The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry could be on the verge of healing their falling out, according to royal expert Duncan Larcombe.
The trauma of losing their mother formed a bond between Princes William and Harry that few of us thought could ever be broken.
For years, they were more than brothers, relying on each other for support, comfort and humour when times were tough.
So it is fitting perhaps that when Harry and Meghan Markle suffered the loss of a baby in pregnancy this summer, the one good thing to have come out of the trauma was a sign that the rift between the royal brothers may be starting to thaw.
Sources close to the boys have told me that William contacted his brother to offer his support as soon as he learned of the miscarriage, after reading about Meghan’s brave decision to speak openly about her ordeal.
In a further twist, the boys were forced together by revelations that their late mother may have been duped by the BBC’s Martin Bashir into giving her infamous interview to the Panorama programme in 1995.
I can reveal William and Harry exchanged notes and spoke at length when they were warned of the sensational new claims by their uncle, Earl Spencer, in November. The brothers agreed that William should make a statement cautiously welcoming a fresh investigation into the matter by the BBC. They have agreed to issue a joint statement further down the line if they are not 100 per cent satisfied with the findings of the investigation.
Within the Palace walls, there are now high hopes that the worst of the perceived falling out between the brothers may, at last, have been put behind them.
The source told me, “Like any brother, William was concerned to hear that Harry and Meghan had gone through their own private ordeal, and he wanted to reach out at a difficult time.”
William’s olive branch arrived just in time for the brothers to have a sensible conversation about how they should react to revelations their mother may have been conned into agreeing to give Bashir the interview.
My source added, “It may have been a very long time ago, but William and Harry’s feelings towards the Panorama interview are still raw. It is not something they feel they can just let go – they want to know the truth, and who can blame them?
“Crucially it has come as a reminder that their lives will always be united by the tragic loss of their mother when they were just youngsters. It has at the very least got them talking, which is a step in the right direction.”
The rift between the boys has dominated headlines since Harry and Meghan announced at the start of 2020 that they were stepping away from royal duties and moving to America.
Harry’s departure was seen in many circles as an indication that relations between himself and William had sensationally broken down, with the heir left to face his destiny without Harry by his side.
Brothers above all else
Now, away from all the headlines of a falling out, and as 2020 is drawing to a close, news that they are now at least talking will be seen as a good sign.
The source told me, “Underpinning Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave the UK was a sense that he was also walking out on his brother. In official terms, there was a degree of truth in this. But, despite everything that has been reported, they are still brothers and they will always turn to each other when times are tough. Hopefully, recent events are enough to show them that blood is thicker than water.”
Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duties, along with Prince Andrew being forced to step back over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, means the workload of official duties for senior royals is extremely tight.
In 2021, William will be busier than ever as his brother continues to forge a new future for the Sussexes in Los Angeles.
The question is whether William can accept Harry’s decision without growing resentful of his move away from the firm.
For now, there are no signs that William resents the extra workload, but if the rift with Harry escalates again, this could change over time.