When We Talks

bitchy | Nicholl: Prince William was ‘naive’ to think Harry would always be his ‘wingman’


Katie Nicholl is currently promoting The New Royals, which is why she gave an interview to the Daily Beast’s Royalist column. It’s still funny/stupid that all of these royal biographers are going on the record about how Prince Harry shouldn’t write his story… when they’re all trying and failing to tell one highly selective palace-version of his story. The bulk of this Nicholl interview is, obviously, about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the new Prince and Princess of Wales. Nicholl got her start as Kate’s hagiographer and her sources are still very much in the axis of Middleton Manor and Kensington Palace. Some highlights:

On the Sussexes releasing those Misan Harriman photos: “That picture was very interesting. It was very deliberate. It was a reminder that there is an alternative royal court across the pond, and it’s one that is not going to be silenced or quietened. It was clearly published in response to the picture coming out of the Palace of the “new” fab four—Charles, Camilla, William and Kate—and this is a reminder that there are two other members of the family that still want a place in the spotlight.”

The breakdown in Harry & William’s relationship: “I think what’s at the core of it is a lack of willingness to forgive and a lack of understanding on the part of both princes. In the course of writing the book, I spoke to a wide circle of their friends as well as courtiers and advisers who worked with them in the past, and in some cases still work with them. It is such a complex situation. But when you boil it down, I think it does come down to William not really being able to forgive Harry for turning his back on his duty, and the way he did it. William feels that a lot of what Harry has done has been very disrespectful.”

The Queen was upset about William & Harry’s rift: “This idea of this rift between the brothers on a personal level for her was incredibly upsetting.”

Nicholl thinks the Palace was far too slow to take decisive action on the Sussexes: “It was naive on the part of William and the Palace to assume that Harry would always want to have the support role of being William’s wingman. I knew from the conversations that I’d had with Harry over the years [in her role as royal correspondent] that there was a lot of royal life that frustrated him.”

William isn’t looking to reconcile: “The reason why you didn’t see any real, meaningful reconciliation over the funeral is because William knows that, even if it’s delayed, there will be a book, there will be a Netflix series, and they will inevitably cause controversy and inevitably be damaging for the royal family. Harry has not just turned his back on the monarchy; he has thrown a stick of dynamite into the whole thing. William still can’t quite believe it has happened.”

How Charles feels: “We’ve seen from what [Harry] said in the past that he’s not been afraid of publicly criticizing his father, such as making it public that he had stopped taking his calls. Solving this problem is high up on Charles’ agenda. I am told by sources that he is determined to do everything he can to make the peace. But he’s going to expect loyalty in return.”

What about Lilibet & Archie’s titles: “The truth is we don’t know if Charles has yet decided on the issue of titles. It could be that as part of his vision for a slimmed-down monarchy, the children don’t get the titles. Giving them the titles would be a very generous olive branch because although the Sussexes originally said they didn’t want titles for their children and wanted them raised ordinarily, now it’s very evident that the titles do matter to them. Harry believes that’s what’s owed to them. But I don’t think Charles is going to give the children those titles unless he trusts Harry and Meghan to be respectful to him. Let’s not forget that when they left, they said that they would adhere to the values of the institution. That hasn’t always been the case. I think if the titles are given that message will be very explicitly reinforced.”

[From The Daily Beast]

One thing Nicholl has consistently emphasized is that William and Kate don’t want to make peace with the Sussexes. William and Kate got what they wanted for the most part – they successfully exiled and smeared Harry and Meghan, and they’ve “managed” that crisis in a localized way, meaning that they have the right-wing British media on their side. Nicholl has also pointed out that Charles actually wants to come to some kind of resolution with the Sussexes because he knows this is an issue which will affect his reign and the future of the monarchy – he sees that. William doesn’t see that. The larger problem still remains though, which is that the family wants Harry to capitulate but they have nothing “on” him and they have no way to force him to do anything. It’s not about “please be respectful,” because respect would have be given on both sides.

This is actually kind of a bold statement for Nicholl too: “It was naive on the part of William and the Palace to assume that Harry would always want to have the support role of being William’s wingman.” It’s true – it was naive. Childish, even. Immature. Lacking forethought, a juvenile inability to plan ahead and treat your brother with courtesy and love.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Cover Images, Misan Harriman and Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace.


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