Just when it seemed a reconciliation between estranged brothers Prince William and Prince Harry was underway, news that their stepmother, Duchess Camilla, will be crowned queen has driven a new wedge between them.
For Harry, there has never been a bigger betrayal than his father cheating on his mother with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Even as a child, he learnt through Princess Diana’s tears to loathe Prince Charles’ true love.
And when Camilla married into the family in 2005, almost eight years after Diana’s tragic death, it was in the face of thinly veiled revulsion from young Harry.
At the time, Harry stood united with his older brother, as did the Queen, who refused to attend Charles’ 50th birthday if Camilla was there.
But in the years since, the family’s stance on Camilla has cooled considerably. So much so, the Queen, 95, announced on her Platinum Jubilee it’s her “sincere wish” that the Duchess of Cornwall become Queen Consort when Charles ascends the throne.
Previously, it was assumed Camilla, 74, would be Princess Consort, as Charles, 73, had promised she would never be made queen out of respect to Diana.
But for a while now, whispers had been growing that Charles wanted to reneg on his pledge. According to reports, the decision to change Camilla’s title was actually made five years ago, with the full support of Wills.
Around the same time, Harry, newly engaged to Meghan Markle, began to “cool considerably” towards William, 39.
“As the future king, William had to consider what was best for the monarchy and what was best for his father. Harry, on the other hand, has always led with his heart,” says a source. “Harry felt Queen Camilla was a direct insult to his mother’s memory.”
At press time, Harry had yet to publicly congratulate Camilla, which “speaks volumes” about how he feels, claims the source.
Charles reportedly phoned Harry, 37, to inform him of the news. Royal expert Phil Dampier says the Duke of Sussex was definitely left out of the decision-making.
“Increasingly, the Queen, Charles and William are all singing from the same song sheet and talking about the next moves for the monarchy,” Dampier tells New Idea.
“William is happy with the decision. He wants his father to be a happy king, which will make life easier for him and [Kate].
“We can assume Harry’s not happy about it. The rumour is that much of his book coming out later in the year will be about his mother, so it’s quite possible he will be critical of Camilla for breaking up his parents’ marriage. It’s another example of how the family rift is as bad as ever and not likely to improve soon.”