Prince William Reportedly Told Prince Harry That Meghan Markle Had an "Agenda"

The argument led to Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family, according to The Crown historian Robert Lacey.

harry william
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

In an extract from his newly updated book Battle of Brothers, which is currently being serialized by The Times of London, royal historian and The Crown consultant Robert Lacey wrote that William shared with Harry his belief that Meghan Markle had an "agenda." The resulting fight between the brothers, Lacey wrote, left William "deeply wounded" and Harry "equally furious"—and Harry and Meghan on the path to ultimately leave the royal family, and William, behind.

Lacey writes that William was told of allegations that Meghan was "bullying" royal staff—allegations that the Sussex have vehemently denied, calling them a "smear campaign"—he "got straight on the phone to talk to Harry — and when Harry flared up in furious defence of his wife, the elder brother persisted. Harry shut off his phone angrily, so William went to speak to him personally."

During the ensuing showdown, Lacey writes, William shared with Harry his belief that "Meghan was following a plan—'agenda' was the word [William had] used to his friend—and the accusations he had just heard were alarming. Kate, he said, had been wary of her from the start." Harry was "fiercely combative" in defense of Meghan, which led William to determine, Lacey writes, that "at the end of the day the British crown and all it stood for with its ancient traditions, styles and values—the mission of the monarchy—had to matter more to William than his brother did."

Clarifies Lacey: "Only William and Harry can know what they said to each other and they have respectfully maintained their silence on that." But their households were promptly divided, and things were never the same between the brothers. "Where could the two brothers go after such painful and damning notions had been thrown into their debate? Harry and Meghan appeared to be the ones who visibly departed after the row," writes Lacey. He adds: "William, for his part, felt just as strongly about Meghan and the need for her subversive 'agenda' to be removed from the operations of the British monarchy, which she did not appear to understand or respect."

For their part, Harry and Meghan have maintained that Meghan was ostracized and isolated by royal life in the U.K., and that she became so deeply depressed she had thoughts of suicide. When she and Harry turned to the royal family for help—just as Diana, Princess of Wales, had famously done while married to Prince Charles—they were turned away, the Sussexes say, like Diana had been before them.

"I left my career, my life. I left everything because I love him. Our plan was to do this forever," Meghan told Oprah of moving to the United Kingdom. When she began suffering from thoughts of suicide, however, she reached out for help. "I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution. I went to one of the most senior people to get help. Human resources said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.’ This wasn’t a choice, this was emails and begging for help saying very specifically, ‘I am concerned for my mental welfare.’ Nothing was ever done.”

If you or someone you know is at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741 to message with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free.