Prince Harry and Prince William Show Start of ‘Breakdown’ in 2009 Interview Video, Body Language Expert Says

Prince Harry and Prince William showed a glimpse of their strained relationship in a 2009 interview video, according to a body language expert. Though the brothers appear playful in the clip, the expert notes that William’s “relentless banter” leaves Harry hurt by the jokey insults.

Prince William and Prince Harry showed sibling rivalry and start of breakdown in 2009 interview, expert says
Prince William and Prince Harry | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Prince Harry and Prince William talked about living together during their 2009 interview

In a 2009 interview, Harry and William shared details of their experience living together while training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School near RAF Shropshire — and there was plenty of teasing involved.

William called it “a fairly emotional experience.” He shared, “Bearing in mind I cook him and feed him basically every day — I think he’s done rather well.”

Prince William noted he had to do “a fair bit of tidying” up after Harry. “He does do a bit of the washing up, but he leaves most of it in the sink and then I come back in the morning and I have to wash it up.”

Harry replied, “The lies!”

When William said, “He snores a lot as well. He keeps me up all night long,” Harry joked, “They’ll think we’re sharing a bed.”

“No, it’s very important we say that,” William said.

Body language expert analyzes Prince Harry and Prince William’s interview

Body language expert Judi James looked more closely at the interview clip, sharing with Express how it showed the start of the “breakdown” between Harry and William.

James noted, “The playful fun was clearly an aspect of their time spent together but this clip of them as grown men exchanging banter could also show signs of how the breakdown came as the result of years of sibling rivalry.”

She pointed out how Harry’s body language with his arms folded indicated he was in “adult mode” while discussing his army career. “Harry is now a young man and seemed keen to appear as a bit of a hero deserving respect and maybe talk about his experiences on the frontline field of battle,” James said.

Prince William, however, used the opportunity to have some fun teasing Harry and looked “keen to use banter to relegate his brother to the schoolboy state” as a “parental/elder sibling,” James noted.

She explained, “He interrupts Harry and keeps up relentless banter about things like how messy he was when he lived with him and how he ‘snores a lot.’”

James explained that banter is a “knife-edge skill that needs constant monitoring to ensure it’s not really hurting or going too far.”

She called it “a form of verbal ‘attack’ that can sound funny,” and explained that this kind of banter can be “embarrassing for the other” person if it persists, which “can lead to arguments and resentment.”

She added, “William sounded like the parent who uses jokes that sound playful but which can diminish their child in the eyes of their peers.”

When William said he “fed [Harry every day, I think he’s done rather well,” Prince Harry showed a “wince,” that showed he would “rather get back to the more serious, adult mode,” James said.

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Expert points out the ‘competitiveness’ between the brothers

According to James, Harry’s responses to William’s “relentless banter” showed competitiveness.

“The banter is clearly two-way and it’s often Harry starting the ‘insults’ but there are so many moments here where the competitiveness between them is visible,” James said. “And with the existing royal status imbalance tilting in William’s favor, his more parental tone here, even praising his brother might inwardly rankle at a moment when Harry might be feeling he has achieved the role of equal.”

James also said that “William’s need to compete with Harry even comes across when he is at pains to point out that being a search and rescue helicopter pilot is every bit as important as Harry’s front-line helicopter work.”

The body language expert said the joking between them is “part of many sibling’s normal way of having fun together,” but that the brothers’ heir and spare positions plays a role with the “existing status imbalance that Harry clearly felt very keenly.”

She added, “Scuppering his moment to appear as the bigger hero and to speak as a man, not a child, might have caused him more annoyance than he’s showing.”

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.