What a difference a year makes.
This time last year, as Prince William traveled to America to present the Earthshot Prize winners with their awards, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry comprehensively stole their thunder by releasing a trailer for their forthcoming Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan.
William was infuriated by his brother’s limelight-stealing move, but there wasn’t much he could do other than insist he wouldn’t be distracted.
This year William arrived in Singapore for the 2023 edition of the environmental prize and held separate bilateral meetings with the country’s Prime Minister and President. Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, flew to Las Vegas for a Katy Perry concert.
Whether or not Harry and Meghan were seeking to once again distract attention from day one of William’s big foreign tour (the actual ceremony is Tuesday) by making a rare joint public appearance Sunday night is, of course, anyone’s guess.
But if they were, they failed. Pretty much all the attention Meghan and Harry got was to be criticized on social media for travelling to the gig by private jet.
Others commented that Harry, a known aficionado of EDM, looked bored stupid watching Perry belt out teeny-bopper hits like “Roar.”
William, meanwhile, was all action in Singapore, hailing the country’s “bold vision to be a leader for environmental innovation,” going out in a dragon boat on the epic Kallang River with a British team and then scooting off for one meeting with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and another with the country’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, before closing his day with a speech to the United for Wildlife Global Summit, where he declared: “The focus of my visit this week is how we collectively overcome our planet’s greatest environmental challenges.”
William is unambiguously positioning himself as a global leader on one of the most challenging and urgent questions of our time, while his brother seems to be relegated to the role of Meghan’s (slightly miserable) plus one.
The flurry of appearances by both brothers came after a weekend of leaks and briefings against Harry, which many will suspect come from the heart of the palace machine.
First, the Daily Telegraph reported that Harry and Charles were barely speaking, such was Charles’ ongoing fury at Harry for attacking Camilla in his memoir, then the British Sunday Times reported that Harry would not be attending King Charles’ 75th birthday this month—despite having, apparently, been invited.
A source whom the Sunday Times said had “recently spent time with the royal family in Scotland” was quoted as saying: “The family has firmly shut the door on them for the time being, because of the documentary and the book. Before those, there was always the hope that some things might be mended. The king will be faster to forgive than the family because Harry is his son, but the door is still more shut than ajar at the moment.”