Prince Harry Rejected a Meetup with Prince William in a Blunt, Two-Word Text

Initially game to talking face-to-face, Harry grew worried of leaks from the inside, a new book claims.

Prince William and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

2019 seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s difficult to forget Prince Harry’s (as well as Meghan Markle’s) interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby while on a royal tour in South Africa. In that interview, Harry famously told Bradby that he and Meghan were “struggling” with some of the pressures of being working members of the royal family and revealed that his relationship with brother Prince William experienced “good days” and “bad days.”

After the interview aired, William reached out to his brother via WhatsApp and asked him to meet, according to Valentine Low’s new book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown, per The Mirror. But Harry—who was initially open to the meetup—ultimately rejected the meeting with a blunt two-word response, the book claims.

“The day after the documentary aired, William WhatsApped his brother to ask if he could come and see him,” Low writes in the book. “Initially, Harry was in favor. Then he spoke to his brother again and asked him whom he would tell. William explained that he’d have to clear his schedule, which would mean telling his private secretary.”

Growing concerned that news of their meeting would be leaked by royal staff, Harry replied, simply, “Don’t come.”

“He was so concerned that William’s team would leak the visit to the press that he would rather not see his brother than risk it getting into the papers,” Low writes.

The book adds that “the failure to meet face-to-face came as ‘heartbreaking’ news to people close to both brothers and highlighted how some members of The Firm had come to find it difficult to communicate directly amid high levels of scrutiny,” The Mirror reports.

Just months later, in January 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped back as working members of the royal family, and the brothers’ rift has unfortunately only deepened. They were able to spend time together following the death of their grandmother the Queen last month and delighted royal followers pushing for peace when both brothers and their wives carried out a joint walkabout at Windsor together two days after Her late Majesty’s death.

“Any talk of a truce between the Prince and the Duke would only be temporary,” a royal insider tells The Mirror, adding that working members of the royal family are waiting with bated breath for the release of Harry’s upcoming memoir. “There is still a serious amount of distrust in the air and there hasn’t been any cause for that to change. The feeling is very much that there is little point in pursuing a repair in relations until all the cards are on the table.” 

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.