Prince Harry has been particularly effective in laying out his side of the conflict with the Windsors, and his conditions for peace and a resolution. He wants a real conversation, he wants accountability from Charles and William about what they’ve done (or been silent about), and he wants an open airing of grievances on both sides. He’s said that he’s open to reconciliation and even making an apology, if his family explains why he needs to apologize. Charles, William and the institution have remained performatively “silent,” all while their courtiers brief everyone within earshot that their silence is “dignified,” and also Harry has been kidnapped by psychotherapists and everyone hates Meghan and William is punching every wall. It’s curious to see People Magazine get into this kind of nitty-gritty analysis of what’s going on in the royal court of Windsor and whether a reconciliation is possible from their side:
Betrayal: A royal insider says, “The King and Prince of Wales will be feeling betrayed. Things that have happened to them, really personal things, are now played out in the public arena.” The insider adds that some of the stories about the family are “not [Harry’s] to tell.” The depth of the division has made some of those close to the family pessimistic about any way back into the fold. One family friend, who is “disappointed” that Harry has gone into “such depth,” says, “There are so many things that he didn’t need to say.”
Resiliently dignified in their silence: Representatives for King Charles and Prince William have not commented on Harry’s memoir. “They are quite resilient and have good people around them,” a source who knows the monarch and Prince of Wales tells PEOPLE. “They are upset and sad, but they are soldiering on. Responding publicly would not be the smart thing to do.” Adds a palace insider, “They have been remarkably calm. But they have to be detached.”
Nothing will happen this year: In one of his interviews to promote Spare, Harry held out the prospect of one day working for his father on behalf of the Commonwealth. The palace insider suggests that if there was to be any progress on such an initiative, “I would imagine that would have to be in four to five years. Certainly not in the next year.”
Again, this is not about privacy: Another source close to the royal household says, “Exposing private family matters is not good,” adding that it has lessened “the impact of [Harry’s] argument for privacy as he lays family matters out for all to see.”
Mediation? The book has not given his family “reason to have him back” and rebuild relationships, one friend tells PEOPLE. But those closest to Harry and his family will not give up on the prince or his hope of a reconciliation. Mediators among those close to both brothers have tried in the past to find a way through the estrangement, but that was some time ago. “You need someone who cares about all of them and feel confident to break in and say ‘this is wrong, let’s sort it out,’” a source close to the royal household says. “Maybe they have tried.”
Recollections may vary: To close observers, the impasse certainly hasn’t gotten any easier. “Harry has made it harder, but it needs a passage of time between the Netflix and the book and any rapprochement,” says the source who knows the King and his sons. “The problem is that they want a capitulation and apology by the palace, but when recollections vary, that’s quite difficult.”
As I said, the Windsors have the PR instincts of a turnip. “They are quite resilient and have good people around them. They are upset and sad, but they are soldiering on. Responding publicly would not be the smart thing to do.” Literally, I could have come up with a much better media strategy for Charles than his entire staff in one afternoon. Even before the Netflix series aired, I said that Charles should have issued a comprehensive and magnanimous statement saying: yes, the family has a long history of dysfunction and disagreements, but Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lili are my family and whatever happens, we’ll work through privately in the next few years. That would have taken the air out of almost all of this. It would have made Harry look like he was beating a dead horse. Instead, with Charles and William assuming an air of self-pitying grievance in refusing to even contact Harry, Harry looks like the bigger person, the one functional adult in the situation.
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