“[When Harry stepped back from his royal duties], it was very difficult for William, and I think that’s partly why this rift hasn’t been resolved, because, you know, William can’t completely forgive Harry for what he’s done,” royal expert Katie Nicholl exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, October 11, while promoting her book The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.
She continued: “It had a huge impact on him, on [Princess] Catherine, on their young family. It put them in that prime sort of center. It moved them center stage far sooner than they would otherwise have been. … I think William had always expected that he would have the support of his brother. And I think it wasn’t just that Harry had chosen to leave and to stand down. I think a lot of it was how he chose to do that and what William saw as great disrespect to the institution and to his, to his family, to his grandmother.”
Harry, 38, and his wife, Meghan Markle, relocated to the United States in March 2020 after announcing they were stepping down as senior members of the royal family. According to Nicholl, the decision had consequences for the Duke of Sussex’ relationship with his grandmother as well.
“I think, ultimately, it did have to be black and white because this was about preserving the reputation and the integrity of the crown and the institution. And so, while Harry and Meghan had hoped there would be a third way for the queen, it was very simple. You are either in or you are out,” she explained.
The William in Love author added that King Charles III, who assumed his rightful place as sovereign after Her Majesty’s death at age 96 on September 9, is hopeful about repairing the family’s relationship with Harry.
“It is Charles’ intention to heal this family rift, to try and to try and work things out, because he knows that this will hang over his reign. There cannot be this discord at the heart of the royal family,” she explained.
The king’s sons came together during the funeral proceedings for their grandmother. “They both agreed to put aside any hard feelings,” a source told Us in September. However, their truce was only temporary, Nicholl says.
“The funeral was an opportunity for a thawing of what had become incredibly icy relationships, certainly between William and Harry. Of course, we saw them on that walkabout in Windsor. But I think any suggestion that there’s been a long term and meaningful reconciliation would be wide of the mark. I think there’s a way to go,” she said.