To quickly recap everything (because explaining in detail would take days), Prince Harry and Prince William have been at odds with one another, much of their conflicting perspectives having to do with Meghan Markle, the role of being a royal, and openness about experiences within the royal family. How things really stood between the brothers remained murky, but that was until Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey and revealed all to the world. Not only did he recount experiences of declining mental health, but Meghan revealed that she felt suicidal, that their baby’s skin color was brought into question, and a whole array of other grievances.
Of course, the royals reportedly did not like it, and while many have been trying to save face, it’s become pretty clear over the months that the royal family, including William, have just about had it with Harry. His big move to the United States seemed like a final nail in the coffin, but is he now trying to walk back some of his words and actions? Harry traveled back to the United Kingdom for the dedication of Princess Diana’s statue in July 2021, and the new interaction gave us insight into his current standing with the royal family. Here’s what to know about Prince Harry’s attempts to resolve tensions with Prince William.
Once out of camera range, William and Harry reportedly began arguing at Prince Philip’s funeral
In order to understand the setting of Prince Harry and Prince William’s reunion for the unveiling of Princess Diana‘s statue, we have to go back to their last interaction — Prince Philip’s funeral, where all eyes were on Harry and William. Robert Lacey, a historian and author of the book "Battle of Brothers," wrote for the Daily Mail that, despite any wishes for the reunion to go well, the brothers had at it. Those surrounding William and Harry, according to Lacey, had hoped that the funeral "would bring the warring brothers together in an atmosphere of reflection," but things reportedly did not go well.
After sharing a public moment together, William and Harry were said to have gotten into an argument and had gone inside St. George’s Chapel — outside of camera range — so they could fight. A friend of the brothers told Lacey, "The rage and anger between those two has grown so incredibly deep. Too many harsh and wounding things have been said." Philip’s funeral was in April 2021, and Harry left shortly after to return to the United States — not exactly the best way to leave things.
These social media clues give insight into Harry and William’s possibly changing dynamic
It’s hard to interpret what has really gone on when it comes to Prince William and Prince Harry, so what is there left to do other than comb through social media for clues? As noted by Insider, things between Harry and William might be getting a bit better, and that conclusion is based on William and Kate Middleton’s social media account.
When Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their son, Archie, William and Kate wrote a very formal note of congratulations and used Harry and Meghan’s titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. However, when Harry and Meghan welcomed their daughter, Lilibet, in the summer of 2021, the Cambridges’ approach was fairly different. "We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan, and Archie," the couple wrote on social media. Do with this information as you like, but it seems to point to some sort of thawing between Harry and William.
It also should be noted that William and Kate went through a social media overhaul of sorts, as noted by People, and are perhaps trying to show a more casual side of their lives together.
A body language expert believes Harry tried to ‘engage’ with his brother during this event
After Prince William and Prince Harry’s reunion at Prince Philip’s funeral, the world watched with bated breath as the brothers came together in July 2021 for the unveiling of a statue of their late mother, Diana Spencer. According to body language expert Blanca Cobb, it was Harry who tried to engage with William. "When Harry would actually turn his feet to angle towards his brother, his brother didn’t respond by turning towards Harry," Cobb said, as noted by Us Weekly. "He was more stoic. He was less engaging with his brother."
Cobb also analyzed Harry’s hand gestures, revealing to Us Weekly that the younger prince was "more relaxed" than his brother, perhaps an indication that he felt as though he had the upper hand in the situation. Pointing to a very obvious position of comfort, Cobb said, "Harry was looking more at William than vice versa. And you could tell also because there were times that Harry would actually walk over to where his brother and somebody else was talking." If body language is anything to go off of, it seems as though Harry made more of an effort to reunite than William.
Harry and William reunited for this meaningful moment
It’s the interactions behind closed doors that really speak volumes, and while Prince William and Prince Harry had a row outside of the camera’s vantage point the previous time they interacted, the statue dedication for their mother in July 2021 included some rather heartwarming moments — perhaps an indication that efforts to thaw the relationship between the brothers are working.
A source told Us Weekly that before William and Harry made their way to the Kensington Palace garden to unveil the statue of Diana Spencer, they spent the morning together. "William and Harry spent the morning before the statue unveiling looking through old keepsakes, notes from Diana and bonding," the inside source shared. "They have absolutely turned a new page in their relationship and have started the healing."
It may have been a rather wise decision for Meghan Markle not to attend the event. Not only has a lot of the feud between the brothers stemmed from their differing perspectives on marriage and royal dedication, but the British press would have had a field day if she had joined her husband. The source was quick to say, however, that "all is not forgiven."
William has been accused of planting stories about Harry
It’s been reported that Prince William allegedly tried to plant stories in the press regarding the status of Harry’s mental health following some of his expository interviews.
As noted by Deadline, Omid Scobie, the royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar, was interviewed in the new documentary "Harry and William: What Went Wrong?" and alleged that William "briefed newspapers about concerns regarding Prince Harry’s mental health." In the rough cut of the documentary, Scobie claimed that members of William’s team "planted the story" that Harry was mentally unwell, particularly after he claimed that he and William were "on different paths" during an interview.
Kensington Palace jumped onto the scene and told ITV and Spun Gold — who are behind the documentary — that the comments from Scobie were "potentially defamatory." As such, the line in question was removed from the final cut of the film. But it seems that any of Harry’s attempts at cooling down the fiery tension between him and his older brother are not being reciprocated.
William and Harry focused on honoring their mother
If there is one thing that could bring Prince William and Prince Harry together — despite Harry’s attempts to engage with his brother — it’s the memory and legacy of their mother, Diana Spencer. Not only did the brothers reunite to unveil her statue on what would’ve been her 60th birthday in July 2021, but royal historian Robert Lacey asserted that her memory could bring them back together in a meaningful way.
"In the past quarter of a century, they have placed their mother right at the heart of the royal family," Lacey, who wrote the book "Battle of Brothers: William & Harry: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult," told People. He went on to say that given that neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Charles would likely set out to honor Diana in any way, it’s been up to William and Harry to put aside their differences and honor her legacy.
"[They were] not sweeping [their differences] under the carpet, but acknowledging more important things and doing that in a way that warmed everyone’s heart," Lacey said. Here’s hoping that their mother’s memory continues to bridge differences between the two princes.
Princess Diana’s biographer had this to say about the tensions between Harry and William
Despite Prince Harry’s attempts to engage with his brother, Prince William didn’t seem to take the bait. As such, people from Princess Diana’s past weighed in, with one sharing that the late Princess of Wales would be devastated to learn about her sons’ public feud. Andrew Morton, who worked with Diana and wrote the biography "Diana: Her True Story," shared with ITV’s "Loose Women" that Diana would be "very upset" over the status of her sons’ relationship and offered his take on the matter.
"Diana said to me quite clearly on several occasions that she saw Harry as the wingman for William in what would be a very solitary, somber job as future king," Morton said, as reported by Page Six. "She would have been very upset at the way these two have split apart," he continued. Of course, William is second in line to the throne and the likelihood of him spending a decent amount of his life as king is significant (after all, Prince Charles, the direct heir to the throne, is already 72 years old). Harry has had the freedom to create a life more on his own terms, but the relationship between the brothers has fractured significantly.
This royal source claimed that Harry is an ‘outsider’ to the royals
If you go back and watch Prince Harry’s interviews, he actually doesn’t say that many poignant statements about his brother. He shared that he and Prince William are on different journeys and that they exist in different systems, but it’s not like he dropped f-bombs and insults. However, despite any potential attempts to extend an olive branch, Harry is reportedly still seen by William and other members of the royal family as an outsider, according to sources close to the brothers.
As noted by The Mirror, sources affiliated with Diana Spencer’s family fall into two camps — one group is "hopeful" that Harry and William will work it out, while the other group holds firm that it will be "almost impossible for Harry to be trusted" moving forward. "Despite William and Harry coming together this week for the sole cause of commemorating their mother’s legacy, Harry is very much on the outside," one source shared, before noting that William — at this moment — does not think there is any more to discuss. "Things are still far too raw for William … to entertain Harry, so it’s best to let things lie for the moment," the source concluded.
Harry and William abandoned plans for separate speeches
There was a lot of attention paid to the Diana Spencer birthday memorial, mostly because Prince Harry and Prince William have been at odds for so long. They didn’t exactly calm suspicions about their relationship when it was announced that they’d be giving separate speeches at the statue unveiling. However, the brothers abandoned their plans to address the small (COVID-19 safe) crowd gathered for the occasion and instead released a joint statement about their beloved mom.
Historian and author Robert Lacey told People that the move was a rare show of solidarity between the two princes, but hopefully, it served as a step in the right direction. "They demonstrated a constructive way of dealing with differences," Lacey said, whose words were echoed by Ken Wharfe, who was in charge of Diana’s protection while she was still alive. "It was their idea and it was a joint effort," Wharfe said. The statement was, in and of itself, a lovely nod to their mom — the two princes were 12 and 15 when Diana died, and in their statement, they expressed, "Every day, we wish she were still with us."
Harry didn’t stick around for long following his July reunion with his brother
When Prince Harry reunited with Prince William in the United Kingdom in July 2021, he seemed to be pretty happy, which was surprising given all the drama. Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight that the display from Harry while in London was relaxed, and from her perspective, it seemed that his efforts to thaw any cold tension between him and William paid off. According to Nicholl, William and Harry "seemed relaxed in each other’s company," and if there was any tension between them, they did a really good job at hiding it. "I thought Harry particularly looked quite jovial, he looked like he was really enjoying the day," Nicholl said.
Although Harry appeared to be enjoying himself and the occasion, as well as making an effort to reunite with his older brother, he didn’t really stick around for too long. The Kensington-located event in question took place on July 1, 2021, and Harry headed back to the United States on July 3, 2021 — not exactly a long vacation. According to Nicholl, the relationship with William is still recovering from the "breakdown of trust," so time will tell if any effort to mend things has paid off.
Meghan Markle might join Prince Harry for a return to the United Kingdom
The world stopped when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to the United States — it pretty much shocked everyone, and Harry has only been back to the United Kingdom twice since (as of publication). But perhaps in his attempts to mend his relationship with Prince William, Harry has (still unconfirmed) plans to return to Britain in the fall — this time, Meghan Markle reportedly might join him.
As noted by The Mirror, Harry and William want to honor their mother’s statue in a larger event-like setting, as its initial dedication in July 2021 was scaled back due to COVID-19. As such, plans for a 100-person event are in the works for September 2021, and according to reports, Harry has plans to attend. The Mirror noted that the final confirmation of the September event is set to be announced sometime in July 2021, and you can bet pretty much anything you own that all eyes will be glued to Harry and William. That is unless Meghan joins Harry on the trip — it would certainly be a sight to see the couple try to smooth things over with the royal family after all this time.
This royal insider thinks that the feud between Harry and William was blown out of proportion
While many of us have read every article about Prince William and Prince Harry’s feud, some have doubted the reports, and one such individual was Diana Spencer’s voice coach, Stewart Pearce. As noted by Vanity Fair, Pearce is steadfast in his belief that Harry and William were never "seriously fighting," and his assertion was bolstered after the brothers’ friendly display during Harry’s last trip to the United Kingdom. So does Harry truly have a relationship he needs to fix? Does William need to apologize? When it comes to Pearce, he doesn’t seem to think so.
"I didn’t believe that there was a rift. There was a slight disagreement, but I mean, who doesn’t disagree with his brother?" he said. "But [it’s] been blown out of complete proportion, it’s been overly dramatized. They both were so relaxed." It is hard to say exactly what has happened between the brothers, and how much has been speculation, but maybe Pearce’s rose-colored glasses perspective is more on the nose than people think — especially since Harry seemed to be quite happy to see his brother in early July 2021.
Harry’s cold relationship with other royal family members might be starting to thaw
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dropped some serious insight about the royal family during their sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, namely their allegations of bullying and racism from members of "The Firm." But despite all the drama and the things that have been said, it looks as if tensions between Harry, Meghan, and some royal family members are starting to dissolve.
As noted by Hello!, Queen Elizabeth hosted Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, at Windsor Castle in July 2021. A video of the visit was released, and in the background of the official event were photos of the queen’s family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as a photo of Harry from his 20th birthday. That isn’t the only indication that efforts on Harry’s part have started to pay off.
In June 2021, the queen met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Buckingham Palace, and in the background of that event, a framed photo of Harry and Meghan was spotted. Hopefully the inclusion of the couple in the official royal halls is a sign that things are starting to get a bit better.
Despite any progress made with William, Harry still chose to stay at this separate royal residence
Seeing Prince Harry and Prince William interact not once, but twice in 2021 alone has been a pretty wild thing. It’s clear that Harry has tried to mend the gap between him and his brother, but the saying goes: you can’t have too much of a good thing. This seemed to be on Harry’s mind when he last visited the United Kingdom, because instead of staying with his brother, Harry stayed at Frogmore Cottage. This could have been due to England’s COVID-19 safety protocols (he was reported to be self-isolated for a few days), but, as noted by Hello!, Queen Elizabeth was spotted driving to Frogmore the day that Harry arrived from Los Angeles (so it’s unclear if his stay at the cottage really kept him from his family).
Of course, Harry has maintained that his relationship with the queen has weathered the storm. He told Oprah Winfrey that he has a "deep respect" for her (via Elle), which she clearly feels given her desire to meet up with him. Time will tell exactly how Harry’s efforts will pan out, but here’s hoping that his relationship with William and the royal family can take a turn in a positive direction.