Prince Harry Was Supposed to Be Prince William’s Secret Weapon

It’s no secret that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step back as senior members of the British royal family will change the structure of the monarchy forever. Though Prince William will likely step up as king one day, he will no longer have the direct line of support from his brother.

In the days following the Sussexes’ announcement that they would become financially independent and split their time between North America and the U.K., the British royal family has put on a brave front. Queen Elizabeth released her own supportive statement saying,

My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

However, in the wake of the Sussexes’ major announcement, we all know that things between Prince William and Prince Harry will never be the same.

Things have been tense between Prince Harry and Prince William for some time

Though Prince William and Prince Harry have always been close — even after the Duke of Cambridge married Kate, Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 — things changed when Prince Harry met Meghan in 2016.

After dating the Suits alum for less than a year, Prince Harry confided in Prince William that he wanted to marry Meghan. The elder brother reportedly cautioned his younger brother about moving too quickly, which greatly offended Prince Harry. Things haven’t been the same since.

“When Meghan came around and she was interested in making changes, he welcomed it,” an insider told People. “And when Archie was born, the couple’s focus shifted even more to doing what’s right for their family.”

Prince Harry was supposed to be Prince William’s secret weapon

Despite being the spare to Prince William’s heir, Prince Harry is generally more approachable than his older brother. People seem to gravitate toward him, and he was meant to soften the future king’s more traditional image.

“Courtiers imagined in the future that Harry would be shoulder-to-shoulder with William when he was King,” Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son author Penny Junor told People. “He would pick up the bits that William wouldn’t be as good for. They would be complimentary and side-by-side throughout their lives. That was a lovely picture. Harry was the secret weapon, really.”

However, with the constant harassment of his wife and continually being in his brother’s shadow, it appears Prince Harry saw a different path for himself. “It’s not terribly good for your self-confidence,” Junor explained. “He was always compared to William: William was the good-looking one, the important one, the clever one. Harry was the also-ran. I think that did take a toll on him.”

Prince William and Prince Harry will ‘always be brothers’

In the ITV documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, the Duke of Sussex got candid about the issues he’s having with his big brother.

“Part of this role, part of this job, this family, being under the pressure which it’s under, inevitably stuff happens. But we are brothers. We will always be brothers,” Harry said. “We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him, and as I know he will always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to as we are so busy. But I love him dearly and you know the majority of the stuff is probably — well, the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But as brothers, you have good days and you have bad days.”

Perhaps this separation might be the best thing for them.