We may have finally found out the real reason behind the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal exit. According to one royal expert, Prince William’s bullying of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a major influence behind their decision to step away from royal life.
Meghan, 40, and Harry, 37, announced their plans to step back from their roles as senior working members of the royal family in January 2020. The couple explained their royal exit decision during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, telling the talk show host that the royal institution could not “provide” them with the “help” that they needed following the barrage of negative media attention they faced. However, according to royal biographer Andrew Morton, the couple’s decision was also largely influenced by their “souring” relationship with Prince William and Duchess Kate.
In an updated version of his 2018 book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, Morton claims that it wasn’t so much the palace’s treatment of the couple, but the “bullying” behavior of family members like Prince William that led to their royal exit. “Far from abandoning Meghan, the Palace had a team which spent ‘hundreds of hours monitoring social media accounts’ and ‘violent threats were reported to the police,” reads an excerpt of Morton’s book, which was published in The Mirror on Saturday, September 26.
“The Duchess of Cambridge’s coolness towards Meghan, and William’s alleged bullying contributed to a devastating ‘Cain and Abel’ fallout between the brothers,” the royal biographer added. “Harry was the ‘prime mover’ in souring relations between the Sussexes and the Royal Family, but it was Meghan who ‘took the hit.’”
Speculation surrounding Prince William’s “alleged bullying” was first raised in a report published by The Times in January 2020, which claimed that the Duke of Cambridge “wasn’t friendly towards Meghan” and that the couple left because they had had enough of “constantly being told their place.” Harry and William, however, denied the allegations in a rare joint statement at the time.
“Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge,” their statement read, per The Guardian. “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.” This statement was released prior to the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah, however, in which it was revealed that Harry and William’s relationship is “one of space at the moment.” For now, it remains to be seen if this has changed.
For more about Prince Harry and Prince William’s feud, check out historian Robert Lacey’s 2020 book, Battle of Brothers. In this New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, Lacey takes a close look at Harry and William’s relationship throughout the years and considers each moment that led to their eventual estrangement. From the impact of their mother Princess Diana’s tragic death and the pressures of their roles in the royal family (William, the future king vs. Harry, the spare), to the influence their wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have had on their differing paths, Battle of Brothers reveals all the “highs, lows, and discretions” of these brothers’ lives in a way “never offered before.”
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