LONDON (February 22, 20211)–the Duke of Cambridge is said to be “really sad and genuinely shocked” by his brother’s behaviour towards the Queen over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from royal life.
The row is in danger of becoming the most serious rift between two royal brothers since George VI was thrust onto the throne in 1936 by the abdication of his older brother, Edward VIII. Sources close to Prince William said he believed Harry and Meghan had been “insulting and disrespectful” to the Queen, and was “very upset by what has happened”.
“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. While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
Right after the palace shared the statement, Harry and Markle released their own message.
A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement that “as evidenced by their work over the past year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
In response, sources close to William told The Sunday Times that he’s “very upset by what has happened” and found the couple’s behavior “insulting and disrespectful.”
“You don’t answer the queen back – it’s just not done,” said one insider.
Despite the recent news, friends of the two brothers insisted that their relationship will heal in time.
“It’s still raw,” a pal of William’s alleged to the outlet. “He’s very upset by what has happened, though absolutely intent that he and Harry’s relationship will heal in time.”
The palace said Harry’s appointment as captain-general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups would revert to the queen before being distributed to other members of the family.
Harry, who served in the British army for a decade and has a close bond with the military, founded the Invictus Games competition for wounded troops.
According to the palace, the military, Commonwealth and charitable associations that will now revert to Harry’s grandmother, the queen, including the Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
In their January 2020 announcement of stepping back as senior members of the royal family, Harry and Markle discussed their intentions of working independently, splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said their decision came “after many months of reflection and internal discussions.”
The couple added they would continue to work with the reigning monarch, 94, as well as Harry’s father Prince Charles, 72, and William.
Rumors of an alleged royal feud came to light in 2019, when British bestselling author Katie Nicholl claimed that since Markle and Harry announced their engagement in 2017, William grew increasingly worried for his brother and his whirlwind romance with the American actress.
“William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly,” Nicholl claimed in the TLC documentary “Kate V. Meghan: Princesses at War?” “And being close to Harry, you know, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, ‘This seems to be moving quickly. Are you sure?’ And I think what was meant as well intended brotherly advice just riled Harry.”
“Harry is hugely protective of Meghan,” Nicholl continued. “He saw that as criticism, he interpreted that as his brother not really being behind this marriage, this union. And I don’t think things have been quite right ever since.”
Harry hinted at an alleged rift with his older brother in ITV’s 2019 documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.”
“Part of this role and part of this job, this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably stuff happens,” he said at the time. “But look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment but I’ll always be there for him and I know he’ll always be there for me.”
“I think it would always have happened that Meghan and Harry would live on the other side of the world,” he explained. “I think Meghan and Harry will remain based in North America. Unless the brothers can find a way to reconcile, they will have to go their separate ways and keep mutual respect for each other.”
“We do know that in July 2021, both brothers have committed to being in Kensington Gardens for the unveiling of the statue dedicated to their late mother, Princess Diana,” he pointed out. “The world will judge then. But there is a lot of work to be done.”
Source: Fox News’ Melissa Roberto and The Associated Press contributed to this report.