prince Philip’s funeral. There isn’t a ton of confidence, given their history, that things will be warm and supportive between Prince William and Prince Harry, but sad circumstances do bring out the empathy in people at times. We’ll all be watching closely, and until then, we’re looking ahead to when they’ll most likely see each other next.
As noted by Us Weekly, Harry will most likely travel back to the United Kingdom again in July of 2021 to honor Princess Diana with a new statue in London, on what would’ve been her 60th birthday. A source revealed that William is determined to meet up with Harry before the commemorative event, perhaps to iron out their issues. "All eyes will be on them at the unveiling, critics will be analyzing their every move and how they interact with each other," the insider explained. "[William] doesn’t believe that it’s feasible for them to reunite in the public eye without showing signs of tension if they don’t thrash out their differences in advance."