Prince William refused to eat lunch with Prince Harry ahead of the infamous ‘Sandringham Summit’ because he was so upset at his brother’s decision to quit the royal family, a new book has alleged.
‘Battle of the Brothers’, written by royal biographer Robert Lacey, describes how the senior royals were left ‘hopping mad’ at the actions of Harry and Meghan in the run-up to their move to America earlier this year.
In what’s said to be a sign of how bad relations had become, the Queen left out a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from her mantelpiece when she gave her Christmas speech last year.
This ‘non-personed’ the couple, according to the book, which also alleges William effectively ‘unbrothered’ Harry in the aftermath of the row.
The two once-close brothers have reportedly barely spoken since the beginning of the year, despite their father, Prince Charles, becoming ill with coronavirus in March.
Describing events in the run-up to the summit, where the details of what’s become known as ‘Megxit’ were thrashed out, Mr Lacey says William purposefully ‘maintained his distance’.
In an extract, printed in the Daily Mail, he writes: ‘The Queen had suggested the family should gather for lunch before their big pow-wow in the library that afternoon, but he refused his grandmother’s invitation.
‘He would obviously turn up at 2pm for the meeting, he said, but he only wanted to talk business. The Prince himself has not confirmed his friends’ speculation that he was so furious with his younger brother that he would not be able to endure the hypocrisy of smiling at him over lunch.’
The book is being billed as an antidote to ‘Finding Freedom’, a favourable biography of Harry and Meghan that was published earlier this year.
Mr Lacey has pieced together events based on hours of interviews with royal insiders.
The anger of William and others was compounded, according to the author, by Harry and Meghan’s refusal to consult with the Queen before making major announcements.
Plans to step back as senior royals and sue British newspaper groups were both announced without the Queen’s knowledge.
And Harry only gave his family 10 minutes warning before releasing his resignation on Instagram, the book alleges.
The Queen was also angered by Harry and Meghan’s attempts to trademark the ‘Sussex Royal’ brand and profit from products bearing the title, according to the book.
She stepped in to ban the use of the word ‘royal’ from any of the couple’s future endeavours.
In her Christmas message, the monarch barely mentioned the couple, despite their first son Archie being born a few months earlier, and their picture was shown alongside those of William and Kate’s family.
This was said to be a deliberate ‘slapdown’ of the couple. Mr Lacey writes: ‘There were some matters on which Elizabeth II would not compromise – and chief among them was the authority of the crown.
‘The Sussex family had been “non-personed” as effectively as the Soviets non-personed Trotsky and Khrushchev – another charming custom, of course, that had been developed by the Kremlin.’
The book also revealed royal insiders allegedly saw the interviews Meghan did with ITV while on tour in Africa as ‘miserably self indulgent’.
Speaking to presenter Tom Bradby, she said she was worried about the effect of keeping a stiff upper lip on her mental health. Sources told Mr Lacey this was seen as ‘tone-deaf’.
The couple’s refusal to reveal who their son’s godparents were also showed they had an ‘exaggerated idea of their own importance’, according to the book.
The revelations are likely to further damage relations between the key figures of the royal family. Mr Lacy writes that historians could come to see the fall-out as being as significant as the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, unless steps are taken to repair the damage.
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