Report: 'Sad' Prince William breaks silence on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's plans to 'step back' from royal family

Erin Donnelly

Prince William has reportedly broken his silence about brother Prince Harry’s decision to “step back” from his royal duties.

The Sunday Times in London quotes the oldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana as expressing sadness while speaking to an unnamed friend about the matter. Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle announced on Wednesday that they’d be pursuing “progressive” new roles within the royal family which would allow them to become financially independent and divide their time between the U.K. and North America.

“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” the 37-year-old royal, who is second in line to the British throne, is quoted as saying.

“I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team.”

Prince William has reportedly said he's "sad" about his brother's plans to reduce his royal duties. (Photo: Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Prince William has reportedly said he's "sad" about his brother's plans to reduce his royal duties. (Photo: Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

His statement follows reports that their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, has called an emergency meeting to be held at the Sandringham estate on Monday. She is expected to meet with the brothers and Prince Charles to iron out details for Harry’s transition to his limited role, with Meghan reportedly appearing via video conference.

The Times also reports that Harry and Meghan’s security detail may be reduced as a result of their move, and claims that those supporting the younger prince blame aides to Prince William or Prince Charles for leaking news of his plans, forcing the couple to suddenly make their announcement last week.

While Harry and William have long been thought to be close, in recent months the brothers have been dogged by rumors of a fallout. Harry was asked about the “rift” in an interview with journalist Tom Bradby last fall.

"Part of this role, part of this job, this family, being under the pressure which it's under, inevitably stuff happens,” he said. “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, and as I know he will always be there for me. We don't see each other as much as we used to as we are so busy. But I love him dearly and you know the majority of the stuff is probably — well, the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But as brothers, you have good days and you have bad days."

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