New book will explore 'untold reality' of William and Harry's rift

Prince William and Prince Harry’s rift is the most profound conflict between an ‘heir and spare’ for a generation – and the seeds of damage were sown as their parents’ marriage unravelled, explosive new book claims

  • New book is Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – the Friendship and the Feuds
  • Author Robert Lacey was ‘astonished’ and moved to tears by the family conflict
  • Set to be released in October, book also explores ‘heir and the spare’ dynamic

The ‘once unbreakable’ bond between Prince William and Prince Harry has suffered a ‘devastating breakdown’ in the past 18 months – making it the most profound conflict between an heir and spare for a generation, an explosive new book claims.

Biographer Robert Lacey, a historical consultant for Netflix’s The Crown as well as the author of Majesty, a 1977 study of Queen Elizabeth, has penned Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – the Friendship and the Feuds, set to be released in October.

He told how he was ‘astonished’ and ‘sometimes moved to tears’ by the fresh details of the rift that emerged while he was researching the conflict. 

The book explores conflicts that emerge as a result of the heir and the spare dynamic that permeates British aristocracy, and claims that the ‘seeds of damage were sown’ when William and Harry’s parents’ marriage unravelled.

The ‘once unbreakable’ bond between Prince William and Prince Harry has suffered a ‘devastating breakdown’ in the past 18 months, an explosive new book claims. Pictured: Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle at the Commonwealth Day service in London in March

It will also delve into how the relationship between the two brothers has been impacted by their wives – Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, both 38 – and claims to offer more detail on why the Sussexes chose to quit as senior members of the Royal Family and move to Los Angeles with their son Archie, one.

In a press release seen by People, Lacey said: ‘These two brothers – once inseparable and now separated by much more than mere distance – have been acting out the contradictions that go back into their childhoods and even before that: into their parents’ ill-fated marriage.

‘We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family — but nothing so profound as this.’

He added that writing the book was both ‘painful and enthralling’, admitting: ‘I have been astonished and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict. 

The book also explores conflicts that emerge as a result of the ‘heir and the spare’ dynamic that permeates British aristocracy, and claims that the ‘seeds of damage were sown’ when William and Harry’s parents’ marriage unravelled. Pictured: Harry and William as children with their mother Diana at Thorpe Park

Lacey said writing the book was both ‘painful and enthralling’, admitting: ‘I have been astonished and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict.’ Pictured: Prince William And Prince Harry at his military helicopter training course in Shrewsbury

‘It has been both enthralling and painful to trace this drama through the memories of close witnesses and some of the people most intimately involved.’

The book’s synposis tells how Lacey investigates the ‘untold reality’ of the brothers’ relationship. 

Biographer Robert Lacey, a historical consultant for Netflix’s The Crown as well as the author of Majesty, a 1977 study of Queen Elizabeth, has penned Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – the Friendship and the Feuds, set to be released in October

‘Much reported on but little understood, Diana’s boys have lived under constant scrutiny since birth,’ it reads.

‘Raised to be the closest of brothers, the last 18 months has seen a devastating breakdown of their once unbreakable bond.

‘With an unrivalled knowledge of court life and access to impeccable sources, Robert Lacey investigates the untold reality of the brothers’ relationship, explaining what happened when two sons were raised for vastly different futures and showing how the seeds of damage were sown as their parents’ marriage unravelled.’

It is believed the trigger that caused the rift to develop between William and Harry was when the Duke of Cambridge, 38, advised his younger sibling to ‘take things slow’ when he first began dating Meghan Markle in 2017. 

Relations became so sour that they reportedly didn’t talk for weeks after Harry’s wedding, where William was best man. Then Megxit, and the way it was handled, left William and Charles devastated.  

In a documentary last year – Harry & Meghan: An African Journey – the Duke of Sussex, 35, admitted he and William are ‘certainly on different paths at the moment’.

He told ITV’s Tom Bradby: ‘Inevitably stuff happens. But we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers.’

The jacket cover of the book features a photograph taken earlier this year when the ‘Fab Four’ reunited at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, where royal watchers branded their interaction ‘frosty’. 

A source previously told People that the brothers’ relationship is ‘forever changed’ and they ‘won’t get back to the way they were’.

‘Harry is looking straight ahead at his future with his family,’ they added.  

During lockdown, a source told Fabulous Digital that the brothers have been chatting via Zoom.

Relations became so sour that they reportedly didn’t talk for weeks after Harry’s wedding, where William was best man (pictured arriving at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018)

‘William finds Zoom a good, informal way of keeping in touch, and some would say “tabs”, on his younger brother,’ they said, adding that the calls remain private between the two brothers, with a friend close to the pair claiming William is ‘very anxious’ to keep the calls ‘low key and casual’. 

The Mail on Sunday previously revealed that former Welsh Guards officer Mark Dyer has a new role acting as a pivotal go-between in the sensitive business of building bridges between once-close Harry and William, particularly since the younger sibling turned his back on Royal life.

A friend said: ‘Long transatlantic chats between Mark and Harry have started to reap healing dividends between the brothers. His advice to the Prince was “talk and listen”.’

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