“Their relationship is incredibly intimate,” Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton revealed in the November 2019 edition of Royals Monthly. “Nobody apart from each other knows exactly — not even their father — what’s gone on in their heads and their hearts for the last 20-odd years. They both experienced the loss of their mother. The only people that they could trust to talk about it in a candid way was each of them.”
William and Harry were 15 and 12 years old, respectively, when Diana died in a car accident in 1997.
As time went on, however, the brothers began to distance themselves from each other. Reports of a rift made headlines in 2018 after Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, opted to move away from Nottingham Cottage in London to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, England, which is further away from William and wife Duchess Kate’s home in Kensington Palace. The speculation was fueled in 2019 after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex split their royal charity from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“It was always the case that when Prince Harry married, he would have his own household and his own home. It is traditional that when you marry, you get your own place and have your own household with your own private secretary, equerry [and] other court functionaries,” Morton said. “They’re very, very close … they’re also very competitive — and always have been.”
A source confirmed to Us Weekly that the princes have “grown apart” over the years.
“William still cares about Harry and is hoping that he’ll open up to him about his current struggles,” the source said in October 2019. “William wants to be there for Harry and hates seeing him in such a bad place.”
A month later, another insider told Us that things are “not great” between William and Harry. “They both need to put in the effort to rebuild their relationship,” the insider said in November 2019. “He doesn’t envy the responsibility that comes with being the future king of England, but William’s the ‘golden boy’ and Harry feels like he has a lot to live up to.”
News broke in January 2020 that Harry and Meghan were stepping back from their senior royal duties, a decision that was made permanent in February 2021. The couple opened up about their choice for the first time in March 2021 during a tell-all interview on CBS.
“I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry said. “Trapped within the system like the rest of the family. My father [Prince Charles] and my brother are trapped. They don’t get to leave and I have huge compassion for that.”
In addition to confirming he and William were still struggling, Harry noted that he wasn’t on great terms with his dad.
“There is a lot to work through there,” Harry, who noted his family didn’t denounce the racism directed at Meghan over the years, said. “I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that’s happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try to heal that relationship. But they only know what they know.”
Scroll through for a timeline of their relationship: