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Is reconciliation “the only way forward”?
Prince Harry’s claim that he has enough material to write a second memoir is being seen as a threat to King Charles, Prince William, and the rest of the royal family.
“Right now, he’s holding a gun to their heads,” a royal source tells today’s UK Sunday Times of Harry. “And nobody knows what will be acceptable to him as appeasement. His goalposts are constantly shifting and the family is always going to question some of his versions of events.”
However, sources speaking to the paper also say that a reconciliation is “the only way forward” for the royal family—if both sides can wave the white flag.
A royal source, “who has the king’s ear and who knows the Sussexes well,” believes a reconciliation meeting is possible, but would need to happen before the May 6 coronation.
“It’s going to take flexibility on all sides, but it can be done, it’s fixable,” the source told the paper. “It needs Harry over here, in the room with the King and Prince of Wales, a couple of other family members, some of ‘his people’ he trusts who always had his back, so he doesn’t think he’s being ambushed. Someone like Elf [Ed Lane Fox, Harry’s former private secretary] and Christopher [Lord Geidt, the late Queen’s former private secretary who advised the Sussexes]. Both sides need to hold their hands up and admit we didn’t get everything right, and we got a lot wrong, and we have to say to him ‘We understand the pain you’ve been through.’ The King can do it.”
William, who is Harry’s true focus of fury in the memoir—from fights to so many alleged slights—”is loyal to the throne and understands what needs to be done for the country,” the source added. “Not everyone here behaved well, but Harry’s got to be able to sit down and say ‘We didn’t behave well either.’ That takes a lot of academic flexibility, which Harry isn’t great at.”
A close friend of both William and Harry’s believes a reconciliation is a must, telling the paper, “The silence for now has been the right thing, but this is not going to go away. This has to be resolved and neutralized, so that when William has the top job, his brother isn’t still sniping from the sidelines. I genuinely don’t think this is the end of things. Harry simply cannot do without his brother.”
Now, there is a need for speed, the source said: “We’ve got to move on it, and get it done by April. Then, we need to get the wives in. The King needs a clear run for the coronation.”
“They have to invite them in before the coronation, or it will become such a circus and distraction,” another source told the paper.
The paper says the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, may be the best mediator.
The paper says chief among the topics at any royal summit would be an insistence that Harry stop dishing on the family. A source told the paper: “They have to now be quiet and get on with their thing in America and Harry has got to realize that it might all go down better there, but here in the UK, people have taken it very badly. You’ve said your piece, but why are you trying to torch the whole house?”
Charles is apparently miffed that Harry didn’t mention the weekly care packages he sent him while Harry was on active duty as a soldier. “He used to delight in sending Harry care packages to Afghanistan. He would send a weekly package, injected with humor and his favorite things. He thought long and hard about them,” says the friend. “Why doesn’t Harry want the world to see that side of his father?”
After the tumult of the last few days—the leaks, the lurid stories, the TV interviews, the threat of more revelations to come—the “wishful thinking” at the palace, the paper says, is that Harry will shut up. However, the issue of titles for Archie and Lilibet, Harry and Meghan’s children, remains unresolved. They should be prince and princess respectively, but are still known as “Master” and “Miss Mountbatten-Windsor” on the royal family’s website.
“They’re buoyed that the tide has turned here on Harry and people think it’s all so petty. They feel vindicated that many of the public are not taking it all in.“
— Royal source
The Times points out that Harry, in two TV interviews this week, did not dismiss a future role promoting the royals in the Commonwealth. Not so fast, a source told the Times: “In time, perhaps. There could still be an opportunity down the road, but it will need time for them to settle down and be quiet.”
Whatever, the palace is feeling pretty OK at the end of Harry’s storm of revelation and titillation. “They’re buoyed that the tide has turned here on Harry and people think it’s all so petty. They feel vindicated that much of the public are not taking it all in.”
A former royal aide added: “It’s a bump in the road. It’s not an abdication. When the Princess of Wales died, people said it would lead to the end of the monarchy. It didn’t. This is a knock, it’s not Armageddon.”
Delivering the bad news
Conflicting with the Times’ suggestion, noted above, that the royals are thinking about a peace conclave with Harry is a story in the Mail on Sunday which suggests that what is actually occupying minds at the palace this weekend is who can be made to do the not-inviting-of-Harry to the coronation.
Palace sources are saying it’s the government’s call, and that Rishi Sunak should step up and “do a Churchill” (Winston forbad the former Edward VIII, who abdicated, from attending Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953).
The government is saying the palace can do their own dirty work.
The paper’s palace source, described as “well-placed,” said: “The coronation is a state event and funded by the state. So, in the same way that Winston Churchill advised the Duke of Windsor to stay away [from Elizabeth II’s Coronation]the decision of whether to invite Harry, who has no official royal role and no state function at the ceremony, will be down to the government rather than just his father.”
Not so fast, said the government, with a source briefing: “Traditionally, the royal household provides us with the number of royal guests, without giving their identity, and we construct the arrangements on that basis.”
A fascinating report in the Daily Telegraph this weekend suggested that tension between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton was fueled by the fact that Kate got offered all the best dresses from top designers first, with Meghan only getting the rejects.
The reporter Camilla Tominey (who has also responded to being singled out for criticism in Harry’s book) said that Meghan was particularly aghast at such humiliating treatment in part because, owing to her previous TV career and her website, The Tigshe used to get VIP treatment from designers.
But, the report said, the problem once again came down to the “pecking order, and Kate always appeared to get first dibs on designers.”
Erdem seems to have been a particular flashpoint, with the label being a favorite of Kate and Meghan, Tominey writes, saying: “Erdem Moralıoğlu was one of Meghan’s absolute favorites, but even after Harry had put a ring on it, Kate, who was already a client, continued to get priority.”
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Missed any of our Harry memoir coverage? Here you go:
Pre-publication of book
Harry: I lost my virginity to an older woman who spanked me
Harry says ‘red mist’ descended on William in dog bowl brawl
All Harry’s memoir revelations so far—and one big omission
William ‘burning,’ Charles ‘heartbroken’ by memoir
Harry says royals are ‘abusers’ he wants to reconcile with
Harry: Camilla was dangerous, and left ‘bodies in the street’
Harry: Diana would have been ‘heartbroken’ over William’s behavior
All Prince Harry’s revelations ‘Spare’ no one, including himself
When Meghan told Harry: ‘I don’t want to live any more’
Kate told Meghan: ‘I know I was the one that made you cry’
‘Spare’ is a royal riot, but what does Harry really want?
Camilla’s friends insist: She didn’t plan to be queen
After the Harry hurricane, the royals attempt ‘business as usual’
Harry: Think this is bad? You should see what I left out
One step at a time
There is a sense of rather desperately trying to find sticks to beat Harry with this weekend as the truly outrageous sections of his memoir have been thoroughly excavated by now. As a somewhat confected case in point, witness the Telegraph’s enthusiastic endorsement of the opinion of Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection, who claims that Harry has put the royal family’s safety at risk by describing, for example, how many steps there are in a staircase at Clarence House. In the offending section highlighted by the telegraph, Harry describes going down a “long corridor” and “up the creaky staircase, which rose three steps before jogging right, up another twelve steps, then jogged right again.”
Davies says: “Historically, there have always been people who have tried to access parts of royal palaces. Whether they are fixated individuals with mental health problems or terrorists, this information could prove very useful.”
‘Baffled‘ Kate moves on from Harry drama
The Daily Beast reported this week that the strategy emerging from the royals over Harry’s book is becoming very clear: keep calm and carry on. This week, Charles, William and Kate were all out busily pressing the flesh as if nothing had happened, buoyed by polls showing Harry’s book has made him extremely unpopular in the UK
Now a report in the Mirror says Kate has “dismissed” and “already moved on” from the drama, and is focused on the launch of a new early years campaign in the coming weeks. Sources said she was “baffled” by Harry’s attacks on her but was “totally immersed” in her work and therefore hadn’t “taken much notice.”
A royal source said: “Of course there have been other distractions but the princess has had far more important things on her mind. It’s an important and exciting time. “The campaign she has been working on really is the result of several months behind the scenes (and) will launch a new three to five year program.”
This week in royal history
On Tuesday, January 17, it will be a happy 9th birthday to Mia, Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughter. Zara is Princess Anne’s daughter. Musclebound ex-rugby player Mike was recently seen in Speedos on the ITV celebs-in-the-jungle show, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
Can a royal reconciliation really be brokered, and if so how quickly? What else was Harry planning on dishing on Willy and Charles that he decided not to? What might he be saving up for a second volume of memoirs?
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