Feature

A timeline of Prince Harry and Prince William's feud

A tale of two brothers

The rift between Prince Harry and his older brother, Prince William, only seems to be growing. In his new book, the Duke of Sussex accuses the Prince of Wales of physically attacking him, among other stunning allegations. How did the two get to this point? Here's what we know:

December 2017: Harry and William reportedly have 'fallout' over Meghan 

Rumors of a rift between Princes Harry and William begin popping up in 2018 after the Duke of Sussex's marriage to Meghan Markle. In November 2018, Vanity Fair reports there was a "fallout last Christmas" after "Harry told William he didn't think his older brother was doing enough to welcome Meghan into the family." This conversation would have taken place over a year after Harry and Meghan started dating and not long after they got engaged. 

"Harry felt William wasn't rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so," a source tells Vanity Fair. "They had a bit of a fall out which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort." 

The book Finding Freedom, published in 2020, later claimed Harry was angered after William told him to move more slowly in his relationship with Meghan while they were dating, worrying he was being "blindsided by lust" and telling him to "take as much time as you need to get to know this girl."

"In those last two words, 'this girl,' Harry heard the tone of snobbishness that was anathema to his approach to the world," the book says. "Also, to remove Meghan from the equation, Harry was tired of the dynamic that had become established between him and his older brother." The book also claims that "once Harry and Meghan were married, the gap between the brothers only widened." But in a 60 Minutes interview in 2023, Harry rejected the "idea that somehow my wife was the one that destroyed the relationship" with his brother. 

November 2018: Harry and Meghan are set to move away from Kensington Palace

In November 2018, The Sun reports Harry and Meghan are "splitting from" William and Kate by moving away from them, from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage. 

"The initial plan was for Harry and Meghan to move out of their cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace and into one of the main apartments," a source tells the outlet. "But there has been a bit of tension between the brothers. Now Harry and Meghan don't want to live next to William and Kate and want to strike out on their own."

2019: William allegedly physically attacks Harry during an argument

In his 2023 book Spare, Harry claims William physically attacked him during a confrontation about Meghan at his London home in 2019, The Guardian reports. This allegedly occurred while Harry was still living on the grounds of Kensington Palace. 

William allegedly called Meghan "difficult," "rude," and "abrasive." As the confrontation escalated, Harry alleges William "grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and … knocked me to the floor," and he "landed on the dog's bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me." 

April 2019: Harry and William don't speak to each other during Easter service

Harry and William attend an Easter service at Windsor Castle in April 2019, but outlets including People observe they "kept their distance from one another" and "did not speak to each other on their way in or out" of the chapel. 

People also reports this month that "tensions between the brothers deepened back when Harry first told his family he wanted to marry Meghan after less than a year of dating," as William "cautioned Harry that things were moving too quickly, leaving Harry angry and hurt." 

June 2019: Harry and Meghan split from charity with William and Kate

Harry and Meghan confirm in June 2019 they're splitting from the charity they shared with William and Kate and setting up their own foundation, fueling speculation of a rift between the couples. However, aides tell Vanity Fair this is "not because of any royal rift or distance between the couples, but in order for William and Kate and Harry and Meghan to pursue different trajectories."

October 2019: Harry confirms he and William are 'on different paths'

In an ITV documentary, Harry appears to confirm rumors of a rift between him and William. 

"We're certainly on different paths at the moment," he says, "but I'll always be there for him and as I know he'll always be there for me." Harry adds that "the majority of this stuff is created out of nothing, but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days."

December 2019: Harry and Meghan don't spend Christmas with the royals

In December 2019, Harry and Meghan decide not to spend Christmas with the royals but instead with Meghan's mother, Doria.  

"Harry and Meghan are having a small Christmas with just immediate family instead of spending it at Sandringham," a source tells Us Weekly. "The rift between William and Harry is one of the main reasons behind their decision." 

But Buckingham Palace says the decision is "in line with precedent set previously by other members of the royal family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen."

January 2020: William allegedly screams at Harry during meeting about royal exit 

Harry and Meghan drop the bombshell announcement in January 2020 that they're stepping back as senior members of the royal family. Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl tells Entertainment Tonight that William is "absolutely devastated and quite shocked by this decision," adding, "I think William feels a sense of betrayal by his brother and possibly a sense of being abandoned too." 

That same month, Harry and William attend a summit at Sandringham to discuss the former's planned exit. In his Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, Harry later claims William shouted at him during this meeting. "It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren't true," he says. 

January 2020: Report claims William's 'bullying attitude' led to Harry and Meghan exit

Also in January 2020, a report claims William's "bullying attitude" pushed Harry and Meghan away from the royal family. A joint statement is then released with Harry and William's names on it blasting this "false story" about their relationship. "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health," the statement says, "the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful." 

However, Harry later claims in his Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan that this statement was released with his name on it without his knowledge. "I couldn't believe it," Harry says. "No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that. ... Within four hours, they were happy to lie to protect my brother, and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us." 

The book Battle of Brothers also later reveals that William was allegedly "so infuriated" by Harry's behavior that he "refused to have lunch with his brother" before the Sandringham summit, the Daily Mail reports

March 2020: Harry has 'cold' reunion with his family

Two months later, Harry reunites with his family for his last official engagements as a working royal and attends a Commonwealth Day ceremony. William is also in attendance, but Us Weekly dubs it a "royally awkward reunion," noting William and Kate "barely acknowledged" Harry and Meghan. 

"The two brothers exchanged only the most awkward of hellos," the Daily Mail also writes. "Although Harry greeted his brother William with a smile, there was little interaction between them." 

Harry later admits in his Netflix documentary he "felt really distant from the rest of my family" during this event. "It looked cold, but it also felt cold," he adds. 

May 2020: William and Harry reportedly get 'back in touch'

Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl tells Entertainment Tonight in May 2020 that Harry and William are "back in touch" over the phone following the former's move to California. "They have done video calls together, they have done a lot of family birthdays and I think with Prince Charles not being well, that really forced the brothers to pick up the phone and get back in touch," she adds. 

August 2020: 'Finding Freedom' book makes 'things worse'

But Finding Freedom, the book about Harry and Meghan that includes the claim that William told Harry to "take as much time as you need to get to know this girl," is published in the summer of 2020, and a source tells Us Weekly it "has made things worse between" Harry and William. 

"William thinks the book is their calculated way of controlling the narrative and that they took advantage of their entertainment contacts so they'd be painted in a favorable light," an insider tells Us Weekly, and another says, "Even before the book came out, the bad blood between William and Harry was apparent. But it's taken a whole new turn."

Harry and Meghan note, though, they "were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom."

March 2021: William reportedly 'devastated' over Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview

Harry and Meghan give a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which they allege an unnamed member of the royal family expressed "concerns" about "how dark" her baby's skin would be. Harry also reiterates that he and William are "on different paths" in the interview.  

"William is devastated by this interview," royal correspondent Katie Nicholl tells Entertainment Tonight.  

William later tells reporters that "we are very much not a racist family" and that he hasn't spoken with Harry about the interview yet, but plans to do so. In the Harry & Meghan Netflix documentary, Harry receives a text from William on camera after the interview airs, but its contents aren't revealed. 

A few days later in March 2021, CBS News' Gayle King reports Harry has now spoken with William and Charles. "The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive," King says, "but they are glad that they have at least started a conversation."

April 2021: Harry reunites with William at Philip's funeral

Weeks after the Oprah interview airs, Harry returns to the U.K. and reunites with his brother during the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip. But royal expert Robert Lacey claims in the Daily Mail that they "started quarreling again" in private, and a long-time friend alleges, "There they were, at each other's throats as fiercely as ever." 

Harry later writes in his book Spare that he had a "secret meeting" with William and Charles after the funeral. "I'd vowed not to let this encounter devolve into another argument," Harry writes, per Us Weekly. "But I quickly discovered that it wasn't up to me." He also says Charles begged the two not to "make my final years a misery." Harry says in his Netflix documentary that his brother and father "were very much focused on the same misinterpretation of the whole situation" during their chats. 

July 2021: Harry and William unveil statue of Diana

Three months later, Harry and William unite to unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace. A source tells the Sunday Times that William was allegedly still "furious" about the Oprah interview and didn't want to attend the unveiling with Harry. Harry leaves the U.K. and heads back to California the next day. 

But a source tells Us Weekly Harry and William "spent the morning before the statue unveiling looking through old keepsakes, notes from Diana and bonding," adding that they "have absolutely turned a new page in their relationship and have started the healing." 

June 2022: Harry and William don't sit near each other at jubilee service

The following summer, Harry and Meghan return to the U.K. to attend a service of thanksgiving for the queen's platinum jubilee, but commentators note the two sit on the opposite side of the cathedral from William and Kate.

The Sunday Times reports (per The Daily Beast) that Harry and William "spent no private time together over the jubilee, and the broken relationship is not on the brink of being patched up any time soon." A friend also tells the outlet William is "still deeply upset" about Harry and Meghan's exit from the royal family "and feels let down, but he's moved on." 

September 2022: Harry and William reunite after queen's death

Three months later, Harry and William reunite after the death of their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and walk side-by-side in a procession. Harry, Meghan, Kate, and William also step out together to greet mourners

December 2022: Harry reveals damning claims about William in Netflix doc

Harry and Meghan's highly anticipated Netflix documentary drops in December 2022, and the second volume puts William on blast. Harry accuses his brother's communications office of working against his and leaking stories to the press about him and Meghan. 

"If the comms team wants to be able to remove a negative story about their principle, they will trade and give you something about someone else's principle," Harry alleges. "So the offices end up working against each other." 

Harry goes on to say he and William "both saw what happened in our dad's office and we made an agreement that we would never let that happen to our office," so "to see my brother's office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never, ever do, that was heartbreaking."

This is also where Harry claims William screamed at him during the Sandringham summit in 2020. 

January 2023: Harry publishes tell-all book, labels William 'archnemesis'

With Harry's tell-all book Spare set to publish, leaked excerpts reveal some of its contents, including Harry's claim of a physical altercation with William. He also reportedly describes William as his "beloved brother" but also his "archnemesis" in the book. 

"There has always been this competition between us, weirdly," he explains to ABC News

Harry tells ABC News that Diana "would be sad" about the state of his relationship with William but would understand that "there are certain things that we need to go through to be able to heal the relationship." He also tells ITV, "I would like to have my brother back," but he adds that William and his father have "shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile."

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