Prince Harry claimed in the fifth episode of his new Netflix series that the palace put out a false, joint statement to correct “bullying” reports directed at Prince William during the royal family’s crisis talks surrounding Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back as working royals in January 2020.
After the meetings, which took place at a private residence of the royal family called Sandringham House, Harry said that “a story came out that part of the reason why Meghan and I were leaving was because William had bullied us out.”
“And once I got in the car after the meeting, I was told about a joint statement that had been put out in my name and my brother’s name squashing the story about him bullying us out of the family,” the Duke of Sussex claimed.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that.”
“And I rang M and I told her and she burst into floods of tears. Because within four hours they were happy to lie to protect my brother and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us,” he said.
“Suddenly what clicked in my head was, ‘It’s never gonna stop,’” Meghan said. “Every rumor, every negative thing, every lie, everything that I knew wasn’t true, and that the palace knew wasn’t true and internally they knew wasn’t true ― that was just being allowed to fester.”
The joint statement, which was published on Jan. 13, 2020, was viewed by HuffPost at the time as a standout show of solidarity between the brothers, noting that it is “extremely rare for the royals to publicly issue a personal rebuke on an individual story, especially in a joint statement. The royal family rarely comments on the veracity of reports written about them.”
Harry added in episode five of “Harry & Meghan” that “the saddest part of it was this wedge created between me and my brother, so that he’s now on the institution’s side.”
“And I get, part of that I get. I understand right?” the Duke of Sussex added. “That’s his inheritance, so to some extent it’s already ingrained in him that part of his responsibility is the survivability and the continuation of this institution.”
Earlier episodes alluded to bitterness between the two brothers and the relationship between the royals and the press.
Harry previously spoke of the “dirty game” that the palace and media play.
“There’s a hierarchy of the family,” the duke says. “You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories.”
Meghan also claimed that the palace lied about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah last year.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she said at the time.
The relationship between the brothers has privately and publicly crumbled over the years, something Harry spoke about in an interview with Tom Bradby in 2019.
“We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me,” the Duke of Sussex said in an interview for the documentary “ITV’s Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.”
“We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy, but I love him dearly,” Harry added. “The majority of the stuff is created out of nothing, but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.”
More revelations from “Harry & Meghan:”
- Prince Harry called wearing a Nazi uniform “one of the biggest mistakes” of his life.
- Meghan recalled her awkward first meeting with Prince William and Kate Middleton.
- The Duchess of Sussex said that growing up, her mom was mistaken as her nanny.
- Meghan said the couple’s joint interview after their engagement was “rehearsed” and like an “orchestrated reality show.”
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met over Instagram ― and there was a funny filter involved.