Andrew Morton: ‘Diana would be devastated to see Harry and William fall out’

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There is now a huge question mark hanging over the future of the Royal Family. Harry hasn’t just burned his bridges with his family – he’s buried the ashes.

There is no way back for the couple now. By striking out on their own and doing things their way, the Sussexes have blindsided the Royal Family in the way Diana did when she did her Panorama interview in 1995.

To lose two hugely popular figures in the same year that Prince Andrew was forced to step down has also been catastrophic for the Queen.

Harry and Meghan have been pretty combative with the media but this book is favourable to them.

It quotes a friend of Harry and Meghan calling some of the old guard at Buckingham Palace “vipers”, just as Diana also talked about the “men in grey” and people in the background trying to torpedo her projects.

Yet Diana, who doted on both of her sons, would be devastated to witness the breakdown of Harry’s relationship with William.

William was always destined to be King – a lonely job which can be a great burden. Only someone like Harry, who has lived his whole life alongside his much-loved brother, can understand the onerous duties and responsibilities William will face.

Diana took comfort from the fact Harry would help shoulder this burden. A loyal lieutenant, in the way Princess Margaret was to the Queen.

For a while, there seemed to be no question this would be the case: the brothers got on like a house on fire.

They had a unique relationship. No one else can understand the pain of losing your mum at such a young age, then having to walk behind her coffin with the world watching. No matter how much Harry and William love their wives, neither woman can truly know what this felt like.

Now, people are more likely to draw comparisons with Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and the Queen’s dad George VI, who became King as a result.

George had once idolised his older brother, but the abdication irreparably damaged their relationship and they barely spoke again.

Of course, Meghan is now blamed for Harry’s departure in the way Wallis was blamed for the abdication. It’s undoubtedly sexist.

But if William and Harry’s relationship continues down this path, it will be a source of great regret to them both for the rest of their lives.

While there’s no doubt Diana would be very upset and distressed at the way things have turned out between her beloved sons, it’s impossible to ignore the parallels between Harry and his mum.

Like Diana, Harry is reckless and impatient in the face of turmoil.

When I worked on Diana’s biography, she wanted it to be rushed out in weeks. When the book came out, she had to endure an awful lot of attacks from inside the Royal Family.

She was rather isolated. She wrote to me to say she knew a volcano was about to erupt but she was prepared, because it would give her freedom.

In the end, she was thrilled. Despite the backlash, she told me her only regret was she hadn’t done it sooner.

Harry was similarly hasty over the royal split. He seemed to want to sort out his detached life in 20 minutes.

Sadly, I’m not sure he’ll ever be content with his newfound freedom if he doesn’t reconcile with William.

Diana would understand why Harry and Meghan wanted to get out of what can essentially be a very toxic environment.

But, just like Diana, Harry and Meghan’s popularity was their undoing. To use a footballing analogy, the monarchy wanted them playing in the Championship when all three saw themselves in the Champions League.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to work out there were huge tensions between Meghan and future queen Kate.

Kate spent her childhood in competition with her sister, Pippa. Then along comes an accomplished, confident, popular American woman and she’s fighting for the spotlight again.

In that sense, Meghan was Kate’s worst nightmare.

I don’t think Harry or Meghan gave royal life long enough. A perfect solution would have been for them to be the international arm of The Firm, with domestic duties left to William and Kate.

Harry has already been open about his mental health battles following Diana’s death but the psychological toll on both men will be huge if they don’t repair their relationship.

The Royal Family has lost out massively, too. If they’d carved out a meaningful role for Harry and Meghan, they’d have had a real chance to modernise. Now it’s like we’ve stepped in the Windsor time machine, back to the pre-Diana days of the 1970s.

Journalist Andrew Morton sent shockwaves through the Royal Family in 1992 with his book Diana: Her True Story. After the princess’ tragic death in 1997, it was revealed that she had been his source.

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