Prince William Is Reportedly ‘Sad and Shocked’ Over Prince Harry’s ‘Insulting and Disrespectful’ Behavior Toward the Queen

Prince William is reportedly “really sad and genuinely shocked” over the way Prince Harry responded to Queen Elizabeth‘s statement about the Sussexes’ official royal exit. According to the Sunday Times, William was “very upset” with Prince Harry’s “insulting and disrespectful” behavior.

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan announced their exit in 2020

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced a plan to step back from their royal duties in 2020. At the time, they hoped to have a split arrangement where they would spend time in the UK and North America.

Queen Elizabeth allowed the couple to leave their duties under a year-long trial, but did not grant them their wish of continuing with a half-in-half-out arrangement.

Queen Elizabeth issued a statement that explained, in part, her support of their decision. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the statement noted.

It continued: “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.”

RELATED: Did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Consult with Queen Elizabeth About Leaving the Royal Family?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially stepped down

Prince Harry and Meghan moved to California and began their life away from the royal spotlight, raising their son Archie. They recently announced they are expecting a second child.

On Feb. 19, the palace confirmed the couple officially exited from their royal duties. Buckingham Palace released the following statement about the decision: “Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.” 

The statement continued, “The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.”

“While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the statement concluded.

Prince William reportedly thought Prince Harry and Meghan’s response was ‘insulting’

A spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan responded to the statement. “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” their statement noted.

The couple added, “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

A source told the Sunday Times that their response was “petulant and insulting to the queen” and that Prince William thought it was “insulting and disrespectful.” Sources are quoted as saying that William was “very upset by what has happened” and “really sad and genuinely shocked” by Harry’s decision.

“You don’t answer the queen back — it’s just not done,” another source explained of Prince Harry and Meghan’s statement.

An aide also shared how Prince William “got over the anger of how things happened” but will miss his brother working in the family. “They had shared everything about their lives — an office, a foundation, meetings together most days — and there was a lot of fun along the way,” the insider explained. “He’ll miss it forever.”

Was their comment taken out of context?

Former Special Forces soldier Dean Scott, who is a longtime friend of Prince Harry’s, believes that the couple didn’t intend for their comment to be insulting.

Scott shared on Radio 4’s Today (via Metro) that the comment should be “taken in context” instead.

“We’re all focusing on them stepping back,” Scott explained. “I made some comments last year that there’s so many positives we can take from this, especially their love for philanthropy.”

“Obviously them being within the royal spotlight, there’s a lot of protocol and red tape,” he continued. “But actually, their decision to step back gives them more opportunity and freedom to do more and help more. So I think [the statement] is probably taken in context.”

“They’re very much a modern couple and like to do things differently so they see that they can still do a service but in their own way,” he added. “It keeps one end of the party happy and Harry and Meghan in the position that they can still be in that public limelight but obviously always giving back.”