Britain’s Royal Family has had quite the bumpy 2020 and we’re barely two weeks into the new year.
First, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, announced that they plan to step back from senior royal duties, a statement that stunned the public and, apparently, the rest of the royal family.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they wrote in an official Instagram post. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”
Since then, the media has had a field day speculating about possible feuds behind royal closed doors, including animosity between Prince Harry and his older brother Prince William. It looks like the rumors reached a boiling point because the royal brothers decided to release a rare joint statement addressing the gossip.
“Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge,” the statement reads. “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”
The royals released the statement following a story published by The Sunday Times out of London that claimed Prince William feels separated from his brother. An unnamed source went so far as to share an alleged statement from Prince William: “I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that anymore; we’re separate entities.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have faced increased public attention since their 2018 wedding and the birth of their first child, Archie, on May 6, 2019. British newspapers have printed countless negative stories about Harry and Meghan. In October 2019, the royal couple filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday newspaper, which published private letters from Prince Harry and Meghan.
At that time, Prince Harry released an official statement comparing the scrutiny and false stories to what his mother Princess Diana of Wales endured over the course of her life as a royal.
“[M]y deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Queen Elizabeth II has called a “summit” of the royal family on Monday, Jan. 13 to discuss the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s changing role in the monarchy and how it will affect the family.