My lord, how many excerpts will People Magazine do of their cover story this week? About a million. One of the latest excerpts is about how sad it is that Prince Harry is not going to stick around to play second fiddle to his better looking brother. I sh-t you not. That’s the narrative being pushed. Which brings me to something I was thinking about regarding this massive People cover story: it wasn’t just Camp Sussex leaking “their side” to People Magazine, although Camp Sussex definitely did that. Camp Cambridge also got involved in the narrative-spinning TO PEOPLE. Which is notable – the Cambridges, it would seem, are worried about how they look outside of the narrow, racist, parochial confines of the British tabloid-media establishment. Thus, we have to hear about how hard it was for Harry because Will was so good-looking, and how hard it is for William because Harry won’t be around to take his cast-off work.
While Prince William is the future king, Prince Harry was expected to play an important — even if supporting — role in the future of the monarchy.
“Courtiers imagined in the future that Harry would be shoulder-to-shoulder with William when he was King,” Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “He would pick up the bits that William wouldn’t be as good for. They would be complimentary and side-by-side throughout their lives. That was a lovely picture. Harry was the secret weapon, really.”
However, a schism between the brothers deepened over the past years. Multiple sources previously told PEOPLE that tensions rose back when Harry first told his family he wanted to marry Meghan Markle after less than a year of dating. An insider says William, who dated college sweetheart Kate Middleton for about eight years before tying the knot, cautioned Harry that things were moving too quickly, leaving the younger sibling angry and hurt. The brothers grew up close, especially leaning on each other in the wake of losing their mother Princess Diana at such an early age. However, Prince Harry dealt with being known as “the spare” to his older sibling from his birth.
“It’s not terribly good for your self-confidence,” says Junor. “He was always compared to William: William was the good-looking one, the important one, the clever one. Harry was the also-ran. I think that did take a toll on him.”
The dream of William and Harry working together despite having their own families and lives proved to be more complex in reality. “When Meghan came around and she was interested in making changes, he welcomed it,” says a friend. And when Archie was born, the couple’s focus shifted even more to “doing what’s right for their family,” adds another friend.
“He was always compared to William: William was the good-looking one, the important one, the clever one. Harry was the also-ran.” Let’s be completely real: there was a time when William WAS the good-looking one. He seemed to take after his mother – tall, with a full head of sun-kissed blonde hair, Diana’s deep blue eyes and the same shy smile. Then the Windsor genes hit William like a ton of bricks and suddenly younger-brother Harry got tall and started wearing bracelets, necklaces and cool clothes. By the time Harry was 20-22, he was very, very cute. By the time William reached his late 20s, Harry was the “hot brother” and William was established as the dull, balding one. Harry served two tours in Afghanistan – William was too lazy to do anything other than “part-time” work as a co-pilot. Will married the only woman who wanted him – Harry married a woman who rocked his world to the core.
The narrative that Harry has always been secretly jealous of William is, frankly, very obvious projection on William’s part, since William has been seething with jealousy about Harry’s popularity, natural charm and hot wife for years. That’s part of the reason why William was part of the smear campaign – Will could NOT stand that Harry and Meghan might naturally overshadow him.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, WENN, Avalon Red and People.