William and Harry appearing together at the unveiling of Princess Diana‘s statue would be nothing more than ‘a superficial gesture’ if the warring brothers don’t also hold serious talks, a royal expert has claimed.
The pair will both appear at a ceremony at Kensington Palace next Thursday to commemorate their mother, but the event has been overshadowed by the growing tension between them.
The row has intensified in recent weeks following the birth of Harry and Meghan’s daughter, Lilibet – the name Prince Philip affectionately used for the Queen.
Claims from the BBC then followed that the monarch had not been consulted, but the couple’s lawyers said it was ‘false and defamatory’ to suggest they did not discuss using the name with Her Majesty.
Lilibet has not been seen in public yet, although the Queen has reportedly met her over a video call.
Other recent family rows include Meghan’s revelation that Kate Middleton made her cry, plus recent reports that William ‘threw his brother out’ following an angry phone conversation over claims Meghan was bullying palace staff in 2018.
It was claimed last night that Kate will help the brothers put on a united front, having been involved in the project since the beginning.
But historian and royal expert Robert Lacey says the meeting needs to have far more substance than just appearing for the cameras if the rift is to begin to heal.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘Surely when they’re gathered together to honour their mother and what Diana stood for, that will be the time when we can hope for some sort of reconciliation and serious talk.
‘Otherwise if they just appear together in public in front of the statue and there’s nothing more, I think we would rightly conclude that it’s a superficial gesture.’
Prince William and Harry will put differences aside to attend the unveiling of a new statue of their mother next week
It comes after it was claimed Kate and William did not have a sit-down conversation with Harry after Prince Philip’s funeral because they feared details would be leaked
Mr Lacey also reflected on the brothers’ recent appearance at their grandfather, Prince Philip’s funeral, and how their relationship has altered since Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
‘A funeral would be when you would hope brothers thinking of other things, honouring their grandfather, would come together,’ he said.
‘I’m not saying when they walked together across that courtyard it was fake. As we saw, Kate rather skillfully brought the two together, but apparently nothing came of it once they got inside.
‘Certainly the reports they had a big family sit down were sadly denied on both sides.’
The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex have barely spoken over the last few months but have called a truce ahead of the Diana statue unveiling.
The two of them, plus Kate, are reportedly going to talk together on what would have been the Princess of Wales’ 60th birthday.
Harry and William will make separate speeches as they pay tribute to their mother’s legacy.
They will also thank sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley for creating the statue, which has been in progress since 2017.
A royal source told the Mirror: ‘The Duchess has seen this project evolve from its conception and now to the finished article and undoubtedly wants to be there to support her husband.
‘No doubt there will be tensions between the Cambridges and Harry, but they all recognise that despite the obvious and deep rooted issues between them, they want the day to be solely about the Princess of Wales’s enduring legacy.’
The pair will both appear at a ceremony at Kensington Palace next Thursday to commemorate their mother, pictured
The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured at the Natural History Museum on Tuesday) reportedly agreed to attend the ceremony at Kensington Palace next Thursday
Harry made clear to the world in his interview with Oprah Winfrey he considered his family’s response to Meghan to have been essentially ‘racist’
Next Thursday will be just the second time the Cambridges have come face to face with the Duke of Sussex since the bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview.
They shared a brief word straight after Prince Philip’s funeral in April but only touched on the service to the Queen’s husband.
Mr Lacey claimed in his new biography the three did not have a sit down chat because they feared what was said would be leaked to the US press.
The Royal historian made the revelation in an updated version of Battle of the Brothers.
Mr Lacey wrote: ‘They told friends that they could see no point in talking to Harry since any discussion of substance would go straight back to Meghan to be leaked via Oprah [Winfrey] or some other tentacle of the Sussex network.’
Instead, Prince Charles is said to have gone back to his home in Wales whilst Kate and William went to Kensington Palace to put their children to bed.
Mr Lacey also said it was ‘not by accident’ neither Princess Anne nor the Countess of Wessex – Prince Edward’s wife – spoke in public with Prince Harry at the funeral.
Meanwhile, it was claimed yesterday that Harry could arrive in the UK in the next few hours, and will stay at a ‘Covid-secure’ Frogmore Cottage with Princess Eugenie and her family.
It is understood that the Duke, 36, will stay in self-contained accommodation at the royal home in Windsor when he jets back from the US.
Prince William and Prince Harry during the ceremonial procession at the funeral of their grandfather
Historian and royal expert Robert Lacey says next week’s meeting needs to have far more substance than just appearing for the cameras if the rift is to begin to heal
He could make the journey within the next 24 hours, in order to serve out his ‘amber list’ quarantine at Frogmore ahead of the unveiling, on July 1.
Frogmore Cottage was initially gifted to Harry and Meghan by the Queen after the couple’s wedding.
But they gave up the property after dramatically quitting frontline royal duties and moving to the US.
The keys were later handed to Princess Eugenie, who is living there with husband Jack Brooksbank and their recently born first child August.
According to the Sun, the house has been divided into two parts to make it Covid safe for Harry’s arrival.
A source told the paper: ‘Eugenie and Jack were handed the keys last year and told they could use it while Harry and Meghan were in America.
‘The cottage is now literally split into two, meaning Harry can isolate in one half of the house without ever coming into contact with his cousin and her family.’