As far as royal family feuds go, Prince Harry and older brother Prince William’s is a doozy. For years, there have been rumblings of the once-close brothers growing apart, with the suspected catalyst being William suggesting to Harry that he may have been moving too quickly with new girlfriend Meghan Markle (oops!). But new details from Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom suggest the brothers’ conflict has a deeper root: money. And not just any money: royal family money. Harry and Charles had access to an enormous trust — in theory. But each funding request was funneled through their father Prince Charles, and it seems the brothers’ years of fighting over who should get a bigger share took its toll.
Royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand spoke to a few key sources about the root of Harry and William’s disagreement, learning that Charles, who “controlled the purse strings,” played a role in creating the tension. Charles oversaw funds to cover expenses “related to Camilla and some of those for his son,” but actually using that money wasn’t quite as simple as visiting an ATM.
“They actually genuinely have to debate who gets what amount of money from their father to fund their projects,” a royal aide told the reporters of William and Harry. “Add in the fact that there is an inherent hierarchy and that is really tricky.”
Tricky indeed! The inherent hierarchy the aide is referring to is the line of succession: William is heir to the throne after Charles, while Harry is sixth in line.
“Where you are born in this family dictates your position of power, and because of that, Harry has always come second to his brother, especially when it comes to funding,” a second source revealed. “There were times in the past that Harry wanted to take on bigger projects and do more work, but he couldn’t get the money to support it. William was always the priority. A lot of their quarrels have been over budgets.”
It’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t quarrel about budgets, giving this set-up. It’s bad enough to imagine making a case to your dad every time you need a loan, but facing off against your brother is a whole other ordeal — and we imagine it’s made it tough to not feel competitive over the years.
As with so many Finding Freedom details, this revelation really makes us think Harry and Meghan did the right thing by stepping back. A few years from now, he may be closer to William than ever.
Click here to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s complete relationship timeline.