Princes blast bullying ‘lies’: In a rare joint statement, the brothers condemn ‘offensive’ claim William forced Harry and Meghan out
- Statement described The Times reports as ‘offensive and potentially harmful’
- William, Harry and Kate collaborated on the Heads Together campaign
- It’s unusual for them to issue joint statement on one story, one of last was 2006
- It was when Italian magazine published distressing images of their dying mother
Princes William and Harry gave a rare display of public unity yesterday to condemn claims that the Duke of Sussex had been ‘bullied out’ of the Royal Family by his own brother.
Their joint statement described reports in The Times as ‘offensive and potentially harmful’ in light of their work on mental health.
It read: ‘Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.
‘For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.’
William and Harry, along with the Duchess of Cambridge, collaborated on the Heads Together campaign to stamp out the stigma on mental health issues. All three royals have campaigned extensively against bullying.
Princes William and Harry gave a rare display of public unity yesterday to condemn claims that the Duke of Sussex had been ‘bullied out’ of the Royal Family by his own brother. Pictured: The brothers in 2018
It would be unusual even under normal circumstances for the brothers to issue a joint statement on any single story in the media. One of the last times they did so was when an Italian magazine published distressing images of their dying mother in 2006.
Since the rift that led to the division of their joint household last year, many presumed it would never happen again.
But the brothers were stung into action by yesterday’s Times article, which reported that an insider suggested Harry and Meghan ‘regarded themselves as having been pushed away by what they saw as a bullying attitude from the Duke of Cambridge’.
It added the Sussexes ‘wanted to step away from their royal role after two years of constantly being told their place’.
The newspaper said the source, who ‘knows the couple well’, dates the rift back to before their wedding in 2018 as Harry felt his brother was ‘insufficiently welcoming’ towards Meghan when they first started dating. The source was also quoted as saying of William and his wife Kate: ‘From the start their response was not very clever, not very friendly.
William and Harry, along with the Duchess of Cambridge, collaborated on the Heads Together campaign to stamp out the stigma on mental health issues. Pictured: Harry, Meghan, William and The Duchess of Cambridge in March last year
‘Quite early on they decided, “right, we are going to tell these people their place and we are going to push them away”.’
Royal aides made clear yesterday that the brothers were deeply unhappy with the claims. However, they did not comment on or reject other allegations, including that Meghan was determined to walk away from the Royal Family but ‘heartbroken’ that Harry felt torn by his decision to leave the UK.
A source in the Sussex camp described the suggestion that William had bullied his brother as ‘deeply disappointing’. Suggestions of a rift between the pair are not new.
Royal aides made clear yesterday that the brothers were deeply unhappy with the claims. Pictured: The brothers in 2010
Last year, Prince Harry told broadcaster Tom Bradby that while he loved his brother dearly, ‘we are on different paths’. In an article headlined ‘Harry and Meghan’s escape from the poisonous palace’, Mr Bradby wrote at the weekend that senior royals had been ‘jealous and unfriendly’ and he had no doubt Harry and Meghan felt ‘driven out’.
The ITV presenter, who is close to Harry, also raised the possibility of the couple doing a ‘no-holds-barred’ interview if they failed to get their way in negotiations, writing in The Sunday Times that ‘I don’t think it would be pretty’.
A Sussex aide said yesterday there were ‘no plans’ for an interview. Sources noted that Meghan was using the aggressive US PR firm Sunshine Sachs, leaving many Palace figures ‘out of the loop’.