Kate and Meghan drive husbands’ comparisons to George VI and Edward

Kate and William talk gigs and festivals on BBC Radio 1

The feud between Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry has long been the subject of speculation and following the release of the latter’s tell-all memoir, intimate details of the brothers’ strained relationship are in the public domain. Harry claimed relations with William had been suffering for years, with the ‘doomed’ dynamic of being the heir and spare dating back to their childhoods. It is not the first time the infamous royal roles have caused tension between brothers, with the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales often compared to their ancestors: King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor, and King George VI, their great-grandfather.

Now, however, a royal author has claimed the Princes’ similarities with the former Kings are largely fuelled by their wives: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Kate, Princess of Wales, who supposedly bear similarities to the royal spouses who came before them.

Andrew Larman, author of the new book The Windsors at War, described both Kate and Meghan as “strong women,” saying they have had a great influence on their husbands in recent years.

Appearing on an episode of the Royally Us podcast last month, he said: “Wallis Simpson and Edward married in the husband of 1937, and what Edward wanted for his advice was an HRH title which the Royal Family absolutely refused under any circumstances. They did not believe that she was entitled to anything.

“She was despised and seen as someone who had caused more damage to the monarchy than anyone since Oliver Cromwell. So essentially, the idea is that she was kept at arm’s length.”

He continued: “There is no doubt whatsoever that the relationship between William and Harry has loads of parallels with that of the Duke of Windsor and George VI. What you can see is both Harry and William are married to very strong women.

“There’s very much a sense that the wives have influenced their thinking, and have influenced their actions towards each other. And it’s exactly the same thing with George VI and the Duke of Windsor; Wallis and Queen Elizabeth were both very strong women as well.”

The tension between the Duke of Windsor and George VI is well-documented, with the brothers primarily butting heads over finances and Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced socialite Edward abdicated the throne to marry.

As historian Andrew Lownie told Express.co.uk: “There were tensions from the beginning over titles — Wallis was not made HRH because no one thought the marriage would last — and finances where David was not completely honest about how much wealth he had accumulated as Prince of Wales.

“By 1936 there was a complete breakdown in trust as now and with the same growing sense of resentment from the brother who had chosen to give up family responsibilities and go into exile.”

Moreover, the relationship between Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, and the Duchess of Windsor endured its own difficulties.

According to Mr Lownie, who penned the 2021 book, Traitor King, the sisters-in-law’s relationship “had always been difficult”.

He said: “Wallis called Elizabeth, Duchess of York ‘Cookie’ or ‘The Witch from Glamis’, Bertie’s wife referred to Wallis as ‘That Woman’.”

The author added that Edward, “like Harry, was very protective of his partner and there were disputes about security and who would pay for it.”

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Since the publication of Spare, the relationship between William and Harry is understood to have worsened.

The Prince of Wales came in for the worst criticism in his brother’s book, which hit shelves in January, with accusations of a physical altercation, unwillingness to wholeheartedly welcome Meghan into the Firm and William, and Kate playing a part in Harry’s controversial Nazi costume.

Harry alleged that William attacked him in a heated row over Meghan, with the Duke of Sussex claiming he fell to the floor and scraped his back on a dog bowl.

Discussing the allegation in January, former BBC royal correspondent noted both Princes’ “protective” natures, particularly when it comes to their wives.

She told GB News Breakfast: “I think we should remember this is one side of the story and so recollections may vary…But it is, ‘he said, she said’…I don’t know if Harry’s telling the truth, it is definitely his truth.

“But again, I think we all see one side of the story and then this spat, this fisticuffs that they had in the kitchen, we really do need to know William’s side of it. Did Harry say something to provoke William to put his hands on Harry?

“They’re both very protective of their wives. William had accused Meghan of being abrasive, difficult and rude. Did Harry then say something about Catherine? I don’t know. It’s all incredibly unsavoury, it is very immature and it clearly isn’t going to help towards the reconciliation, which Harry has suggested he wants.”

She added: “That’s the only positive thing that has come out so far. Harry for the first time has said he does want his family back, not the institution, but his family. It’s a funny way of going about it.”

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