Princes William and Harry leading separate lives may actually be a positive move for the British monarchy.
The siblings stirred headlines on Sunday after they were noticeably distant during church services. Witnesses claimed William, 36, and Harry, 34, didn’t speak to one another outside of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, neither before or after church.
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Harry and his wife, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, have recently left Kensington Palace for Frogmore Cottage, their new home on Queen Elizabeth II’s Windsor estate. The move, which will separate the couple from William and his spouse, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, coincides with the arrival of their firstborn due sometime this spring.
Markle, 37, who is on maternity leave from royal duties, didn’t attend the church services.
The feud between the brothers reportedly started when William expressed concern over how fast Harry and Markle moved in their relationship before tying the knot in May 2018.
The Sunday Times also reported this weekend that Markle and Harry may work abroad, possibly in Africa, while William focuses on becoming the future king of England.
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“I spoke to a contact who’s known the brothers since they were little who says that actually, by living in separate houses, by having separate households, the relationship will probably become a stronger one,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told Fox News.
Nicholl, a royal correspondent for Vanity Fair, recently published “Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss, and Love,” which presents an in-depth look at the couple and how their high-profile romance is forever changing the monarchy. It features interviews with friends close to the couple, those who have worked with Harry, as well as palace aides, among others.
Nicholl said Harry had always planned on developing his own identity within the royal palace, as opposed to solely being recognized as “the spare.”
“I think it was always going to be a case of Harry wanting to branch out on his own when he finally got married, and with Meghan, he found a strong, confident, capable woman,” explained Nicholl. “And so I think the relationship with the brothers… more likely than not, will improve because they with both have more space.”
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Nicholl admitted that “challenges” have impacted the relationship between William and Harry and that there’s no denying “there have been tensions” between the two. Therefore the royal move will benefit everyone — especially Harry.
“Harry will have more freedom, Harry will have the ability to break out on his own,” said Nicholl. “Remember, it’s not easy being the spare. Harry has not had a role carved out and predetermined for him the way that William does as a future king. And so Harry has had to find that role for himself. I think he’s done a remarkable job at doing that and he has always had his brother’s support.”
While William and Harry may not have the same close bond they once shared, especially after losing their mother, Princess Diana of Wales, at such a young age, Nicholl insisted William will always support Harry in his own way.
“William has always been very supportive of Harry,” said Nicholl. “I remember in 2010 we went to South Africa to Lesotho just to see Harry’s charity, Sentebale, and the work that he’s doing out there. He took William with him so that he could show him first-hand the incredible work that he was doing. I remember being very touched by how warm the rapport was between the brothers, but also how proud William was of Harry.”
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“William has remained hugely proud of his younger brother, continued Nicholl. “… Harry has always had his brother’s support, certainly privately… William has always been very vocal about his support for his brother.”
And it looks like the palace is eager for Harry to carve out his own identity.
The Sunday Times reported courtiers have drawn up plans to hand the couple a major international job that could see them moving abroad after the child’s arrival. The report claims Harry’s advisers are working on a “bespoke” role for the royal “rock stars” that will land them most likely in Africa. The surprising gig will combine some work on behalf of the Commonwealth, as well as charity work and a role promoting Britain.
The U.K.-based publication shared the plan has been drawn up by Sir David Manning, the former British ambassador to the U.S. and special adviser on constitutional and international affairs of Harry and his older brother Prince William.
Lord Geidt, Queen Elizabeth’s former private secretary, is also reportedly involved in the discussions. He is chairman of the 93-year-old monarch’s Commonwealth Trust, an organization that champions young global leaders. Harry and Markle serve as president and vice president.
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According to The Sunday Times, the post would give the couple a chance to escape the divisions that have rocked the royal household in recent months while “harnessing” their global appeal for Britain. Harry also has close links to several African countries and has visited the continent since his teens.
In 2006, he helped create Sentebale, an organization that aims to work with young people affected by HIV/AIDS. It was set up to honor his mother, Princess Diana. Since then, Harry has made numerous trips to check on the charity’s work, as well as arrange fundraising events to support it.
“I have this love of Africa that will never disappear,” Prince Harry told ITV in 2016 about his work with Sentebale. “And I hope it carries on with my children as well.”