Princess Diana Always Viewed Prince Harry as a Supporting Act to Prince William, Royal Biographer Says

Princess Diana was known for breaking royal traditions when it comes to her parenting style. She was a warm and loving mother to Prince Harry and Prince William. Many people also believe she treated the two princes the same despite their different roles in the royal family. However, according to Diana’s biographer, the late princess viewed Harry as a supporting act to William.

Princess Diana standing with Prince Harry and Prince William when they were younger
Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William in 1995 | Antony Jones/Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images

Prince Harry struggled with being a ‘spare’ prince

Being the younger son of Diana and Prince Charles, Harry is known as the “spare” prince. He is in a similar position to Prince Charles’ younger brother, Prince Andrew, and Queen Elizabeth’s late sister, Princess Margaret.

According to royal experts, being a “spare” is also a “curse” to some royals. This sort of life includes many of the same expectations and rules as that of an heir, but a “spare” would not be able to ascend to the throne.

An anonymous source explained to The New York Times in 2015, “To be a spare is a horrendously difficult human position. It’s hard to be royal in any case, with the lack of freedom involved. But if you’re the spare, and people look up to you to preserve all family values, but you have no real role, it’s immensely frustrating.”

The biography Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand highlights Harry’s frustration as an “heir” as well. He reportedly felt that the palace often prioritized William over him. This led to Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stepping down as senior royals in early 2020.

Princess Diana also viewed Prince Harry as a supporting act to Prince William

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Andrew Morton, who authored the book Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, thinks Diana also viewed Harry as a “spare” to William.

“Oh absolutely I mean there’s no question that Diana for example always saw Harry as William’s wingman,” Morton revealed, according to Express. “He is back up in the nicest possible way, she said to me. While Margaret, in the same way, was the back up for the Queen because after all being Queen, being number one is a very very solitary position.”

However, Morton noted that, for royals who are heirs, having a bond with another family member can be helpful for their success.

Morton added, “Who can you trust, who can you rely on? And it’s only you own family and Margaret and Elizabeth had this instinctive bond that lasted very much through her lifetime.”

Prince Harry is now establishing a career outside of the royal family

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While Diana and other royals may have imagined Harry being a supportive wingman to William, it seems Harry is no longer playing that role.

He and Meghan are now living in California and trying to establish their own career outside of the royal family. The couple has signed deals with Netflix and Spotify. Harry is also a Chief Impact Officer for a mental health startup called Better Up, Inc.