The Queen felt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were “erratic and impulsive” in making their departure from the Royal family, a new book has claimed.
And William was so infuriated by his brother’s behaviour he refused to dine with Harry alone before a summit with their grandmother at the height of the imbroglio surrounding the Sussexes’ decision to step down.
The claims are contained in Battle of Brothers, by noted royal biographer Robert Lacey, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail and purports to expose the depth of the Royal Family’s anger over Harry and Meghan’s decision.
The book says when the Queen called the two brothers together for January’s so-called Sandringham Summit, William refused to have lunch with Harry beforehand, leaving his younger sibling to dine with the Queen alone.
“William maintained his distance for the Sandringham summit. The Queen had suggested the family should gather for lunch before their big pow-wow in the library that afternoon, but he refused his grandmother’s invitation,” the book says, citing friends of William as saying he felt he would be unable to “endure the hypocrisy of smiling at him over lunch”.
The book also alleges:
– the Royal Family were “hopping mad” over Harry and Meghan’s trademarking of Sussex Royal products and services, which was viewed as a “commercialising of the crown”;
– the Queen, Charles and William were not consulted over the multiple legal actions taken by the couple against the media;
– a “powerful constituency” within the family felt Meghan’s interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby during last year’s tour of Africa, in which she bemoaned her life, showed a “bizarre tone deafness” and was “miserably self-indulgent”.
The book quotes a senior palace source as saying negotiating with the couple over the terms of their exit from royal life was like dealing with “a hard-nosed Hollywood lawyer”, with the Sussexes demanding guarantees on “every single point”.
It also says Harry saw the release of a four-generational photo early this year – of the Queen with Charles, William and George – as a reminder from William and the rest of the family about his place in the order of succession.
And it says the ill feeling grew so intense the Queen herself decided not to include a photo of the Sussexes on her desk for last year’s Christmas address.
“There were some matters on which Elizabeth II would not compromise – and chief among them was the authority of the crown,” Mr Lacey writes.
“The Sussex family had been ‘non-personed’ as effectively as the Soviets non-personed Trotsky and Khrushchev – another charming custom, of course, that had been developed by the Kremlin.”
The book also says William felt he had “put my arm around my brother all our lives” but that the two had now become “separate entities”.
The inference drawn was that William could not, or would not, deal with his brother as a separate entity, and that his lifelong care for Harry had been based on an element of control which had now “surely vanished”.