Prince William and Prince Harry

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At one point, the brothers loved to tease one another via the press.

Prince Harry’s long-awaited memoir, Spare, is set to release in a few days — and in the lead-up to publishing, a number of interviews (as well as leaked excerpts from the memoir) are making one thing clear: Harry isn’t holding back.

One such revelation from the memoir is that Harry and his brother, Prince William, allegedly got into a physical altercation in 2019, in which William “knocked [him] to the floor” and called Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, “rude” and “abrasive.”

This is just one of a series of jaw-dropping bombshells Harry is set to allege in his memoir, which comes immediately on the heels of a six-part Netflix docuseries that covered Harry and Markle’s messy separation from the royal family and broke a number of streaming records along the way.

As Harry has become increasingly outspoken about various private matters in the royal family, his brother has become more tight-lipped. In fact, William hasn’t made a public response to any of the allegations Harry has made about him in recent years.

So what has William said?

Here’s a breakdown of virtually everything Prince William has said publicly about his brother Harry and a timeline of their royal rift over the last six years.

2016: William supports Harry with a rare public statement against the British press

Throughout their early years, and into their 20s and 30s, the royal brothers were known for being playful with one another in front of the press. Harry often teased William about his receding hairline, for example, and William would make jokes about Harry being smaller than him.

What was less common was for the two brothers to make any sort of severe official statement about anything, let alone the British press — but in 2016, that changed.

This was the year, after all, that Harry began dating Markle, and a torrent of racist and misogynistic comments was made against her in British tabloids. In November of that year, Harry released a statement via his communications secretary that condemned the “wave of abuse and harassment” against his girlfriend.

Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his.”

William followed suit shortly after, releasing his own statement via Kensington Palace. The statement read, “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him.”

In that moment, the brothers appeared to be completely unified in their rebuke to the press — but this unity would prove to be short-lived.

2017: William opens up about how his mother’s death impacted him, and how he and his brother grieved separately

The following year, William offered perhaps the most intimate glimpse into his private life that he ever had, and ever would. The comments came via interviews for a BBC documentary about his mother, Princess Diana. The interview provided insight into his grieving process around Diana’s death, as well as his perspective on his role as a member of the royal family.

In the documentary, William acknowledged the uncanny experience of grieving the loss of his mother at such a pivotal age while under such a bright spotlight.

“All I cared about was, I’d lost my mother, and I didn’t want to be where I was,” William said. “When we [would] go out and do [public events], in order not to completely and utterly break down, we [would] have to put on a bit of a game face. And you have to be quite strong about it because otherwise, you’re a walking mess.”

William also referenced the controversial moment when he and his brother Harry had to walk behind their mother’s coffin in the official funeral procession. William and Harry both agreed in the documentary that they didn’t want to do that at the time, and William acknowledged their special role as royal members, citing an “element of duty and responsibility that you have to do things you don’t want to do.”

William also acknowledged how his mother’s death impacted his perspective on how both he — and his brother — should behave as adults.

“I wanted her to be proud of the person I would become, and I didn’t want her worried or her legacy to be that William or Harry were completely and utterly devastated by it,” he said. “She loved Harry and I dearly, even so that I can sit here after 20 years and I still feel that love. I still feel that warmth 20 years on, which is a huge testament to her.”

Later on that year, William and Harry came together once more, this time with William’s wife, Kate Middleton, for a special videotaped conversation about mental health (you can see a clip of that video above). In that conversation, William revealed that he and his brother rarely spoke of their mother’s death to one another.

“Harry and I, over the years, have not talked enough about our mother,” William said.

The last comment William made that year about his brother was to acknowledge Harry’s engagement announcement to Markle.

“We’re very excited, delighted for them both. We’re wishing them all the happiness in this very exciting time,” he said, then added, “Personally, I hope it means he stays out of my fridge and will stop scrounging my food, which he’s done for the last few years!”

2018: William and Harry share their final moments of public unity

2018 marked the year Harry and Markle were married. It also marked the final public moments in which William and Harry displayed warmth toward one another.

Specifically, William made a number of lighthearted comments to the press about his role as best man at Harry’s wedding.

In January of that year, William admitted that he had not yet received a request from his brother to be best man. He made a joke that would prove to be ominous, retrospectively: “He hasn’t asked me yet — it could be a sensitive issue.”

Prince Harry and William at Harry’s wedding ceremony. (Getty Images)

Later that year, the two brothers confirmed William’s role as best man. Harry joked that he got down on one knee to pop the question to William, and William joked, “It feels great, a real delight…revenge is sweet,” in reference to Harry serving as best man for his wedding in 2011.

2019: William falls silent as Harry seems to confirm a rift

By 2019, rumors had begun to swirl around Harry and Markle’s relationship with the royal family, as well as their relationship with the British press. In the ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Harry was asked directly about his relationship with his brother. Instead of brushing the question off, Harry seemed to indicate that there was truth to the rumors of a rift.

“Part of this role, part of this job, this family, being under the pressure which it’s under, inevitably stuff happens. But we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers,” Harry said.

“We’re certainly on different paths at the moment,” he continued. “I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy but I love him dearly.”

William made no public comments this year about his brother.

2020 to present: William’s public relationship with Harry disintegrates

2020 was the year that Harry and Markle severed the majority of their ties with the royal family and moved to California. It also included a moment when William and Harry’s press secretaries released a joint statement in what was perceived to be an effort to indicate unity where it increasingly appeared there was none.

The joint statement came after a report in a tabloid that Harry and Markle had been driven away from the royal family due in part to William’s direct “bullying.”

“Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”

William didn’t offer any more public statements. He’s continued to stay quiet over the years in spite of increasingly public and hostile allegations by Harry and Markle, some about the royal family in general and some about him specifically.

William did not make a public comment when Markle spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the alleged psychological abuse the royal family subjected her to in a two-hour special in 2021. He also has yet to make a public comment about the six-part documentary Harry and Markle released on Netflix, nor has he commented on Harry’s upcoming memoir.

There is, however, a comment William allegedly made to a friend in 2020 — and this comment, if accurate, seems to indicate that their relationship might just be fractured beyond repair.

“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” Prince William allegedly told the friend. “I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support [he and Markle] and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the [same] team.”

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