A source claims Harry feared he would become irrelevant once Prince George turned 18
The Duke of Sussex harboured a long-held fear his time was running out and once Prince George turned 18 he would become irrelevant, a source has claimed. They said: “He had this thing that he had a shelf life. He was fixated [on] this. He would compare himself with his uncle [Prince Andrew]. He would say, ‘I have this time to make this impact. Because I can’.”
The source told The Times after Prince George turned 18 Harry believed: “‘Then I will be the also-ran’. He was genuinely thinking of it as, ‘I have this platform now, for a limited amount of time. I want to move forward, move forward’.”
According to the same source, Harry’s staff assured him he was a very different person to his uncle Prince Andrew. The Times reports them telling him: “You can still have an impact in your forties, fifties, even longer. So long as you set the right foundations now.”
However, the source claimed Harry never saw it in this way.
The claims come amid speculation over whether Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, might be brought back into the fold of the Royal Family.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s children Archie and Lilibet remain a plain Master and Miss on the royal website rather than prince and princess, but the King’s spokesman pledged to update it “as and when we get information”.
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Russell Myers, Royal Editor at The Mirror, claimed Harry likely has “no way back” into the close circle of the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have remained largely distanced from senior members of the firm since they stepped back from royal duties in 2020.
Mr Myers claimed Harry’s “conduct” over the last couple of years, including an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey which revealed intimate details of his royal life, have caused a great “wound” in his relationship with the extended Royal Family.
Mr Myers discussed the Duke of Sussex during an appearance on The Royal Beat on True Royalty TV.
The royal commentator said: “The olive branch being extended by the King in his statement, the fact William invited them to Windsor – these are sticking plasters on a great wound that he has had a huge hand in.”
He asked: “Is he [now] really regretting his conduct over the last couple of years? I don’t know where they go from here, and I can only see it getting worse because of this book.”
Publisher Random House is set to publish a memoir co-written by Harry which the Duke has vowed will be an intimate account of his life.
Harry said in an announcement about the book: “I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
He said he planned to write the book not as the Prince he was born, but as the man he has become.
Last week Harry sat behind his father King Charles III at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The seating arrangement was noted as a snub by some, but royal commentators have claimed it was a move to signal King Charles III’s bond with his youngest son.
Christina Garibaldi and Christine Ross, hosts of the Royally Us podcast, argued the new monarch wanted his son “close”.
Ms Garibaldi said: “A lot of people were saying it was a snub to have him [Harry] behind King Charles at Westminster Abbey. A lot of people were also saying he wasn’t singing ‘God Save The King’. There’s always this sort of speculation.”
Ms Ross added: “I actually think Prince Harry being right behind his father kept them quite close. That front row was the Queen’s children who were bearing tremendous grief — this was their mother.
“And I actually think Harry being behind his father was actually a comfort for King Charles.”
The hosts also spoke to royal historian and commentator Gareth Russell who argued Harry and Meghan were given a “place of honour” at the state funeral. He said: “That’s the etiquette. If you know what the etiquette is, it actually is a place of honour. To be the one behind the King is actually a sign of favour.”
In 2020, Harry spoken of his sadness at being forced to give up his royal duties in a deal with Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, saying there was no other option if he and Meghan were to seek an independent future.
It followed an announcement the Sussexes would no longer be working members of the monarchy, no longer use their Royal Highness titles and would pay their own way in life.
The arrangement ended a crisis the couple sparked when they announced they wanted to cut down on official engagements and spend more time in North America while remaining active royals.
Harry said at the time: “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations without public funding. Sadly, that wasn’t possible.”
He added: “I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am, or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”