Last year, the Rose Hanbury-Duchess of Cambridge story was broken by the Sun. The Sun cryptically revealed that there was drama amongst the turnips, that Kate had – seemingly out of nowhere – fallen out with the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Rose Hanbury, and that Kate was trying to “phase out” Rose from their Turnip Toff society. This was the infamous “rural rival” story. Not even a day later, Richard Kay at the Daily Mail had the weirdest “denial” follow-up. It was clear from that piece that Prince William had gone to Kay to shut down the rumors about Rose and then push the bizarre “none of this matters because Kate has never put a foot wrong, UNLIKE MEGHAN” version. Deflection, thy name is Willnot.
I bring this up because the timeline was clear and obvious: something shady about the Cambridges happens, William runs to a “friendly” journalist to deflect and tell “his side” of things. Well, in the wake of SUSSEXIT, William did the same. He even ran to the same journo, Richard Kay. This Daily Mail piece is a textbook example of an abuser’s gaslighting, or at least that’s the way it read to me. You can read the full piece here. The gist of it is that everything is Meghan’s fault, Kate is perfect and all Harry needs to do is dump his black, political wife and marry a doormat and then everything will be fine between the brothers.
It’s all Meghan’s fault: Perhaps it was too much to expect two very different boys with two very different wives to forge a lifelong alliance. And perhaps it is too easy to blame American Meghan for heading off with Harry away from palace life into the sunset. And yet it seems just a moment ago that Harry was as close to Kate as he was to William, a warm-hearted trio delighting the world. The two princes are, of course, hardly the first husbands whose close friendship was split by wives who simply didn’t get on.
Meghan “dominated”: This became clear on one occasion when the ‘fab four’ of William, Kate, Meghan and Harry were on stage promoting their Heads Together mental welfare charity, and the Duchess of Sussex naturally dominated the microphone. Even then, some detected an air of discomfort about William and Kate. Here was a young woman making it plain that her new royal status was something to be used so that her voice could be heard — an unknown philosophy in royal life. At that moment the silent Kate beside her looked almost dull. In truth, all Kate was doing was following a protocol that has kept the royal family in business for generations.
The only thing William did was ask Harry if he was sure about Meghan: Yet there was already a tiny crack in the brotherly relationship. William is understood to have questioned his younger brother about the hastiness of his engagement to the television actress he’d known only for months. He and Kate were together eight years before he put a ring on her finger — a state of affairs which, it must be said, also attracted widespread comment. But William has long been the wiser and more cautious brother. He heeded his mother Princess Diana’s advice to marry a girl he knew well. Ruefully, she explained to him that when she had married his father, Prince Charles, ‘we hardly knew each other’. As usual, William was looking out for his kid brother, just as he always did at school and during the difficult time after Diana’s death. But Harry, besotted with worldly divorcee Meghan, didn’t welcome this guidance, and the brothers’ relationship soured when words were exchanged between Kate and bride-to-be Meghan over the dress Princess Charlotte, now four, would wear as a bridesmaid.
Meghan & Harry are being blamed for their own exile: Even so, palace life might have jogged along well enough had Harry and Meghan not taken the surprising decision to remove themselves from the centre of public life in London and decamp to Windsor. Harry’s greatest dream was about to be realised: Meghan was pregnant.
William trying to emotionally manipulate Harry using their mother: For William, meanwhile, there is profound sadness that he knows his mother would have shared. In Harry he had what he saw as a lifelong ally, a younger brother whose good nature and joviality provided elements of fun at times when he, as heir in line to the throne, had to be dignified. But Harry also provided the kind of unflinching advice on which a future monarch relies. They were always there for each other. It does seem extraordinary now that this mutually supporting togetherness has gone. Both brothers have always needed each other because both are single-minded and stubborn. At one stage, let’s not forget, it was William’s intransigence and grumpiness that was more of a worry in the family than Harry’s youthfully immature behaviour. But thanks to Kate’s calmness and level-headedness, as well as her respect for the Royal Family and her role within it, she has not only diffused any prospect of a William time-bomb, but created the sense of continuity crucial to the health of the monarchy.
Let’s just clear up one or two things before they become part of this asinine false narrative about the Sussexes: William probably did question the suddenness of Harry’s engagement to Meghan, but that’s not THE REASON why the brothers fell out. They fell out because William spent years throwing Harry under the bus, and it got ten times worse after Harry married Meghan. William was the one who wanted them out of England. William was the one pushing negative stories about Meghan and her family to deflect from his rose-trimming and wandering scepter. William’s “blame Meghan for ruining this brotherly love” strategy is stupid, insulting and a giant part of why there’s a SUSSEXIT.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Backgrid.