Why Prince William Can’t Forgive Prince Harry—Even if King Charles Can

Arguably the best scene in the otherwise decidedly shark-jumpy new episodes of The Crown, which dropped on Thursday, shows Prince William and Prince Harry passing a vintage 1990s phone back and forth as they talk to their mother. Unbeknownst to them, it is the last time they will speak to Princess Diana.

It was perhaps unfortunate timing, then, that just hours before The Crown debuted, putting the tight bond between the two young royal brothers in such sharp focus, the collapse of that very same bond was back in the news, thanks to a series of explosive revelations in Omid Scobie’s new book, Endgame.

Scobie’s revelations included the details that the sundered relationship is considered “beyond repair” by both sides and that William “doesn’t want to know” his “defector” brother, who he says has become “oh so California” after being “brainwashed by an army of therapists.”

Friends of Prince William were quick to confirm the accuracy of Scobie’s insights to The Daily Beast.

“He absolutely fucking hates him,” one old friend of William’s said, succinctly, when asked about the status of his relationship with Harry.

The why is no mystery to William’s circle and can be simply summed up by one word: betrayal.

“Harry sold his family out to the media for millions of dollars, and William can’t forgive that breach of trust,” the friend said.

William’s resolute determination to have nothing further to do with his brother stands in stark contrast to his father’s determination to try and reconcile with Harry.

Indeed, until the release of incendiary excerpts of Scobie’s new book in People magazine Wednesday, the big story of the week was the first tentative signs of a rapprochement between Harry and his dad. Harry’s camp, it is understood, briefed the BBC that he would be calling his “pa” on his birthday and a further story subsequently appeared in the Daily Telegraph saying that Harry and Meghan and the kids all sang ‘Happy Birthday” to their father on a video call and that another call next week is now being planned.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor Harry’s office responded to queries from The Daily Beast about the alleged birthday phone call, but it is interesting that both sides appear not to be averse to letting it be known that relations are on the mend.

It was certainly a remarkable change of temperature from the news cycle of the week before, which was dominated by Harry furiously denying a report in the Sunday Times that he had turned down an invitation to his dad’s birthday party, pointedly remarking there had been “no contact” from the palace on the issue, and no invitation.

Cynics might argue that it is a reconciliation of convenience, and it would certainly suit both sides. Charles would get to project a grandfatherly image of healing magnanimity while Harry and Meghan’s commercial prospects will look brighter if they and their kids can be photographed alongside the king now and again.

However, a friend of the king told The Daily Beast that there was nothing cynical about Charles’ wish to build bridges with his son, and that he would be “delighted” about the renewal of contact with Harry. But the friend also said they doubted William would be minded to follow his father’s example, saying: “Charles has kept the door open to Harry. He has been very explicit about that, saying he loves him. That’s what parents do. William doesn’t have the same forgiving attitude. That dynamic is not unique in family arguments.”

A second friend of William’s, who used also to be friendly with Harry but has not had contact with him since Harry left the country, told The Daily Beast that there was “zero prospect” of a rapprochement between the two, and that they believed the next time they would meet would be at a family funeral.

“There are some relatives whose deaths would bring Harry and William together under one roof but other than that, realistically it’s probably Charles’ funeral. And if things stay as they are, which is basically mutual loathing, you would have to say William would be unlikely to invite Harry to his coronation.”

“Harry is never going to apologize, at least not while he is married to Meghan, and William is never going to apologize either. So that’s that.”

— Friend of Prince William

Asked for the specific reasons why William has developed a “loathing” of the brother he was once so close to, this friend also cited “betrayal.”

They said: “I think it’s exactly because the bond was so deep that the betrayal has been so wounding. They were the only people who actually knew what each other had been through. How would you feel if your best friend decided to reveal all your personal secrets to the newspapers? Well, multiply that by a thousand.

“Harry is never going to apologize, at least not while he is married to Meghan, and William is never going to apologize either. So that’s that.”

Asked if Scobie’s book was likely to worsen relations, the friend said: “No, but only because you can’t get lower than absolute zero.”

William’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Harry and Meghan have reportedly denied they briefed Scobie for his new book. However, the specificity of some details—Scobie, for example, reported that Harry spent $37,000 to charter a plane in a vain effort to get to the queen’s bedside before she died—make it clear that he has high level sources inside the Sussex camp. Those with good memories will recall also that Meghan denied having co-operated with Scobie’s first book, Finding Freedom, but subsequently conceded to the High Court that her media team did indeed meet and brief Scobie.

Much as The Crown is seen by many, rightly or wrongly, as an emotionally accurate, if specifically fictionalized, interpretation of the history of the royal family, the writings of Omid Scobie are seen, rightly or wrongly, as accurately reflecting broader Sussex thinking.

And whatever dispute there may be about the detail in both accounts, their release within a day of each other is a graphic illustration of what their friends know well: just how far apart Harry and William have grown.

The post Why Prince William Can’t Forgive Prince Harry—Even if King Charles Can appeared first on The Daily Beast.

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