‘In love’: Wild Prince Harry and Kate Middleton revelation

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Ready your smelling salts, position yourself near an appropriately padded surface in case of a swoon.

Have I got a shocker for you today – a new claim about the flash-in-the pan royal Fab Four that is nothing short of wild.

But it’s also a claim that, once you get over the initial shock, starts to hold the echo of something more substantial.

Here’s the backstory. Longtime editor of Majesty magazine, the number one title globally for crown botherers and people deeply invested in the comings and goings of Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester, has written a new King Charles biography, My Mother And I. The book has been getting glowing reviews thanks to the fact that it involves top-notch reporting.

Over the weekend the Telegraph published an interview with author Ingrid Seward during which she was, as is legally required, asked about the Great Schism – whether the simmering stewpot of grievance and rancour that exists between Prince William and Prince Harry might ever be fixed. Can the greatest royal family falling out since the War of the Roses ever be rectified?

William, Seward answered, is not going to readily overlook his brother essentially sacrificing Kate on the altar of Spare and revealing fairly petty details like the Princess of Wales not wanting to share her lip gloss with Meghan the Duchess of Sussex. (Look in the Middle Ages, wars were started over less.)

Seward explained: “Unfortunately, it points to Meghan doesn’t it? Maybe Harry was a little in love with Kate.”

Record scratch.

There are, as the Brits say, marmalade droppers and then there is this.

But before anyone thinks that Seward, a stalwart of the royal scene, is introducing unrequited romantic yearning into the mix of egos, anger and allegations of bullying and bias, hold your horses.

She then went on to clarify her jaw-dropper saying: “No, no, no – I don’t mean physically but mentally. Remember when it was just the three of them? He always longed for a sister, he told Diana that. Psychologically I think he just adored her and he was always there, at Kensington Palace, in their fridge, you know, ‘What’s for supper?’”

And she has a point.

For a long time there, Kate seemed to fulfil a specific and needed role in Harry’s hurly-burly life and inner world.

The duke was only 12-years-old when his long since deified mother Diana, the former Princess of Wales died, thus leaving an unthinkable emotional void in his life. For years, there might have been the jolly hockey sticks, ‘just shoot a small bird and buck-up boyo’ presence of nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke in Harry’s life but unproblematic, feminine affection?

Any sort of stable home life? Sadly not.

And then Kate Middleton arrived on the scene with her bourgeois notions of dinners eaten at kitchen tables and not in mahogany-panelled caverns full of crystal and silverware and whamo! Harry had finally acquired a warm, emotionally literate maternal figure willing to dish out hugs and large helpings of shepherd’s pies.

It was a dynamic that, with hindsight, was never going to last, not when Harry started to create for himself something that his brother had long since managed – a family.

In 2016, the course of royal history swerved off ploddingly predictable course when the duke spotted his now wife Meghan on Instagram. (An eerie bit of foreshadowing there given that only three and a half years later, it was via Instagram that the couple would stun the sensible pants off the world by announcing that they were done with adhering to the royal rank and file.)

So Harry meets Meghan, cutesy-tootsy iPhone photos get taken as they moon over one another. He learns what kale is, she buys Hunter wellies, and the British press begins to dust off adjectives such as ‘fairytale’ and ‘real life Cinderella story’. (Have trite, sappy line, will publish.)

As we all know now though, a hell of a lot more was going on behind the scenes and the Kensington Palace ecosystem was jolted out of whack. It soon became apparent that things were breaking down behind the scenes. William and Harry were scrapping and the notion that Kate and Meghan might one day form a Sisterhood of the Travelling Tiara was quickly dispelled.

And thus the age of the Cozy Kitchen Suppers and the Shepherd’s Pie Summits were over.

Seward told the Telegraph: “I think that Meghan must have been incredibly envious and then jealous of Kate.”

We are in some complicated, deep-seated Oedipal psychological and emotional territory here given that Harry has repeatedly compared Meghan to Diana. During the Sussexes’ Netflix series, Harry said: “So much of what Meghan is, and how she is, is so similar to my mum”.

Tom Bower, in his 2021 book Revenge, writes that when the couple got together and Harry introduced Meghan to Diana’s sisters and her former best friend, he had “assumed …[they] would see a similarity between Diana and his fiancee. Both, he said, shared the same problems. He was disappointed. No one agreed [with him].”

Seward in her interview with the Telegraph also revealed another layer of complications to this already fraught picture: “I heard Meghan actually thought she was going to be a princess and live in Windsor Castle. Instead, there’s William and Kate with this beautiful house, while they are stuck in Nottingham Cottage which Harry used to call ‘my hovel’.”

(That “hovel” is a cottage designed by one of the UK’s most famous architects, Sir Christopher Wren, is inside the Kensington Palace complex which sits on one of the worlds’ most expensive streets and is where William and Kate lived for two years including when they had Prince George.)

Sigh. What a family. What an epic mess. This is, the same lot after all, where two cousins started a ten year civil war that was so bad it’s known by historians as The Anarchy.

The same goes for Harry and Meghan and William and Kate as it did for cousins King Stephen and Empress Matilda in the 12th century – everyone loses and something will definitely end up getting burnt down.

Daniela Elser is a writer, editor and a royal commentator with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

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