The truth behind Prince William and Prince Harry's feud

Prince William and Prince Harry forged what seemed like an indelible bond after the untimely (and conspiracy laden) death of their mother, the late Princess Diana, in 1997. According to The Mirror, the princes are sometimes referred to as the "'saviors' of the monarchy," and that's a lot to live up to. Insiders speaking with the outlet claim that the Dukes have grown apart since they each tied the knot, and that William in particular feels like Harry has abandoned him in terms of royal duties.

"Not only would that be hugely damaging to them and their families, it would be potentially catastrophic as we move into the most revealing era for the royals. They are the future of the monarchy, its standing in Britain, throughout the Commonwealth and the world," another source told the tab.

There are a slew of rumors as to what exactly caused the royal rift, and a lot of those rumors revolve around — you guessed it — Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, because despite having a female monarch, the U.K. press and global tabloid media seem preternaturally focused on the ladies of the crown. That said, here are some popular theories as to why Britain's most famous brothers are beefing ... maybe.

Did Prince William tell Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to pump the brakes?

Royal expert Katie Nicholl believes that Prince William questioned the seeming warp speed at which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, then married: The pair dated for less than a year before announcing their engagement to the world and less than two years before they tied the knot. Not surprisingly, Harry allegedly didn't take too well to William's remarks.

"William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly," Nicholl said in the TLC documentary Kate V. Meghan: Princesses At War (via Fox News). "And being close to Harry, you know, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, 'This seems to be moving quickly. Are you sure?' And I think what was meant as well-intended brotherly advice just riled Harry." Nicholl added that "Harry is "hugely protective of Meghan," leading him to take William's questioning personally and as an insult and a criticism of his relationship with the former Suits star. Nicholl opined, "I don't think things have ever been quite right since."

Meghan Markle may have upset Kate Middleton

It wasn't just Prince William's concerns about Meghan Markle that may have hindered his close bond with Prince Harry. Leading up to the royal wedding, Meghan was accused of making Kate Middleton cry, and sparking an argument between Harry and Queen Elizabeth. The Sun alleged that when Meghan was choosing a tiara for her wedding, Queen Elizabeth nixed her first choice. Harry reportedly reacted by yelling, "What Meghan wants, Meghan gets!"

That led to a stern talking-to from the Queen, who asserted her dominance over her fiery, flame-haired grandson. "There was a very heated exchange that prompted the Queen to speak to Harry. She said, 'Meghan cannot have whatever she wants. She gets what tiara she's given by me,'" a source told The Sun. In a separate report from the same outlet, sources said, "The Queen also questioned why Meghan needed a veil for the wedding, given it was to be her second marriage. The message from the Queen was very much Meghan needed to think about how she speaks to staff members and be careful to follow family protocols." 

Meghan reportedly also made Kate cry during a fitting for Princess Charlotte ahead of the wedding, with insiders blaming the incident on not just Meghan's alleged demands, but also Kate's hormones, as she had just given birth to Prince Louis at the time.

Prince Harry wants to be his own man

Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Fox News that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle separating from Prince William and Kate Middleton and moving out of Kensington Palace is actually good for the brothers, as it will allow Harry to go from "the spare" heir to being his own man. "Harry will have more freedom, Harry will have the ability to break out on his own. 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," Nicholl said. "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."

She added that Meghan did play a role in the brothers' distance, but it wasn't her alleged diva antics, as most people think. "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," Nicholl said. "And so I think the relationship with the brothers ... more likely than not, will improve because they with both have more space."

The Sussexes stole the Cambridges' spotlight

A report released in late April 2019 claimed that Prince William wanted Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to do more work with the royal commonwealth, simply to get them the heck out of the palace and away from him. A source told The Sunday Times, "In some ways it would suit William to get his brother out of the country for a few years and Meghan as far away as possible." The insider said this was the main motivation for Meghan and Harry to move to Frogmore Cottage and away from Kensington Palace.

"They sent them down to Frogmore to try to keep them out of the limelight for a bit," a source said. "This is doomed to fail. They are worried that Harry and Meghan are going to establish a totally separate enterprise that nobody can get under control." The source continued, "There are discussions in palace circles about how do we harness Harry and Meghan and this tremendous global attention they get. ... People are telling William, 'Don't worry. Your influence will grow and Harry's will fade.' This is peak Harry."

You know it's bad when the baby gets dragged into it

Royal watchers suspected that the Sussexes were trying to steal the spotlight from the Cambridges when Prince William and Kate Middleton released photos of Prince Louis for his first birthday ... and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle posted photos of a trip they took to Africa for Earth Day. 

Royal author Phil Dampier told The Sun, "It starts to look like Harry and Meghan are in competition and are out to steal Louis' thunder. It isn't like Harry and Meghan didn't know it was Louis's birthday. They have known since he was born last year! It is slightly clumsy news management and will do nothing but add to the narrative that splitting the two households of Cambridge and Sussex will lead to a conflict of interest." Meghan and Harry did, however, leave Prince Louis a sweet Instagram comment for his birthday, writing from their joint @SussexRoyal account (via Town And Country), "Happy Birthday Louis! Sending lots of love from both of us."

Prince William and Prince Harry may have resolved their issues

And now for some good news: The brothers may be getting along after all. Sources told the Daily Mail in late April 2019 that whatever issues Prince William and Prince Harry had had been put behind them, noting that the formal separation of Prince Harry from Kensington Palace, both personally and professionally, helped in their reconciliation. "Finalizing plans on their future paths and roles did make things easier," the source said. "There was no formal process or meetings required. It was never that bad. They worked things out between themselves." The insider added, "They are in regular contact, which is the main thing."

For as much as the media liked to pin Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle against one another, at least one report said it was Kate who healed the chasm between the brothers. The Duchess and Harry have developed a very close bond over the years. A source told The Mirror, "Kate is acutely aware of the importance of William and Harry getting along, not just because of perception but their collective responsibility to the monarchy as a whole. Harry has acted as counsel to his brother throughout William and Kate's more turbulent years, and the three of them had gone on to form the most tremendous partnership."

Prince Harry admitted he and Prince William grew apart

In October 2019, Prince Harry confessed in the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: an African Journey that he and Prince William weren't as close as they once were. "Inevitably stuff happens. But we're brothers, we'll always be brothers," the Duke of Cambridge quipped (via BBC), adding, "We're certainly on different paths at the moment. I'll always be there for him and as I know, he'll always be there for me. We don't see each other as much as we used to, because we're so busy, but I love him dearly." He also seemingly addressed the gossip about their alleged brotherly beef by saying, "The majority of stuff is created out of nothing. ... As brothers, you have good days, you have bad days." 

He did admit, however, that whatever emotional distance between them, there may be more physical distance someday: After a bombshell report in April 2019 suggested that Prince William was scheming to ship Prince Harry and Meghan Markle off to Africa and away from him and Kate Middleton, Harry told ITV he had no immediate plans on moving to the continent anytime soon with his family, though they all did love it there. He said specifically of South Africa, "It's a very hard place to live when you know what's going on. And then you're sort of, again, slightly disconnected from it."

Prince William is mad at Prince Harry, but also concerned for him and Meghan Markle

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: an African Journey aired in October 2019, Prince William wasn't thrilled. A palace source told the BBC that Prince Harry and Meghan were in a "fragile place" and that Prince William was worried about them and hoped they were okay. However, an insider also claimed that Prince William was livid at how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex seemingly aired dirty laundry in public. 

BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond alleged that the rest of the royals likely weren't thrilled about the ITV interviews, but that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan "clearly felt now was the time that they wanted to clear the air and put their case directly to people." He also pointed out that Prince Harry and Prince William had opposite approaches to the press, with the Duke of Cambridge being warm and inviting towards the media, while Prince Harry was still "furious" over their treatment of his late mother and his wife.

Or maybe Prince William and Prince Harry were just never actually feuding, you guys

Rumors of a royal rift first gained traction when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they would be separating from Kensington Palace and moving to their newly renovated Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which is more private, and handling their business and offices separately from Prince William and Kate Middleton. However, some sources insisted that there was never any bad blood between brothers and that they just wanted some space from one another since they are both grown, married men with growing families.

A source told the Daily Mail, "The truth is that they have both just grown up. They are rare in that they live together and work together, but there has been a stepping back. They are still incredibly close, closer than most siblings, but now Harry has married and is about to become a father, so it's a good time for him to be planning his own future. There is no acrimony." Another source added, "The truth is that there simply isn't enough room at Kensington Palace for them and I know they have been looking at Windsor as a possibility since before the wedding."