“The Heir and the Reserve”: How Duty, Love, and Lineage Broke William and Harry


TORONTO – The seemingly fractured relationship between the royal brothers, Prince William and Prince Harry, may have been built into their lineage, according to a prominent British biographer. In an interview to air Nov. 21 on CTV’s Pop Life show, Robert Lacey, author of “Battle of Brothers,” outlined a long history of sibling rivalry within the royal family.

Some have suggested that the ‘heir and free’ way of thinking – that William was prepared to be king and that Harry played the second fiddle – affected the way they were brought up and even Harry’s eventual divergence from family. Relations between Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret and between Princes Andrew and Prince Charles were also strained.

“Harry is actually the third spare that this has happened to. All the spare parts from the Queen’s reign have come in mourning, ”Lacey said. “They start off as costars.”

Lacey said the “rather cruel stereotype” of birth order in the royal family was a “major factor” in the brothers’ relationship, the consequences of which may have played a role in apparent feuds in recent years, namely that Harry stepped away from royal duties of moving to North America with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. In an interview in 2019 before the major announcement of his withdrawal, Prince Harry raised rumors of a feud between the brothers, saying:

“We will always be brothers. We’re definitely on different paths at the moment, but I’ll always be there for him and as I know he’ll always be there for me. William never publicly reciprocated the olive branch, said Lacey.

For royal watchers like Lacey, who is a historical consultant on Netflix series The Crown, the bifurcation of the brothers ‘lives began at a young age and was forged by the dissolution of their parents’ marriage and the death of the mother, a detailed timeline in Lacey’s book, which was published in October. Lacey recounted a scene in which four-year-old Harry told his nanny he didn’t need to ‘behave, because he wasn’t going to be king like his six-year-old brother William. , which time was already getting more serious, preparing its royal destiny.

“I would go so far as to say that the knowledge that he was to become king forced William through all the trials and tribulations of his parents’ marriage breakdown, let alone the death of his mother,” Lacey said. .

“For Harry, he took a different lesson from what had gone wrong. Love is what matters to him. And so we have this classic clash that dates back to 1936 in the British monarchy – a clash between love and duty. And just like in 36, the abdication of Edward VIII, the earned duty, love was exiled. The same has happened now.

Earlier this year, Harry and Meghan moved to Canada and later to California, where they have a content deal with Netflix and where they plan to spend most of their time. As at other eras in the history of the royal family, recent turmoil has led many to wonder: will the monarchy survive this? Lacey is certain it will, although it is unclear how the public will respond to a possible King Charles III and a Queen Camilla.

“The royal family will come back,” he said. “Canadians need to speak for themselves, but I am sure that as long as Elizabeth remains Queen, people’s loyalty to the monarchy will remain.


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