Prince William in their earlier years. Picture: Tim Graham/Getty
Prince William in their earlier years. Picture: Tim Graham/Getty

Let Harry’s last royal event be making peace with William

What do you call a pair of brothers who, after years of talking publicly about the acute pain of losing a beloved family member, turn their backs on one another and go their separate ways?

Once the answer could have passed for characters in a Shakespearean tragedy. Now the answer is Princes William and Harry.

Currently in London for their last hurrah as working royals, Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, seem determined to set an agenda of excitement around the uncharted future ahead of them and distract people from the cataclysmic-sized clusterf**k their resignation has caused the British Royal Family through star-powered smiles and whispered "thank you's" to well wishers.

Were they spending their time in one of the many palaces at their family's disposal and not at a $16,000 a night hotel just down the road, it might almost have been possible. Instead, the stench of dying goodwill between the families Cambridge and Sussex now permeates every space they fill.

What had long been rumoured as a fall out between the Wales brothers was finally confirmed last year when Prince Harry told ITV journalist Tom Bradby that he and William were "certainly on different paths at the moment" and admitted that "as brothers, you have good days you have bad days".

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are undertaking their final engagements as senior members of the royal family. Picture: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are undertaking their final engagements as senior members of the royal family. Picture: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Months later, Prince William reportedly responded to his brother's step-back by saying, "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that anymore; we're separate entities. I'm sad about that."

To be in any family is to have run-ins and gripes that last so long nobody can ever remember the true origin of how they began. But the fallout between William and Harry seems to have gone far beyond avoiding topical subjects at Christmas and moved well into the territory of an all-out estrangement.

At this point, what started the divide and the many factors and people that have since played into it matters far less than what should be attempts to repair things before it's too late.

For as long as many of us can remember, the Wales brothers have lived their lives side-by-side. The world has been present for so many milestones - preschool, primary school, high school, graduation, offensive party costumes, marriages, kicked smoking habits, military combat, births of children, and now, what seems to be the closing chapter in their relationship.

 

There have been other key players involved, of course. Their father, Prince Charles. Their grandmother and grandfather, and many first cousins. The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex. But as any sibling will tell you, the people who really know you the best are the people who have been there for the entirety of the journey - bumps, swings, crashes, victories and all.

Up until very recently, that person for Prince William appeared to be Prince Harry, and vice versa. But after this week, Harry and Meghan are set to fly back to their North American bolthole with no return date to the UK in sight. When the brothers will be in the same room again is anyone's guess.

The many stories of their wives not seeing eye-to-eye aside, this is possibly the last chance for William and Harry to sort out their differences before a divide the size of the Atlantic Ocean comes between them.

Recently, when talking about the premature loss of his mother, Princess Diana, Prince William said that "losing a close family member is one of the hardest experiences that anyone can ever endure." Which is what makes their turning of backs to one another all the more perplexing.

While it's true you can't choose your family - or the many ways in which they'll test every fibre of your patience throughout the course of your life - you can choose to try and sort things out before it's too late.

Katy Hall is a columnist for RendezView.com.au


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