Inside Prince Harry's Attempts To Resolve Tensions With Prince William

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 to accompany his brother in the dedication of Princess Diana's statue in July 2021, and he reunited with William once more upon Queen Elizabeth's death in September 2022. These interactions, and others, give us insight into where things stand.

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 can be difficult to interpret the ins and outs of Prince William and Prince Harry's relationship, so what is there left to do other than comb through social media for clues? As noted by Insider, things between Harry and William appeared be getting a bit better for a time — and that conclusion was 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 seemed 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 said Harry tried to 'engage' with his brother in July 2021

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 a 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 were 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, Duchess of Sussex, 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 were 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, 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. 

Princess Diana's biographer had things 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 likely to spend a decent amount of his life as king, whereas 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 didn't 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 had 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. "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, and Harry headed back to the United States on July 3 — not exactly a long vacation. According to Nicholl, the relationship with William was still recovering from the "breakdown of trust."

A 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 trip to the United Kingdom. 

"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." While it was difficult to tell just how right — or wrong — this belief was at the time, later events seem to show that Pearce's perspective was wishful thinking.

Harry's relationship with other royal family members looked hopeful

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 looked as if tensions between Harry, Meghan, and some royal family members were 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 on his 20th birthday. That isn't the only indication that efforts on Harry's part had worked to a degree. 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.

Despite any progress made with William, Harry still chose to stay at a 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 tried to mend the gap between him and his brother, but the saying goes: you can 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 maintained that his relationship with the queen weathered the storm. He told Oprah Winfrey that he has a "deep respect" for her (via Elle), which she clearly felt given her desire to meet up with him.

Prince Harry and Prince William kept their distance in the U.K. before tragedy struck

All eyes were on Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, when they traveled to the United Kingdom in early September 2022. As noted by E! News, the high profile couple was in the U.K. to attend the WellChild Awards in London, and it was clear from the distance kept from the royal family that the ostracized pair had little to no intention of interacting with the firm or its members. However, tragedy struck on September 8, as Queen Elizabeth's health steadily declined. Just a few hours after it was announced that she was to be placed under medical supervision, Queen Elizabeth's death — at the age of 96 and more than 70 years on the throne — was confirmed.

As many would have predicted given the familial tragedy, members of the royal family rushed to be by the queen's side amid her final moments. While Prince Harry made his way to Balmoral, Scotland — where the queen was residing at the time of her death — to be with his family members, even tragedy couldn't bring the fractured relationships closer together. Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight that Meghan was not invited to travel to Balmoral alongside her husband to mourn the queen's death with the royal family. Talk about a snub at the worst possible time. 

The king told Prince William about the queen's death 'some time' before telling Harry

While tragedy has a habit of bringing people together — even if they're at complete odds with one another — Queen Elizabeth's death was not enough to heal the rift between Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, as well as with other members of the royal family. In fact, it was reported that Harry, Duke of Sussex, was only informed of the queen's death by King Charles III five minutes before the public found out, The Daily Beast reported. Furthermore, royal correspondent Victoria Ward told The Telegraph that amid this news, any sign of reconciliation between Harry and William was just for show and that trust between the parties was at an all-time low (via The Daily Beast).

Ward further noted that Prime Minister Liz Truss knew about the queen's death more than two hours before Harry was told. To add even more insult to injury, it was "some time after Prince William" that the sons' father called Harry to convey the news. Harry was finally brought up to speed at about 6:25 p.m. BST, and the official announcement of the queen's death was made at 6:30 p.m. Harry, famously, did not make it to Balmoral in time to say goodbye to his grandmother.

The brothers reunited in grief and gave the public their first joint-appearance in years

To say that the death of Queen Elizabeth II rocked the world is an understatement. While many weren't entirely shocked by her passing — the late monarch had been dealing with health and mobility issues — the end of her life and reign marked the truncation of a significant portion of royal history. As such, Operation London Bridge was set in motion, and members of the royal family attended many public events to signify her life and mourn alongside the Commonwealth.

In a shocking move, however, Prince William and Prince Harry reunited in public, joining their wives — Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, respectively — for a walkabout at Windsor. As noted by the BBC, the two couples spent about 40 minutes outside, taking in the countless flowers and mementos left for the queen as well as making time to talk to the public. It was certainly a sight to see, given the ice-cold tension that has plagued the "fab four" for years.

The reunion, however, may not have been as seamless as it appeared to those watching. As noted by the Daily Mail, King Charles III "ordered" his two sons to put their differences aside, and as such, William invited Harry and Meghan to the Windsor walk about as an "11th-hour olive branch." Given the stark difference in body language present between the two couples as well — William and Catherine kept their distance from each other, whereas Harry and Meghan held hands — it was clear that tension and strife were intertwined throughout the public reunion.

William, Harry, and their wives were said to get together behind closed doors

Even amid the devastating aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death, Prince William and Prince Harry's royal rift has been maintained. As Omid Scobie, the royal editor for Yahoo! News noted in his column, the brothers are at a stalemate — William is seeking an apology from his younger brother, while Harry is waiting for the heir to the throne to take accountability. Still, the two brothers were able to put their differences aside for an evening during the official mourning period observed after the queen's death. As noted by Page Six, they even joined each other for dinner.

After the queen's coffin was received at Buckingham Palace (before the official state funeral), William and Harry, along with Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had an "intimate" dinner at the palace. All four royals were likely looking to end a rather emotional day in the comfort of family, as they were seen looking "somber" at the queen's reception. While we don't know how the dinner went, what conversations were exchanged, and if any meaningful progress was made in the brothers' relationship, we certainly wish we could've been a fly on the wall.

Harry and Meghan joined forces to get through the funeral week

With all eyes watching the members of the royal family throughout Queen Elizabeth II's many memorial events, eagle-eyed fans couldn't help but notice the subtle ways Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, supported one another non-verbally. When it came to the royal funeral service, the California-based pair took things a step further and presented a united front — understandable, given the intense scrutiny they seem to receive every time they visit the United Kingdom. Of their body language and how it related to the Prince and Princess of Wales, who were also in attendance, of course, body language expert Judi James revealed to Express that the couple was steadfast, despite the pressure.

"This was a much more confident-looking appearance from Meghan who, although she was standing behind Kate by the coffin during the service, was actually separated from her sister-in-law by quite a large spatial gap," James commented. "Meghan adopted a caring-looking part smile of empathy and sympathy behind her. Given Harry's wince of pain and the moment he covered his face with his hand, it must have been difficult for her to stand at a formal distance without being able to comfort him." James further noted that as they were permitted to move, Harry and Meghan "both stretch out an arm to clasp hands," presenting a "united front" amid the royal wandering eyes.

Digs from the royals may have severed things between the brothers for good

An intimate dinner, a Windsor walkabout, and reunions that no one saw coming — so are Prince Harry and Prince William finally healing the rift between them? Not likely. While the brothers put their differences aside while mourning the queen, the royal family made notable digs at Harry during his prolonged stay, with some fearing that the rift between Diana Spencer's sons is worse than ever.

For example, drama encapsulated Harry's military uniform. While King Charles III granted him permission to don his uniform during the grandchildren's vigil, it should be noted that as a non-working royal, Harry is technically not allowed to wear his military uniform, despite having served two tours in Afghanistan. Although being granted permission by the king, there was a notable absence from his dress. As noted by iNews, the queen's "ER" initials were removed from Harry's shoulders, leaving him "heartbroken." In another turn of events, William and Harry were seated quite a ways from each other at Queen Elizabeth's state funeral, leaving some to wonder if the rift between them was ever-increasing.

And while William's children have been formally retitled as the princes and princess of Wales, along with their parents, Harry and Meghan's children, Archie and Lilibet, have not received the monikers they are entitled to as of publication. With Harry's looming memoir and the royal drama dialed to 100, a lasting reunion is unlikely.