EXCLUSIVE: Royal biographer Penny Junor explains how Princess Diana’s traumatic childhood has had a devastating effect on her sons Prince Harry and Prince William
With each day that passes, the fallout between William and Harry is looking more permanent.
These are the brothers who clowned around, trained to fly
helicopters together and shared experiences from a traumatic childhood that no one else could know.
They had each other’s backs, they were always there for one another. Princes, brothers and best friends.
Just a few years ago, before Harry met Meghan, they were living alongside one another at Kensington Palace; Harry popping into William and Kate’s apartment to play with their children and raid the fridge.
Today they are living nearly 6,000 miles apart and barely speaking. And the bust-up is painfully public.
In any family when siblings stop talking to one another it is a tragedy but this has wider implications.
The Fab Four, as they were dubbed after Meghan joined, had everything going for them. They had charm, charisma, humour and a great rapport with the public – and, apparently, each other.
They seemed intent on using their privilege and their titles to help others: the forgotten in society, the wounded, the disadvantaged.
Taking on the many of the causes their mother championed, they seemed invincible; and with the four of them together, the long-term future of the monarchy – lean and approachable – seemed certain.
So what went so disastrously wrong? At first it seemed it was the wives – not each other’s cup of tea.
But it was more than that. There were tensions between the two princes before Meghan came into the picture.
They were beginning to tread on each other’s toes with the charitable work.
Then Harry met Meghan and was bowled over. He was talking about marriage within just a few months, and William, as a concerned older brother, questioned whether it might all be happening too quickly.
It was a reasonable question and one that a loving brother was right to ask. Their parents had rushed into their disastrous marriage within a year of meeting and scarcely knew one another when walking up the aisle.
But Harry, head over heels in love, and ever impulsive, wasn’t thinking rationally. He took his brother’s intentions amiss. He assumed that William didn’t like or approve of Meghan and that was that.
William wasn’t the only one who wondered whether Harry was moving too quickly. Close friends expressed their concern too and they too were eased out of favour.
But was this enough to make Harry and Meghan feel compelled to leave the country and turn their backs on Britain? I don’t think so.
I think there is an element of history repeating itself.
When their mother became Princess of Wales nearly 40 years ago, aged just 20, she seemed the perfect wife for Prince Charles. She was an aristocrat, her father had worked for the Queen and before her father inherited the stately pile and the earldom, they had lived on the Sandringham estate.