Prince Harry Wasn't Consulted on a Joint Statement He Allegedly Put Out With Prince William, He Claims

This majorly strained their relationship.

Prince Harry and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge embark on a walkabout ahead of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 18, 2018 in Windsor, England
(Image credit: Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty)

When a teaser came out for Netflix' Harry & Meghan Volume 2 this week, one quote in particular had royal commentators running wild.

"They were happy to lie to protect my brother," Prince Harry said in one clip. "They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us."

Well, the last three episodes came out today, and we now seem to know what the Duke of Sussex was talking about when he said that. And to hear Harry telling it, it's a really sad story.

In episode 5 of the limited series, Harry says, "A story came out saying that part of the reason why Meghan and I were leaving was because William had bullied us out.

"And once I got in the car after [a] meeting, I was told about a joint statement that had been put out in my name and my brother's name, squashing the story about him bullying us out of the family."

This statement read: "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a U.K. newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.

"For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

But, Prince Harry claims, this wasn't a joint statement at all. "I couldn't believe it," he says.

"No one had asked me. No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that.

"And I rang M and I told her, and she burst into floods of tears, because within four hours they were happy to lie to protect my brother, and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us."

Prince William and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry was clearly deeply hurt by the PR machinations that went on behind the scenes at the Palace, and he implies in episode 4 of the doc that Prince William was, if not guilty of these manipulations, at least complicit.

"I have 30 years' experience of looking behind the curtain and seeing how this system works and how it runs," Harry explains.

"I mean, just constant briefings about other members of the family, about favors, inviting the press in... It's a dirty game. You know, there's leaking, but there's also planting of stories."

He continues, "So if the comms team want to be able to remove a negative story about their principal, they will trade and give you something about someone else's principal. So the offices end up working against each other.

"It's kind of this weird understanding or acceptance that happens. And you can always say, 'I didn't know about this. Don't be ridiculous this would never happen. Are you suggesting that I condone this?' Like, 'No. But what I am asking is, have you done anything to stop it?' And the answer is, 'No.'"

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

This was all the more hurtful, because the brothers formerly known as Wales had made a vow to never play into these games. "William and I both saw what happened in our dad's office, and we made an agreement that we would never let that happen to our office," Harry reveals.

But when the Cambridge and Sussex offices separated in 2019, the Duke of Sussex felt that his older brother hadn't respected that agreement.

"I would far rather get destroyed in the press than play along with this game or this business of trading," he says. "To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never ever do, that was heartbreaking."

Prince William and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

Historian Mok O'Keeffe, who goes by @GayAristo on Instagram and Tiktok, tells Marie Claire, "Not only has royal protocol been broken, the contract between siblings has been broken. But I don’t think it is helpful for us to play the ‘blame’ game.

"Instead, shouldn’t we just take a moment to reflect that two very close brothers are now literally thousands of miles apart and estranged.

"That the monarchy, which always renews to remain relevant has lost an opportunity and that the Sussexes’ children don’t get to play with their cousins.

"I am a monarchist. I will wave a flag for our King or the Prince and Princess of Wales any day of the week, but this documentary charts the disintegration of a family and the loss of opportunity."

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.