It's no secret that Prince Harry and Prince William have had their differences over the past several years, following the Duke of Sussex's decision to step away from the royal family. While working on mending their relationship, there was reportedly one moment that had Harry "fighting back tears" when his brother refused to greet him at an official engagement.
According to royal author Robert Lacey's new book, Battle of Brothers, the incident occurred at the 2020 Commonwealth Day Service, which marked Harry and Meghan's final engagement as working members of the royal family.
Lacey claims the initial plan for the event was to have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk inside the church alongside the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, while Harry and Meghan took their seats ahead of them.
At the time, the Daily Mail reported Harry was "quite sensitive and emotional about it," and considering programs for the proceedings had already been handed out, their exclusion from the event was printed for the world to see.
"The only problem was that 2,000 orders of service had already been distributed round the Abbey, explaining that William and Kate would enter and process with the main royal party—and making no mention at all of Harry and Meghan," Lacey writes, per Newsweek. "So there was the snub in black and white—set out for all to see. Observers also noted that Harry's face was 'quite tense and unsmiling'—and that when William sat down close to him, he barely greeted his brother.
"Throughout the service, Meghan megawatted away with her best TV smile but, as the ceremony progressed, Harry appeared to grow gloomier. According to one observer, 'his accelerated blinking even suggested he might have been fighting back tears.'"
In the new book, Battle of Brothers: William and Harry — the Friendship and the Feuds, biographer Robert Lacey will “address the unique and complex relationship at the heart of the royal family’s recent woes,” according to a press release, per People. Set to be released later this month, the book will also put the two brother’s relationship into a historical context, examining how the “heir” and the “spare” dynamic has played out throughout history.
“Much reported on but little understood, Diana’s boys have lived under constant scrutiny since birth. Raised to be the closest of brothers, the last 18 months has seen a devastating breakdown of their once unbreakable bond,” reads the book’s synopsis. “With an unrivalled knowledge of court life and access to impeccable sources, Robert Lacey investigates the untold reality of the brothers’ relationship, explaining what happened when two sons were raised for vastly different futures and showing how the seeds of damage were sown as their parents’ marriage unravelled.”
While the brothers have never publicly spoken about their rift, Harry did allude to their growing apart in ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
"Part of this role and part of this job and this family being under the pressure its under, inevitably stuff happens," he told presenter Thomas Bradby. "But we're brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We're certainly on different paths at the moment but I’ll always be there for him and I know he’ll always be there for me."