King Charles' Relationship with Prince William and Prince Harry Has Long Run “Hot and Cold," Oftentimes Over Money

More money, more problems?

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Tensions between father and son are at a fever pitch right now, but King Charles and Prince Harry (as well as Prince William) have never had a drama-free relationship. Mix in the weird family dynamic of the monarchy with the tensions between Charles and the boys’ mother, Princess Diana—if you’re unsure of what we’re talking about, make your way to Netflix and watch season five of The Crown—and it doesn’t make for an easy path between father and son. But one of the main sources of friction between Charles and his sons over the years has been money, proving that money remains an issue in families, even (and maybe especially) when there is a lot of it.

Royal biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand allege that the brothers “can be hot and cold with their father,” specifically citing a 2018 incident in their bombshell book Finding Freedom (and reported on by OK). According to Scobie and Durand, planning a family photo shoot for Charles’ 70th birthday was “an absolute nightmare,” as neither “William nor Harry made much of an effort to make themselves available” for the shoot. 

But the money issues prevail as a chief cause of conflict, as “the brothers sometimes had to vie for additional funds for projects from their father.” The pair write “they actually genuinely have to debate who gets what amount from their father to fund their projects. While Charles may be a father to [William and] Harry, he’s also their boss, and that makes their relationship complex for a number of reasons.”

Charles and William’s relationship is thriving, with the new Prince of Wales playing a lead role in planning his father’s coronation, set for May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey in London. Conversely, post-January 2020—when Harry and wife Meghan Markle stepped back as working members of the royal family—tensions have obviously only increased between Charles and Harry, evident never more so, perhaps, than right now, as the world eagerly anticipates the release of Harry’s book, Spare, on January 10, and Harry and Meghan’s Netflix docuseries, which is set to be released in December. If Spare is as explosive as it could be—the contents are pretty much completely unknown at this point, kept under secure lock and key—experts believe Charles could cut his younger son off completely, OK reports.

“No matter how carefully Harry shares the parts of his story involving others, there is still the very real risk of serious blowback from the institution and family,” Scobie says. “Palace aides recently told me about the ‘genuine fear’ amongst senior members that this book will cause irrevocable damage to reputations and relations. But, for Harry, [the book’s] larger intention appears to make that risk worth taking.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.