Princes William and Harry are working towards mending the ‘hurtful’ rift that has all but torn the once-inseparable brothers apart, the author of a new biography about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has claimed.
Carolyn Durand, who co-authored Finding Freedom alongside royal correspondent Omid Scobie, spoke to the Today show about some of the revelations within its pages, and opened up about what caused Harry, 35, and his brother William, 38, to fall out.
According to Durand, the rift between the two brothers began in 2016, when Harry and Meghan first started dating – and was sparked by a conversation during which William urged his younger brother to slow the romance down and to ‘take some more time getting to know Meghan’.
Expert: Finding Freedom co-author Carolyn Durand has opened up about the rift between Princes William and Harry, detailing how it was caused, and how they are repairing it
Problem: According to Durand, Harry and William (pictured in 2018 with their wives) fell out after the older brother urged his sibling to slow down his relationship with Meghan Markle
‘Hurt’: The royal author says that the brothers (pictured as children with their father Prince Charles) are ‘making their way back to each other’, but that the process will ‘take some time’
The royal expert suggests that these words of advice rubbed Harry the wrong way – and served as the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the siblings’ relationship was concerned.
‘He expressed to him, maybe he wanted to take some more time getting to know Meghan,’ Durand said. ‘It wasn’t because people didn’t trust Meghan. This was simply because the boys had watched our for each other since they were young children.’
Durand stresses that the falling out between the two brothers did not happen as a result of any anger or resentment on either part however, but rather feelings of ‘hurt’ on both sides.
Opening up: Durand co-authored Finding Freedom with fellow royal expert Omid Scobie
‘As we write in the book, it wasn’t anger,’ Durand said. ‘It was hurt.’
The bombshell biography also reveals that the two siblings, who were once inseparable, ‘hardly spoke’ in the months after that tense chat, with sources close to the royals alleging that this bitter rift between the brothers only grew wider after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in 2018.
Their already-fraught relationship then suffered another blow at the start of this year, the book details, when Harry and Meghan announced that they were quitting their roles as senior members of the royal family and would be splitting their time between the US and the UK.
However, Durand and Scobie explain that the tension between the two siblings was most certainly borne out of concern on William’s part that Harry’s relationship with Meghan was moving so quickly – a fear that his brother refused to pay mind to.
In fact, Finding Freedom also reveals just how intense the romance between Harry and Meghan was right from the get-go, claiming that the couple knew they ‘would be together’ after the second date, and that they were immediately ‘obsessed’ with one another from the very first meeting.
And while Harry may have officially popped the question to Meghan at home at Kensington Palace, Durand says the royal actually ‘pledged’ to marry her when the couple were on their second trip to Botswana in 2017 – having ignored his brother’s advice to the romance slowly.
‘They actually made a promise to each other in Botswana initially underneath the stars,’ Durand said. ‘And when Harry got back to London, then he did propose over a roast chicken.’
Caution: ‘[William] expressed to [Harry], maybe he wanted to take some more time getting to know Meghan,’ Durand said of the conversation that sparked the siblings’ falling out
Priorities: The royal author said that Meghan and Harry, who are living in Los Angeles, are focusing their time on their one-year-old son Archie and their charitable work
But one silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has pushed Harry and William to begin repairing their relationship, with Durand revealing that they are slowly ‘making their way back to each other’.
‘Like in any family, there have been some ups and downs, but the brothers are making their way back to each other,’ Durand said. ‘And that will take some time.’
For now, the British author said that Harry and Meghan are enjoying their time in Los Angeles – where they have been living for several months with their son Archie – and are focused on their charity work, and spending as much time with their first-born as possible.
‘When they do video-conferencing calls with their team and with members of the community, you will often see Archie pop into the camera,’ Durand revealed. ‘He’s now walking a bit. They’re very, very hands-on parents.’
The Today interview comes just as Durand’s co-author spoke to Good Morning America about William and Harry’s fallout, defending both Meghan and Kate Middleton against any suggestion that they were to blame for causing the rift between the brothers.
Scobie insisted that any falling out between William and Harry was entirely due to the behavior of the brothers, and had nothing to do with Meghan or Kate , or indeed any uneasiness that may have existed between the two women.
In fact, he believes that the change in the relationship between William and Harry actually came as a result of the younger sibling choosing to break out of the role of ‘subservient brother’ – which Scobie notes likely prompted the dramatic chilling of relations between the princes.
‘I felt it was important to really dive into this in the book because we had seen Meghan and Kate really blamed for almost driving a wedge between them,’ he said.
‘They are both men in their 30s and Harry not wanting to play that role of sort of the younger more subservient brother anymore.’
Difficulties: While Durand was on Today, her co-author Scobie spoke to Good Morning America about the couple’s decision to quit the royal family
Motivation: He said that the monarchy’s racial ‘ignorance’ did ‘play a role’ in the couple’s decision to leave the UK and step down as senior royals
But while frosty relations between Meghan and Kate may not have been to blame for Harry and William’s falling out, Scobie does not deny that the two women were never close – and that there was at least some resentment on the Duchess of Sussex’s side over how the Duchess of Cambridge treated her when she first joined the royal family.
‘These are two women that really have very little in common,’ he said.
‘I think that being a newcomer and knowing that Kate was once a newcomer, I think there were times – speaking to sources – where Meghan felt she could have [had], or needed, a little bit more support from Kate and didn’t get it in some of those important moments.’
Still, he insisted that much of the tension between the two women has been over-dramatized in the court of public opinion, addressing one particular report that Meghan had pushed Kate to ‘tears’ at her wedding to Prince Harry, claiming that it has been completely over-exaggerated.
‘When I spoke to the people who were actually there and involved, the first thing they all said, well, there were no tears,’ he said – although he did not deny that there was some tension between the two women on the day of the royal wedding.
But as far as Kate breaking down, Scobie insisted it ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’.
‘In terms of ticking those boxes that may ruffle feathers within an ancient institution such as that of the monarchy, she had really ticked all of them,’ he said, adding: ‘Race did play a role.’
Scobie suggests that Meghan never felt comfortable within the royal family – and that she was never made to feel as though she was entirely welcome.
Speaking out: The author opened up about his own experiences with racial prejudice as a bi-racial royal correspondent, recalling one unpleasant interaction with a senior royal aide
‘Failed’: Scobie said that Meghan and Harry were ‘failed by the monarchy’ and insisted that the royal family missed the chance to embrace ‘diversity, inclusivity and representation’
The author went on to detail his own experiences with racial prejudice as a bi-racial man working closely with the monarchy in his role as a royal correspondent, recalling one particularly unpleasant interaction with a senior aide to the Queen.
‘I myself have also had moments as a bi-racial royal correspondent within the institution,’ he said.
‘I’ll never forget the moment an aide, or a senior aide close to the Queen, said to me, ‘I never would have expected you to speak like that,’ and that level of ignorance I think perhaps made it very difficult for Meghan.’
Scobie’s remarks come just as Prince Harry addressed the desperate need for more diversity and inclusivity, insisting that it will take ‘every single person on the planet’ to defeat racism in a candid new virtual interview for a civil rights organisation.
Harry, who is currently living in Tyler Perry’s $14 million mansion in Beverly Hills with Meghan, 38, and their son Archie, one, is set to speak about the topic in further detail in a new interview for the Color of Change initiative – however in a short clip released on Instagram, he praised the younger generation for ‘acting, rather than just saying’.
Speaking with US civil rights leader Rashad Robinson, the royal said: ‘As we’ve discussed before, it is going to take every single one of us, this is not just down to the black community, it’s going to take every single person on the planet right now.’
Harry’s decision to speak so publicly about the battle against racism is all part of what Scobie recently described as his ‘journey to workeness’, which, the author says, was guided by Meghan.
In a recent interview with the National Public Radio, Scobie noted that watching Meghan face racial bias was the first time that Harry had witnessed that kind of prejudice towards someone so close to him first-hand, explaining that this sparked the royal’s ‘journey to wokeness’.
‘Harry’s journey to wokeness has been very public,’ he said.
Tension: Scobie said that Meghan never felt entirely welcome in the royal family, and that she did not feel as though she received enough – or indeed any – support from Kate Middleton
Falling out: However the author denied that Meghan and Kate had anything to do with the rift between Princes Harry and William, insisting that the brothers fell out on their own
‘We’ve seen him learning and educating himself along the way, but this experience of witnessing Meghan face racist remarks and commentary would have been the first time he’d seen someone in his life or someone he was particularly close to affected by it in a certain way.
‘We talk about some of the more obvious examples in some of the media coverage but I think that the things that have flown under the radar are some of the othering of Meghan we’ve seen.
‘We’ve sort of seen it repeatedly that she’s not one of us. And now, what do they mean by not one of us?
‘And I think there are things like that which Harry’s really had to become more attuned to and learn to see when it happens in front of him. And Meghan would have been the person that guided him on that journey. ‘
While Meghan and Harry’s decision to quit their roles as senior members of the royal family in favor of a more independent life in the US sparked serious controversy that continues to rage on – however Scobie insisted to GMA that the couple will come out on top in the history books.
He placed blame on the royal family for the couple’s move, saying that he believes Harry and Meghan were ‘failed by the monarchy’, and insisting that when historians examine the moment in years to come, it will be viewed as a missed opportunity for the centuries-old institution to evolve and diversify.
‘History will remember them as a couple that were perhaps failed by the institution of the monarchy, where there was this chance to have a woman of color, an American woman of color, in the house of Windsor representing the monarchy just as much as her husband,’ he explained.
‘That was a chance for the royal family to have diversity, inclusivity and representation in a way that no other moment in their lives could have brought and for them to not have harnessed that is something I’m sure historians will be looking at for years to come.’
Scobie believes that the couple were left with ‘no choice other than to leave’, insisting that things had reached breaking point for both Meghan and Harry.
False: Although Scobie admits that Meghan and Kate never saw eye to eye, he denied rumors that the Duchess of Sussex left her sister-in-law in tears at her wedding to Prince Harry
Rumors: It was reported that Kate had been ‘reduced to tears’ by Meghan’s ‘strict demands’ for her wedding, but Scobie insists this ‘could not be further from the truth’
‘They had no choice other than to leave because they both knew that it wasn’t going to continue should they just carry on as they were,’ he said.’
The royal correspondent also called out the ‘harsh British tabloids’ for the treatment of Meghan, insisting that this contributed, at least in part, to the couple’s departure, pointing back to November 2016 when Harry publicly blasted the media’s coverage of his then-girlfriend as a sign that the couple were already considering a move away from life within the monarchy.
‘I think we had a series of ups and downs with the couple,’ Scobie said when asked when things ‘took a turn’ for Harry and Meghan.
‘We only have to look back in the early days of Harry’s relationship with Meghan around November 2016 when he issued that statement lambasting sections of the media for racist and misogynistic reporting.’
Scobie also address reports that Meghan and Harry ‘weighed in’ on Finding Freedom through ‘secret interviews’, insisting that the couple had nothing to do with the stories in the book.
‘I know there’s a lot of speculation about the couple having sort of given secret interviews for the book and having weighed in, but it really couldn’t be further from the truth,’ he said.
However, royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Today that, while Meghan and Harry may not have given direct quotes to Durand and Scobie, she believes the couple certainly had a hand in providing some of the information that is in the book.
‘There were a lot of very personal texts that are mentioned in this book, personal feelings, personal accounts that really only could’ve come from Harry and Meghan,’ she said, adding that it’s likely the royal couple gave their friends the go-ahead to share certain stories with the authors.
‘So though not directly, there’s a suggestion here really that their friends were given permission to talk. I don’t think anyone that’s a close friend to Harry and Meghan would want to talk without permission, so yes, I say that Harry Meghan’s fingerprints are on this, just not directly.”