Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult is out this week, and he’s doing some interviews, here and there, to promote it. It is STILL hilarious to me that royal commentators were amplifying Lacey’s book when they thought it would be another smear job on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Once the Daily Mail excerpted all of the stuff about William and Kate’s decade-long courtship, all of that amplification grinded to a halt. It also doesn’t help that Lacey seems to be spelling out, in no uncertain terms, that Prince William has deep anger issues. In a new interview, Lacey was asked whether the problems between Harry and William started with Meghan’s arrival. His answer was…interesting:
Susanna asked: “The turmoil that is going on between these two brothers is very disruptive. Is it something that started with Meghan marrying Harry and finding out she was very unhappy within the Royal family, or did it begin before that?”
Robert replied: “No, it went way back, and what’s what the book is about. It goes right back to the beginning, it’s chickens coming home to roost from all the trouble of the 80s and 90s. These young boys are the product of that marital turmoil, and they took two opposite lessons from it. William took the lesson of duty, as he went through these difficult times, the prospect that he was going to be King was inspiration and strength for him. So when he fell in love he politely asked his girlfriend to wait nine or ten years before they got married so he could make sure she was up to the job. That’s his priority and they have created a wonderful figurehead for the future. ”
He added: “Harry took the opposite conclusion from the turmoil of his parents’ loveless arranged marriage. He was going to go for love, so we are looking at a clash between these eternal principles of love versus duty.”
As we could see from the excerpts, it wasn’t like William actually politely asked Kate to wait(y) for a decade. Lacey even detailed a few of their breakups, and William’s infidelities, and William’s attempts to date aristocratic girls in his group. He ended up marrying Kate because she always took him back, no matter what. Because she waited him out and gave him no other options. This argument about “William was testing Kate’s queenly abilities for a decade” is merely an after-the-fact contrivance to explain why Will and Kate’s relationship was so strikingly without passion. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s relationship always reads as a complete fairytale of love at first sight, lightning in a bottle.
But sure, Lacey isn’t wrong about the broad strokes – Harry took different lessons from his parents’ marriage than William. William was determined to NOT marry someone who was anything like his mother (idealistic, naive, charismatic), and someone who would not overshadow him, like Diana overshadowed Charles.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Backgrid.