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Prince Harry realised 'something rotten at heart of royalness', Queen's biographer claims

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the annual Remembrance Sunday service at The Cenotaph on November 10, 2019 in London, England. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiegne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince Harry hinted at a rift with brother William last year, saying they were on different paths. Seen here in November 2019. (Getty Images)

Prince Harry “realised there was something rotten at the heart of royalness that is not for him” and so found a “new destiny” according to a royal biographer.

Robert Lacey, acclaimed biographer and historical consultant on The Crown, said Buckingham Palace “got it wrong” with Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle, before the couple stepped back from their royal duties.

Lacey was speaking to the Daily Mail ahead of the serialisation of his eagerly awaited book, Battle of Brothers, which tells the story of a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry.

Harry, 36, alluded to a change in his relationship with his brother in October 2019, when he said they were “on different paths”.

Discussing the rift, Lacey said: “Some say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter. It will blow over.’ But that’s not what historians will be saying in ten years’ time.

“If this breach between the brothers is not healed in some way it will come to stand with the Abdication crisis and the death of Diana as one of the traumas that changed the monarchy.

“There is time to change things in a positive direction, but at the moment the Palace is not working in that direction.”

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Read more: Six months since Megxit: Could Harry and Meghan ever come back?

The biographer, who wrote a 1977 study of the Queen called Majesty, told People earlier this year: “These two brothers — once inseparable and now separated by much more than mere distance — have been acting out the contradictions that go back into their childhoods and even before that: into their parents’ ill-fated marriage.

“We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family — but nothing so profound as this.”

Lacey, who had access to an insider who was at the Sandringham Summit, according to Tatler, also said the Palace treated Meghan like a “routine royal”.

However, he also suggested she was “difficult”, but gives her credit for being the only self-made millionaire in the Royal Family.

Lacey suggests the palace should have sat down with the Duchess of Sussex and spoken about what interested her, adding that failing to “hold onto” her “was a mistake”.

Lacey’s book comes hot on the heels of another royal biography this year. Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, tells the story of Harry and Meghan’s relationship and their decision to move back to North America.

The couple was initially quiet on the subject of the book, but Meghan’s lawyer issued a scathing putdown of it in court in September calling it “anodyne” and the product of “creative licence”.

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Read more: Meghan Markle says she is 'free' because 'flattery and criticism go down same drain'

The statement came as lawyers for the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline applied to be able to use part of the book in their defence as Meghan sues them for breach of copyright and privacy.

Despite her assertion, and the author’s claim that he has not spoken to Harry or Meghan about the book, a judge at the High Court ruled that the book can be used in the newspapers’ altered defence.

Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal life earlier this year, and now live in Santa Barbara, California, with their son Archie.

While they have not yet been able to launch the non-profit organisation they have planned because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been vocal on many topics, most recently the issue of structural racism in the UK.

William and his wife Kate continue their royal work in the UK, where they have been able to return to in-person engagements, albeit socially distanced.

They are still making video calls where visits are not possible.