The bond between the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex started to weaken “over their professional alignments” years before Harry met Meghan, royal author Tina Brown has claimed in her new book. The brothers, she wrote got wrapped up in a rivalry especially when it came to their shared interests in Africa and conservation.
Ms Brown wrote in the upcoming book The Palace Papers: “Friction between the brothers escalated over their professional alignments.
“William knew he had to be respectful of hierarchy when it came to his father’s ownership of the environmental platform, but he was less willing to accede to his brother.”
The Duke of Sussex, she added, felt the second-in-line to the throne was “hogging the best briefs”.
Ms Brown went on to claim Prince Harry wanted to become patron of Tusk Trust, a prestigious conservation charity working across the African continent, a role taken on in 2005 by the Duke of Cambridge.
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Quoting a friend of the brothers, Ms Brown wrote: “I think those were absolutely Olympic rows”.
Conservation is one of the main areas of interest in Prince Harry’s public service.
In 2017, the Duke of Sussex became president of African Parks, a collaboration which continues even after he and his wife stepped down as working royals in the spring of 2020.
The Duke is also a patron of the Rhino Conservation Botswana and has worked with Elephants Without Borders.
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In 2017, he travelled to Botswana with Meghan to assist Dr Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders in fitting the animals with collars to track them and learn more about their migratory patterns.
Both William and Harry inherited their interest in conservation from Prince Philip, who started speaking about the importance of protecting wildlife in the 1960s.
On Earth Day 2021, Prince Harry honoured his late grandfather as he lent his voice to narrate a video for African Parks.
In an accompanying statement, Harry called Philip a “conservation champion”, saying: “On this Earth Day, I reflect on the generations of conservation champions, including my late grandfather, and feel proud and energised to continue doing my part in this legacy.”
Reports of a rift between Prince Harry and Prince William first emerged months following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in May 2018.
In late 2019, Prince Harry himself addressed these rumours while speaking to Tom Bradby.
In an interview aired as part of the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Story, broadcaster Mr Bradby asked Harry whether his bond with his brother had been weakened.
The Duke said “inevitably stuff happens” but they will always be brothers.
He also said: “We are certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him and I know he will always be there for me.
“We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy but I love him dearly.”
Moreover, he said: “The majority of stuff is created out of nothing but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.”
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey alongside Meghan in early 2021, the Duke repeated he and his brother are on “different paths” but he still loves “William to bits”.
In his latest interview with a US broadcaster, Hoda Kotb for NBC’s Today, Harry did not answer when asked to say whether he was missing his brother and father.
Referring to the Invictus Games and his competitors at The Hague, where he was while being interviewed, Harry replied: “Look I mean, for me at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys and these families and giving everything that I can, 120 per cent to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here.
“And when I leave here, I get back and my focus is on my family who I miss massively.”
Ms Kotb said: “You do, I bet.”
To which Harry, clearly referring to his children rather than William and Charles, said: “Of course I do, they are two little people.”