It’s been nearly three months since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
During that time, the couple has taken great pains to put some major geographic distance between themselves and Harry’s regal relatives.
But it seems that if they were hoping absence would make the heart grow fonder, they were sorely mistaken.
We’ve known for quite some time that the feud between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle is still going strong.
In fact, Kate is so fed up with being compared to Meghan that she’s reportedly threatened to sue any media outlet that uses spurious assertions to draw parallels between the two duchesses.
And now, it seems the long-simmering rift between Prince Harry and Prince William has reached a boiling point, as well.
Royal historian Robert Lacey has written a book about William and Harry’s complex relationship entitled Battle of Brothers: William and Harry — the Friendship and the Feuds.
In a surprising new interview with Us Weekly, Lacey says he learned while writing the book that William and Harry’s feud is even more intense than he previously imagined.
In fact, he’s gone so far as to compare the spat to some of the major crises in the history of the British royal family.
Lacey says he has “been astonished, elated and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict.”
He adds that while the situation may appear to have settled down due to the distance between the brothers, the royal family is still reeling from the feud.
“This dispute between brothers ranks alongside the abdication of King Edward VIII in its impact upon the British monarchy and how it operates,” Lacey continued.
“The Queen herself has handled the crisis superbly – you might not even guess there is a crisis at all from her calm and stoic manner,” he added.
“As for Princes William and Harry, the two main protagonists in the rift, they have also acted with honesty and decency within the system, as have their wives.”
Despite this decorum, those who are closest to William and Harry say it’s unlikely they’ll ever be able to heal their relationship.
And the situation is made that much sadder by how close they once were.
“These two brothers – once so close as to seem inseparable and now separated by an ocean and by much more than mere distance – have been acting out the profound contradictions that go back into their childhoods and even before that: into their parents’ ill-fated” marriage and their father Prince Charles‘ “compulsive passion for Camilla,” Lacey said.
“We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family – but nothing so profound as this.”
Yes, the “heir and spare” dynamic is as old as the very concept of inherited political power.
But Lacey seems to feel that William and Harry feel less of an obligation to play their traditional roles due to the tumultuous nature of their upbringing.
In January, the brothers issued a joint statement denying that William and Kate played any part in the Sussexes decision to step down.
And while there was a time when it looked as though Prince Charles’ Covid-19 diagnosis might bring the brothers back together, the reunion never materialized.
Lacey says he believes there is a possibility that the relationship can be repaired, and he suspects the Queen “will quite surely play a crucial role.”
Meanwhile, however, Harry is dealing with problems of his own in the States.
“Moving to a completely different country is never easy for anyone, including Harry,” an insider tells Us.
“And he wasn’t expecting to be faced with so many obstacles.”
Sounds like Harry’s got a whole lot of obstacles ahead of him — and it’s anyone’s guess how things will play out in the months to come.