'What family isn't struggling?': Archbishop speaks out on William and Harry 'rift'

·4-min read
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (left) with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) as they attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, left, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, right, in 2018. (PA)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has weighed in on the reportedly strained relationship between the dukes of Sussex and Cambridge, saying only those with "perfect" families are "entitled to judge".

Harry and William are believed to have had a rocky relationship in recent years, becoming increasingly distant in both their personal and professional lives.

In 2019, it was announced that the offices of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be splitting – in the first sign of the rift becoming public.

Since then, the two brothers are rumoured to barely speak to one another, and Harry has since set up a new life away from the UK in California with Meghan and their two children.

Read more: Omid Scobie - Thomas Markle turned on his own daughter - Meghan owes him nothing

Justin Welby spoke with ITV. (ITV)
The Archbishop of Canterbury made the comments during an interview with ITV. (ITV)

Speaking to ITV News, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said of the divide: "Of course, it's sad when families are struggling, but what family, isn't?”

“Jesus says, anyone who's never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there's any family where the relationships are perfect, they're entitled to judge, but I'm not going to.”

Harry and William have spoken little of their relationship in public, although Harry has repeatedly alluded to their strained relationship.

In 2019, shortly before he and Meghan left the UK to live in the US, Harry said that he and William were on "different paths", although stressed he loved his brother "dearly".

Harry said in an interview: "Stuff happens, but we are brothers. We will always be brothers. We are certainly on different paths at the moment. But I will always be there for him, as I know he will always be there for me."

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales. (PA)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips follow the hearse, a specially modified Land Rover, during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, on the grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Harry and William, separated by their cousin Peter Phillips, walked behind the hearse at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. (Reuters)

He repeated the claim again in a 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying: "As I've said before, I love William to bits.

"He's my brother. We've been through hell together. I mean, we have a shared experience. But we're on different paths."

It was reported tensions between the pair were further escalated by the interview, in which Harry also claimed William and their father, the Prince of Wales, were "trapped" in the firm.

He said: “My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.”

Despite any apparent tensions, Harry and William have been seen in public a number of times together since Harry's move across the pond.

Watch: Archbishop Welby on Queen's Jubilee celebrations

They unveiled a statue of their late mother in July 2021 to mark what would have been her 60th birthday.

And the two walked behind the coffin of their grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh, and were seen chatting in what was hoped to be a reconciliation.

Yahoo News UK's Royal Executive Editor Omid Scobie has previously said their relationship has not improved in recent years, and that they share "very little communication".

Scobie told journalists at a Foreign Press Association event: "What I've been told by sources is that things haven't changed at all.

"I didn't expect that, because two years ago the feeling amongst those around the brothers [was] that there would slowly be steps forward.

FILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry stand on a balcony to watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The balcony appearance is the centerpiece of almost all royal celebrations in Britain, a chance for the public to catch a glimpse of the family assembled for a grand photo to mark weddings, coronations and jubilees. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured with the Queen and Prince Andrew, to watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace. (PA)

"We, of course, saw that moment with William and Harry at the funeral of Prince Philip where we saw them walking side-by-side, and I think for us all watching we thought that maybe the ice was thawing a little bit, but that's clearly not the case.

"There's still very little communication between the two."

Royal aides are said to be hoping Harry and Meghan will "stick to the script" during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with ITV's Chris Ship reporting that they have agreed with the Royal Family not to hold their own engagements.

Instead they are expected at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, and some of the events over the weekend.

It will mark the first time the Sussexes have been seen in public in the UK since early 2020, when they moved to California to start a new life as private citizens.

Since then they have had a baby girl, Lilibet – named after her great-grandmother the Queen – and Archie, now aged three.

It will mark the first time Lilibet will visit the UK since being born in California, and is expected to meet the Queen for the first time over the weekend.