They are two of the most well-known and most reported-on royals in the world. But when it comes to the relationship between Princes William and Harry, we don’t know quite as much. Outside of the fact that they both live in the same palace and do charity events together, these heirs to U.K.’s throne keep their brotherly bond under raps. Luckily, we have found plenty of clues that help give us the inside scoop on what Prince William’s relationship is like with his younger brother Prince Harry.
Their bond right from the start
William and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, made it her mission to make sure her two sons were close and shared the spotlight. To achieve this, Diana worked to make sure William didn’t get more attention than Harry just because William was heir-in-line to the throne. If something involved William, it needed to involve Harry as well.
Next: Brotherly love, right from the beginning.
William as an older brother
In old hand-written letters, Princess Diana described how William acted after his new brother Harry was born. The Huffington Post summarized one of the letters: “William adores his little brother and spends the entire time swamping Harry with an endless supply of hugs and kisses, hardly letting the parents near!”
Next: Their mother’s lasting influence.
Both princes have made it a point in their adult years to be as modern as they can be, from how they travel to how William is raising his children. This shared habit of bending the rules is, of course, something that Princess Diana installed in them at young ages. Needless to say, father Prince Charles isn’t as fond of his sons’ rule-breaking ways. (But more on Charles a little later.)
Next: While we’re on the subject of breaking rules …
Who got into the most trouble back in the day?
Harry is the prince known for his partying antics. Apparently, his trouble-making days started at a very young age. In Princess Diana’s letters, she mentioned that both her boys were enjoying the boarding school they were at, but that eight-year old Harry “is constantly in trouble!”
Next: Sharing in the grieving process.
Bonding over loss
Princess Diana’s death created some friction between some members of the Royal Family. But it made Princes William and Harry even closer. Harry took his mother’s death especially hard, and created a pattern of destructive behavior that followed him into his 20s. He finally started seeing a therapist — a decision that his older brother William helped him make.
Next: Where Prince Charles fits into the mix.
The relationship with their father …
Prince Charles has always been portrayed as the strict, more subdued parent, both before and after Diana’s death. (Which is emphasized when he makes it public that he thinks his sons are acting inappropriately.) As one biographer points out, Charles was raised to not outwardly show emotions, and was a more nurturing father behind closed doors. Both princes maintain a good relationship with their father, although it isn’t the same relationship they had with their mother.
Next: Speaking of mothers, what’s up with their stepmother?
… and the relationship with Camilla
Oh yes, the Duchess of Cornwall. The woman Prince Charles had an affair with while he and Princess Diana were still together. It’s understandable that both princes didn’t want to meet her for a very long time, especially when they were young. Their relationship with Camilla seems to go through many ups and downs — not just because of their late mother, but because of Camilla’s pension for drama. (William couldn’t have been too happy about Camilla meddling in his early relationship with Kate Middleton.)
Next: Bonding over work and play.
How shared interests helped them stay close
Shared interests help keep siblings closer. So it’s no surprise that going into the same line of work and enjoying the same extracurriculars has further strengthened their bond. Like their father Prince Charles before them, both William and Harry trained as pilots and served honorably in British military. Away from their duties, the two princes enjoy competitive sports, listen to the same music, and have some of the same crazy celebrity friends.
Next: The greatest activity that they share.
Their shared interest in giving back
Both William and Harry are incredibly involved in giving back, and have numerous charities and events in their name. Together they set up The Royal Foundation, which serves as a hub for all of their different endeavors. The hub was renamed The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry after Kate Middleton married into the family in 2011.
Next: Speaking of the Duchess of Cambridge …
Where Kate Middleton comes in
Since William and Harry are so close, a significant other would have to fit in with both of them, right? Such is the case for Kate Middleton, who reportedly maintains a brilliant rapport with her brother-in-law. They have independently gushed about each other in interviews, with Harry calling Kate the big sister he never had.
Next: They’re so close, they’re neighbors!
The close living quarters
Most siblings don’t want to live together after they have grown up. But this isn’t the case for William and Harry. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live in an apartment at Kensington Palace, while Harry also resides at the palace and can be close to his niece and nephew. (Harry will soon be moving into Nottingham Cottage on the palace grounds with his new fiancee Meghan Markle.)
Next: So, what about the rest of the royal family?
How they view the rest of the family
The House of Windsor has never been short on drama, but at least William and Harry appear to remain united when it comes to family chaos. When William didn’t invite certain people to his wedding and didn’t make his cousin the godmother to his son George, it was Harry who always had William’s back.
Next: Are they more alike than we think?
Maybe they aren’t so different after all
Prince William has always been viewed as the mild-mannered future leader, while Harry has always been the fun-loving trouble-maker. But as it turns out, the closely-bonded brothers are very much alike. When Harry served in the military, he was promoted for his leadership skills. And as for William, well, he certainly isn’t a stranger to getting into trouble himself.
Next: Back to Diana’s wish for them to share the spotlight …
Any resentment over royal rank?
Prince Harry doesn’t resent his older brother’s proximity to the throne at all. In fact, the red-headed royal has gone on record to suggest that the modernization of the monarchy has left nobody in the immediate family wanting to wear the crown. (Looks like Princess Diana’s choice to make sure her boys were treated equally has paid off.)
Next: What does the future have in store?
So, for Prince Harry’s wedding …
… we can bet that Prince William will be the best man, just like Harry was for William back in 2011. These two clearly have a tight brotherly bond that started when they were kids and has continued well into adulthood.
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