William And Harry's Royal Rift Is Rumored To Have Started Long Before Meghan Was In The Picture

In timelines of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's rift with William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales, Harry's relationship with Meghan is often framed as the catalyst for the bad blood between the royal brothers. It's undeniable that the controversial relationship played a huge role in Prince Harry's departure from the royal family. However, the Duke of Sussex is rumored to have had tension with his brother long before Meghan entered the picture.

"Meghan was not the original factor in Prince Harry's decision to get shot of his family," royal biographer Robert Lacey wrote in his book "Battle of Brothers" (per Daily Mail). While Prince William and Prince Harry had some pretty normal childhood issues, drama between the siblings bred a dynamic that set the foundation for their ongoing estrangement. For example, while William had a hand in Harry's Nazi costume scandal behind the scenes, the older brother received no flack from the public. 

"It was the function of the elder brother to be perfect whether he truly was or was not," Lacey said. "And it was the function of the younger one to make the rest of us laugh or complain or feel disapproving – and at all events to make us feel thoroughly superior to the poor clueless kid."

William played a role in Harry's controversial costume

Robert Lacey explained in his book "Battle of Brothers" that Prince Harry's knack for getting in trouble while William, Prince of Wales continued through life unscathed in the media fostered resentment between the siblings when they were younger. An example of this is the Duke of Sussex's Nazi costume scandal. Back in 2005, he was pictured wearing a Nazi uniform to a "Colonials and Natives" themed party, with the photos soon hitting the tabloids.

The insensitive outfit marks one of Prince Harry's most controversial moments but he revealed in his memoir "Spare" that William and Kate Middleton actually played a role in the decision. Accordingly, the military vet called his brother and sister-in-law to help him decide between a British pilot uniform and the infamous Nazi outfit. "'Nazi uniform,' they said," Harry recounted. "I rented it, plus a silly mustache, and went back to the house. I tried it all on. They both howled" (per Today).

Despite Prince William and Kate's behind-the-scenes involvement, Prince Harry was the only one to receive backlash for the Nazi costume. Lacey explains that this discrepancy rubbed Harry the wrong way, writing, "We now know that Prince Harry was drawn to re-evaluate his elder brother's involvement and the unfairness of William's emergence smelling of roses" (per Daily Mail).

Prince Harry confirmed that his brotherly rift was a long time coming

Robert Lacey isn't the only one to point out past tensions between Prince Harry and William, Prince of Wales, as the Duke of Sussex himself has squashed the idea that his marriage was the sole cause of their rift. He revealed the truth about his relationship with Prince William in a "60 Minutes" interview.

"My brother and I love each other. I love him deeply," Harry said. "None of anything that I've written, anything I've included is ever intended to hurt my family. But it does give a full picture of the situation as we were growing up, and also squashes this idea that somehow my wife was the one that destroyed the relationship between these two brothers" (per Variety).

Harry and Meghan's relationship definitely caused tension within the royal family, with Prince William reportedly being wary of the relationship early on. However, the rift between the royal brothers was much more deep-rooted than it initially appeared.