Prince William Is Reportedly "Sad and Shocked" by Prince Harry's Reply to the Queen

"You don’t answer the Queen back—it’s just not done."

Prince William, Meghan Markle & Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty Images ¦ WPA Pool)
  • Earlier this week, news broke that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit (opens in new tab) will be permanent.
  • Buckingham Palace released a statement (opens in new tab) outlining the news and what it means for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who will lose their remaining royal patronages and honorary titles.
  • In response, Harry and Meghan released a tense statement of their own which sources close to the royal family say left Harry's brother, Prince William, "really sad and genuinely shocked."

Last week, Buckingham Palace released its statement (opens in new tab) about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit (opens in new tab) becoming permanent—and what that meant for their remaining titles and patronages. Specifically, Harry is being stripped of his honorary military titles (opens in new tab) and both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (opens in new tab) are being removed from their official royal patronages.

In its official statement on the issue, the Palace wrote:

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family.

Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.

While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."

In response, Harry and Meghan released a brief (opens in new tab) (and widely-interpreted as tense) statement of their own. "As evidenced by their work over the past year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal," a spokesperson for the couple said.

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Harry and Meghan's statement (opens in new tab) has reportedly upset some in royal circles—including Harry's brother, Prince William (opens in new tab). According to a Sunday Times (opens in new tab) report (opens in new tab), William is "really sad and genuinely shocked" by the statement, which another source close to the royal family described as "petulant and insulting to the Queen." 

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Explaining the outrage the Sussexes' statement has stirred up within royal circles, another source close to the situation said, "You don’t answer the Queen back—it’s just not done." According to Page Six (opens in new tab), William isn't alone and other members of the royal family are also "stunned" not just by the fact that Harry and Meghan publicly replied to the Palace's statement, but by the tone of the statement their spokesperson shared.

In the wake of the royal exit, William is said to have been struggling with the breakdown of his relationship with Harry (opens in new tab).

"Once he got over the anger of how things happened, he was left with the absence of his brother," a royal aide explained. "They had shared everything about their lives—an office, a foundation, meetings together most days—and there was a lot of fun along the way. He’ll miss it forever."

William also reportedly feels more pressure personally now that Harry has stepped back from royal duties. A friend of William's said the Duke of Cambridge "definitely feels the pressure now it’s all on him. His future looks different because of his brother’s choices—it’s not easy."

Here's hoping that any added tension between the royals is just the result of miscommunications and that they'll be able to resolve things when travel becomes possible again.


Prince William & Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty Images ¦ Jack Taylor)

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty Images ¦ Pool)
Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.