Bond Broken? A Look At The Current State Of William And Harry’s Brotherhood
It is not uncommon for siblings to experience ups and downs in their relationships and royal brothers William and Harry are no exception. The brothers' relationship has experienced some extreme strain due to the demands of their positions and the challenges they have faced in their personal lives while living in the pressure cooker that is The Institution.
Family relationships can be complex and it is not always possible to know what is happening behind the scenes. Here's what we know about where the famous brothers stand today.
January 2020 And The Royal Exit
On January 8, 2020, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced they were going to step back from their duties as senior members of the royal household.
They left Britain and made a new life in the United States.
According to sources, "Megxit" occurred due to the royal family not giving Harry or Meghan the support and help they required to ward off rumors circulating in the tabloids.
As a result, the two left.
As many would expect, Harry leaving the royal household put a wedge between him and his brother, Prince William, and his sister-in-law, Princess Kate.
Sadly, the distance was already growing even before Harry and Meghan left for The States.
Rumors Were Corrected
While rumors circulated that it was Kate and Meghan who had issues with one another, royal reporter Katie Nicholl interviewed with The Cut, explaining that it was actually the brothers who were feuding.
Starting as far back as 2018, Nicholl said that Prince Harry was upset with Prince William because the older brother wasn't making an effort to include Meghan in the royal family.
A Greater Distance
It was the beginning of the royal drama between the two families, as William and Harry began to keep their distance and not speaking to one another.
Although, they had to keep up appearances.
The Tell-All Interview
March 2021 came, and with it, a tell-all interview between Prince Harry, Meghan, and Oprah Winfrey. In it, Harry discusses how he and his brother were taking time apart and that he needed space.
Needless to say, William wasn't overly pleased that he was discussing family issues with a talk show host.
Prince Harry Goes Back To Britain
It wasn't until the passing of Prince Philip that Harry flew back home to Britain. Even though it was a sad occasion, sources say the brothers found no comfort in one another.
They were hardly speaking.
Princess Diana Statue Unveiling
While the two brothers were cordial during the unveiling of a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, sources said William still harbored ill feelings towards Harry and Meghan.
Royal author and expert Omid Scobie said, "The relationship between Harry and William is still very much one of distance."
Their Relationship Was Not Mending
The royal expert continued, "I don't just mean physical [distance], across the Atlantic, but they are not talking that much, and that is exactly how sources close to William have put it."
Fast forward to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in May of 2022, and nothing seemed to be getting better.
Meghan Didn't Help Matters
While the relationship between William and Harry was rocky at best, Meghan did something the Cambridge family was not fond of: she wrote a memoir, went on a podcast, and did another tell-all interview.
It created an even greater rift between the two families.
Trust Was Lost
According to a source who interviewed with Entertainment Tonight, "They [the royal family] are distressed that after stepping back from the royal family—claiming a need for privacy—she continues to publicize family matters in public."
The royal family, particularly William and Kate, lost all trust in Meghan after the "stunt."
Harry Reveals That William Physically Attacked Him
When Prince Harry announced that he would be releasing a memoir titled The Spare, the royal family didn't quite know what to expect. The book included a previously unmentioned incident where William physically attacked his younger brother in 2019 at Nottingham Cottage, where Harry was living with Meghan.
In the book, Harry writes that his brother grabbed him by the collar and threw him to the floor, where he landed on a dog bowl that broke. Harry said that he was scraped up and bruised from the incident, after which William told him, "I didn't attack you, Harold."
The Incident Happened After William Made Comments About Meghan
Harry recalled that the attack happened after William called Meghan "difficult", "rude", and "abrasive" and Harry accused his brother of taking this sentiment to the press.
According to Harry, after he picked himself off the floor and demanded that his brother leave his home at Nottingham Cottage, William told him, "You don't need to tell Meg about this."
The Passing Of Queen Elizabeth II
Sadly, after over 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8, 2022.
While the world mourned her passing, the royal family came back together, and body language experts had a thing or two to say about how the fab four conducted themselves in public.
Connection Specialist And Body Language Expert Katia Loisel
Connection specialist and body language expert Katia Loisel watched closely as Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince William, and Duchess Meghan interacted in the wake of Her Majesty's passing.
At this point, it was common knowledge of the animosity between the two families.
Walking In Sync
While William reportedly only asked his brother and not his sister-in-law to meet outside the gates of Windsor Castle before walking to meet the public a the Queen's memorial, Loisel says something interesting happened.
Walking down the street, the brothers appeared to be in sync with one another.
The Four Walked Together
Holding Meghan's hand, Harry walked in sync with his brother and Princess Kate, even though he and his wife were a few steps behind the older royals.
Even so, Loisel had something to say about their body language.
They Might Have Been A Bit Uncomfortable
According to Loisel, "When we feel uncomfortable in someone's presence, we tend to distance ourselves, subconsciously orientating our bodies away from them."
"However, we don't see this between the royals."
A United Front
The body language expert continued, stating that "Whilst they are in times distant in proximity, there are several moments of non-verbal synchrony and non-verbal synchrony between the pair, suggesting a united front and a family perhaps brought together by shared grief."
She then went on to explain the differences in body language between the two couples.
The Differences Between The Couples
The public saw as Harry and Meghan walked hand in hand down the street. William and Kate, however, were seen walking next to one another with a bit of distance between the two.
However, there was a reason, according to Loisel.
Kate And William Appeared More Formal
Discussing the two couples, Loisel said, "Rather than being an indication of disconnection, the pair's (William and Kate's) purposeful walk, arms loosely by their sides, reflects the seriousness of the occasion and indicates a couple who is confident in their roles and may notfeel the need to constantly check-in.
Even so, they still showed each other comfort during the emotional day.
Prince William Still Reassured Kate
Loisel continued her assessment of the Prince and Princess, saying, "However, whilst the couple retains a more formal appearance, reflecting their position as royals, they do reconnect, walking in sync, Prince William placing his hand on Kate's back, providing a sense of reassurance."
While William was giving Kate some emotional support, Harry and Meghan showcased their discomfort.
Hand Signals Gave Harry And Meghan's Discomfort Away
While Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan walked toward the memorial, Loisel noticed numerous hand signals and manipulators that gave away the discomfort the two felt.
Amazingly, the Prince and Duchess might not have been aware they were even moving their hands.
Prince Harry Was A Bit Fidgety
According to Loisel, Prince Harry was seen moving around quite a bit. He'd touch his face, lower his head, and even move to touch his belt, tie, and jacket.
Loisel went more in-depth on the movements.
Discussing Prince Harry
Discussing Prince Harry's movements, Loisel said, "we see Prince Harry with his head lowered, holding on to his belt, then quickly touching his face, jacket, and tie before placing his hand across his body, his right hand holding on to the lapel of his jacket, providing a sense of reassurance."
Moving around and touching various parts of his outfit gave him comfort.
Prince William's Similar Movements
As it turned out, Prince Harry wasn't the only one fidgeting during the walk to the memorial.
Prince William showed similar discomfort cues during the event, moving around and touching his outfit.
According to Loisel, "Whilst less frequent and apparent than with Prince Harry, Prince William also shows signs of discomfort, adopting a partial arm barrier, his left hand adjusting the buttons and lapel of his jacket in unison with Prince Harry."
Even though he is next in line for the throne, Prince William even felt emotional discomfort.
Duchess Meghan Was Feeling Vulnerable
The two Princes weren't the only ones feeling discomfort on the day.
According to Loisel, Duchess Meghan had numerous cues showcasing her unease throughout the day, namely a feeling of vulnerability.
According to Loisel, Duchess Meghan was also having a hard time.
She said, "Meghan's ducked head and turtling of the neck, use of manipulators such as the touching of her hair and her need for closeness, her body pulling in close and falling behind Harry, indicate emotional discomfort and that she may have been feeling vulnerable."
"A Little More Space Whilst Remaining Connected"
Loisel continued in her observation of Meghan and Harry.
She said, "On a couple of occasions, we see Prince Harry's arm extend out as he walks towards the gate with Meghan. This nonverbal distancing reveals a need for a little more space whilst remaining connected.
The First Time The Four Were Seen Being Close
The passing of the Queen was the first time Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince Harry, and Duchess Meghan were seen together in quite some time.
At least, being seen together and offering some support.
Hopefully, Their Relationship Will Grow Stronger
While it is not known if the brothers' relationship is going to take a turn for the better, their body language speaks volumes about how close they once were and where they, perhaps, can be again.
Royal editor Russell Myers spoke to The Sun about their encounter, saying William's attitude during the encounter "speaks volumes."