Queen Elizabeth death: Grim truth about William, Harry feud

Last weekend, when a black Audi pulled up at the top of Windsor Castle’s Long Walk, a scene unfolded that was previously totally and utterly unthinkable: William and Kate, Prince

and Princess of Wales (I’m still not used to typing that) and Harry and Meghan, the Duke

and Duchess of Sussex.

together In public. Walking side by side.

It was an extraordinary and unexpected moment, and before the car doors were even fully shut, it seemed like there was a lot of breathless speculation about reconciliation, of healing and olive branches and a grab bag of other cliches.

However, a week on and the real picture is starting to come into sharper focus. If there are any optimistic souls left out there, eternally hopeful that the brothers’ arctic froideur might have started to melt as they came together to honor their grandmother, then click away from this story right now.

The reality, according to reporting out of London over the last 24 hours, would suggest that any sort of happily-ever-after scenario is truly off the table.

Take that walkabout last weekend, which came about after the Prince of Wales extended an eleventh-hour invitation for the Sussexes to come along too. The image was a potent one, of two brothers coming together during a moment of grief, but don’t mistake that for any sort of larger shift.

“The joint appearances take effort,” a friend of the brothers’ has told the Times‘royal editor Roya Nikkhah.

“There was an understanding that ‘we need to show solidarity’, not just ‘we need to do this because it’s our duty’. But I don’t think it goes much beyond that. There have been some awkward moments this week. I definitely don’t get the sense of any deeper meaningful rapprochement or a sense that this is it, things will be mended.”

Meanwhile, a source close to Harry told the Times that while “everybody is trying their best,” being together has been “uncomfortable” and “difficult” for the king’s sons.

Hardly a huge surprise there, right?

Likely not helping this is how energetically it seems to have been put about the place that the Wales/Sussex walkabout was wholly William’s handiwork in what looked like a concerted effort to score a PR win as the bigger man and family peacemaker.

Supposedly time heals all wounds, but no one has told that to the various branches of the House of Windsor.

It was only a short 18 months ago that Harry and Meghan were busy detonating their explosive claims of Palace racism and cruelty, while TV titan Oprah Winfrey, slack-jawed, contributed an occasional, incredible “waaaa….”

Us too Oprah, us too.

Harry and Meghan have doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on their anti-Firm efforts in numerous interviews since then, with the duchess only a few weeks ago telling The Cut, “just by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy”. (That line has not aged well, has it?)

For their part, Buckingham Palace has maintained its rigid stance of not commenting and wholly failed to meaningfully address the couple’s highly blistering claims.

With all of those accusations ringing in the royal family’s ears, is it any wonder that hugs don’t sound like they are being handed out willy nilly in between warm mugs of hot chocolate?

A source close to the Waleses’ has told the telegraph: “They feel that Oprah crossed a line and that someone should acknowledge the motives behind it and the pain it caused. They feel they’ve had to be steely to send a message that you cannot just say this hugely upsetting stuff without there being consequences.”

While the two couples have seen more of each other over the last ten days than in years, and are united in wanting to put on a good show to keep the focus on their beloved “Grannie”, all that proximity has not, by all accounts , translated into any deep and meaningful conversations.

“It’s really hard to spend time with someone, or even to speak openly, when you know they’re writing a book about you and giving interviews. The trust is gone right now,” an insider has told the Telegraph.

And here’s where we get to the crux of things, not just what Harry and Meghan have said, but what they might say yet, especially as commercial pressures may start to stack up.

Insert some ominous music here.

There is “intense” concern inside the royal family, according to the Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes, about exactly what Harry might be preparing to reveal about King Charles right as he begins his reign, and that while brickbats from the duchess can be easily dealt with, an attack from the duke would be much more dangerous.

A friend of both brothers has told the Times: “We know there are other things that will come out in the future that will be very damaging”.

According to Nikkhah, “the fear in royal circles is that their interview with Winfrey may prove to be the appetiser for a meatier main course of more revelations in Harry’s book”, however, a Sussex source told her that the autobiography will be “not as vilifying” as we might expect.

But even a less “vilifying” tell-all is still quite the sword of Damocles to be hanging over this already surely emotional period for everyone involved.

The chaotic, separate dashes made by Wlliam and Harry to Scotland to try and see their grandmother before she passed away, and the solitary, lonely figure of Harry making his way back to London the next day, not so much spoke as hollered volumes as how on the outs he is with his family.

While the Sussexes have seen their popularity tank in the UK since they set off the IED of Megxit, it must be noted that they have very clearly been on their best behaviour. The publication of Harry’s memoir has reportedly been delayed until next year and Meghan’s appearance on the cover of industry bible Variety has been shelved, along with appearances at a Variety event and on the tonight show with Jimmy Fallon.

Consider too the schmozzle over whether he would or would not be allowed to wear a uniform when the duke stood vigil alongside his cousins ​​around Her Majesty’s coffin. According to the telegraphthe couple “chose not to make a fuss” over the initial ruling he would not be given permission to, only for cooler heads inside the Palace to prevail and Charles stepping in to permit Harry to don his Blues and Royals clobber.

(Still, Harry was ‘devastated’ to find, when he received his uniform from Buckingham Palace that afternoon, that his grandmother’s “ER” initials had been stripped from the shoulder,” the Times has reported).

At the end of the day, where do things stand? Same, same seems to be the general consensus.

“Nothing has really changed. The expectation is that once the mourning period is up, Harry and Meghan will go back to California, he will publish his book, and the family here will be left to pick up the pieces,” a family friend of the brothers has told the beast

However, there is one green shoot among all of this. Thursday was Harry’s birthday, the second time in his life his day has been overshadowed by grief and loss. (He turned 13 less than two weeks after Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral). the Times has revealed that William was heading home to Adelaide Cottage after having done the afternoon pick up when his car met the Sussexes’ on the road and “the brothers drove past each other but then stopped, reversed, wound down their windows and chatted for a while ”.

And there you have it: A “chat”.

It’s not much, but hey, it’s something. Bet Her Majesty would have been pleased.

Daniela Elser is a writer and a royal expert with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

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