Prince Charles and Prince William’s relationship is the subject of much chatter suddenly. Just hours after KensingtonRoyal shared a candid photo of the father and son in celebration of Father’s Day, there were tons of stories about how Charles and William have repaired their relationship over the years. Certainly, the two look chummy in the photo, taken last December by Kate Middleton.
Their relationship hasn’t always been the best. There was a noticeable strain after Charles and Diana’s divorce. William was 14 years old at the time. He and his mother shared a close bond, and she confided a lot in her son. Charles, in turn, said he felt Diana had “poisoned” his sons against him.
Charles would later feel slighted by both his sons. He wasn’t happy with what was said by William and Harry surrounding the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. The boys recalled the pain they felt with her loss, and it was very poignant coming from the now-grown men.
“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” Harry told Newsweek.
“I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
Harry made another comment that was possibly significant to the decisions he has made since. First, he spoke of Diana’s influence on him during the time when he realized he needed to change the direction of his life.
“My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live,” he noted.
“I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too.”
After a beat, he added, “Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
The comment is fascinating because, in one interview, Harry is critical of how the royal family, and Charles in particular, allowed his child self to be treated. He’s also careful to note that no matter what life threw at him, he would never abandon the ideals learned from his mother, even if he were king. During that same time in 2017, rumors had resurfaced about William not wanting to be king, which puts a little more weight to Harry’s words.
In 2018, all of the focus in the royal family shifted to Harry and Meghan. Honestly, the couple handled it well. The public took to them right away, and their value as royals became quickly apparent. The Queen and Charles saw their potential, even if it was to offset attention elsewhere in the family. William, who came around to the idea of being king as he got deeper into his role as a father, may have felt their power as a couple to be a threat to him and Kate.
“Since getting married and becoming a father I think William and his father are very much on the same page,” a source told Katie Nicholl.
“There’s a sense of duty that runs through them both and unites them and as far as their relationship is concerned, they’ve crossed a bridge.”
Harry wouldn’t have been the first brother in history to step up if his older brother wasn’t suited to the royal life. Such was the story of Queen Elizabeth’s father, George VI. Harry would, however, keep true to everything he learned from Diana and from the values she instilled in him, much of which is not in line with what the royal family stands for in its current state.
Harry and William once charged ahead, determined to change an institution that treated them badly. When William reportedly utilized that institution to his benefit, namely in alleged involvement in leaked stories about Harry and Meghan that added to them being terrorized by tabloids, Harry saw they would turn on him in a heartbeat.
That aligned him that much more with Diana’s beliefs, compounded by his own experiences. Harry chose what he wanted for his family, while William went along with what was planned, even if Harry knew it wasn’t necessarily what was in his heart.
In breaking with ideas that the royal family deems too progressive, such as those of Harry and Meghan, William has proved loyalty to the Firm. It’s not gone unnoticed, which has strengthened his bond with Charles.
“I think there was a time when Charles worried about William and whether he was ready for the role that lay ahead, but these days he has full confidence in William and sees that he has what it takes to be a great Prince of Wales and a future king,” another source noted.
With renewed confidence in William, Harry appears to be left to fend for himself and Meghan. Now that Harry has moved on, William, who may be reluctantly stepping up to what’s ahead of him, wants recognition for sticking with the plan. He’s getting that in his ability to step forward, with rumors that his regency could happen any moment. William finally has some palpable power.
That said, he’s still got a way to go until the throne is his. Many complicated issues lie ahead, ones that many feel the royal family has not historically handled well. As an institution spanning centuries, progressive thought isn’t in their wheelhouse. William and Kate, the young faces of the monarchy, are tasked with bridging that gap. It doesn’t appear to come naturally to them.
Many believe that William and Charles are united by the fact that they will both be in such a unique position, neither knowing when that shift might come. It will be interesting to see how they handle that shift, especially considering public sentiment surrounding Charles being king has never been particularly favorable. William and Charles have to work together to keep the monarchy alive long enough to see both of them rule. In today’s day and age, that’s no easy feat and one that’s bound to cause the occasional conflict.
Harry taking the road less traveled still has not come at the immense price many thought it would. He hasn’t lost public favor, his relationships with the family are reportedly as good as they can be under the circumstances, and his family appears stronger than ever. Harry may not have a title to put to his particular brand of charisma, but to some, it may mean more than any crown William or Charles ever wear.