It seems like the Prince of Wales title isn’t the only thing Prince William has inherited from his father, King Charles III: according to multiple royal experts, they both share a temper (two words, at least in regards to Charles—fountain pen). One instance that left William furious? The alleged treatment by Charles of the Queen’s former private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, which ultimately led to Geidt quitting his role in 2017 after a serious falling out with the future king. The Mirror reports William was angered by how the entire situation went down, so much so that he took his complaints all the way up to the head of Her late Majesty’s household, the then Lord Chamberlain, Earl Peel.
“William was furious,” according to Valentine Low’s new book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown. “He spoke to his grandmother and father. He felt Christopher had worked to modernize the institution and bring it closer together. He was concerned about the way it had been handled, and how Christopher had been treated. He was really angry about it, not necessarily because it was the wrong decision. He just thought it was handled very unkindly for a man who was a pillar of the institution of the monarchy but had also played an incredibly important role when the coalition government had been formed. It just seemed like the wrong thing to do to unceremoniously chuck somebody out for a reason that had nothing to do with what was the core part of Christopher’s job, which he was still doing really, really well.”
A source told The Daily Mail that Geidt’s departure came as a “great shock,” and many believe that, had he not been ousted, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would have never left their roles as working members of the royal family.
“He had his finger on the pulse and people believe he would have found a way to preempt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure, or at least found a way to make things work more amicably,” a source says.
The Geidt situation isn’t the only time Charles and William have had a row. A fiery temper is a trait both share—royal expert Penny Junor, who has known Charles for three decades, has said of the monarch “[he] has a terrible temper and has a great tendency to feel sorry for himself.” Fellow royal expert Tina Brown described Charles as “emotional,” and, according to The Daily Express, William’s biographer Robert Jobson describes him the exact same way.
“[William’s] fiery temper can blow up at any time—usually when he’s frustrated or when it comes to issues regarding his family,” Jobson writes. “Even senior members of his circle will ‘check which way the wind is blowing’ before becoming too self-assured in his presence or raising problematic issues that might be better addressed at another time. Other insiders confide that William can be an emotional character who is, on occasion, ‘difficult to handle.’”
Of Charles, Low quotes a former member of Charles’ staff as saying “he had strong opinions. He also had a proper temper on him, which was quite fun. He would rarely direct it at the individual. It would be about something, and he would lose his temper. He would throw something. He would go from zero to 60 in a flash, then back down again.”
Yet despite both having a propensity for temperamental outbursts, according to The Daily Express, William’s temper even shocked Charles.
“Sometimes, the level of William’s belligerence has shocked his father, who’s always loathed confrontation,” Jobson writes. “The result is that Charles tends to tread carefully when dealing with his heir and fails to pull him up on his lack of respect.”
Case in point, apparently, the Geidt situation.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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