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Princ Harry And Prince William Had A Brutal Fight At The Palace

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Royal documentaries are not known for being dramatic or lively outings.

Plonk a few talking heads in Old Boys ties in front of suitably posh fireplaces for some quotes; grab some file footage of the Yeoman Guards marching about the place; and find someone with a moderately plummy accent to do the voiceover and bish, bosh, bash, you’ve got an hour of tele to charm retired colonels and the commemorative plate collecting-set on your hands.

But we have long, long passed the age when the most exciting thing to occasionally cause a ripple in royal waters was, say, a racially-tinged clanger courtesy of Prince Philip or which tin pot dictator Prince Andrew was buddying up to.

Now, a new royal documentary about Princes William and Harry has become a flash point in the protracted and dispiriting feud between the brothers, with claims emerging that the elder prince pushed for potentially damaging footage to be cut from the special

Here’s what’s happened, so far. (Buckle up kids, it’s about to get a tad mucky here.)

Things started when the Mail on Sunday reported that writer Omid Scobie (who co-authored last year’s sympathetic Sussex biography Finding Freedom) had told the soon-to-air documentary Harry & William: What Went Wrong? that aides for William had briefed against Harry after the younger prince had spoken out in a 2019 TV interview, that is, they had planted stories about him.

The Mail quoted Scobie as having told the doco: “I would say that it was no coincidence that it was shortly after (the Sussexes’ controversial interview) aired, even the next day, there were source quotes that came from a senior aide at Kensington Palace saying that William was worried about his brother’s mental health.”

However, when the first hour-long episode ran this week, a key phrase was cut from Scobie’s comments after the palace warned producers that the claims could be defamatory.

“Kensington Palace is believed to have contacted the producers in relation to a ‘number’ of details,” the Daily Mail has reported. “One of these was a clear rebuttal of Mr Scobie’s suggestion that William had expressed a ‘concern’ about his brother’s mental health, which the author had no evidence to support.

“It is understood that after ‘carefully considering’ the palace’s request, ITV chose to remove any reference to mental health from the sequence, although they chose to keep in Mr Scobie’s comment about an alleged briefing from Kensington Palace relating to Harry.”
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Hopes for a brotherly reconciliation for Princes William and Harry have been reportedly dashed.

Royal documentaries are not known for being dramatic or lively outings.

Plonk a few talking heads in Old Boys ties in front of suitably posh fireplaces for some quotes; grab some file footage of the Yeoman Guards marching about the place; and find someone with a moderately plummy accent to do the voiceover and bish, bosh, bash, you’ve got an hour of tele to charm retired colonels and the commemorative plate collecting-set on your hands.

But we have long, long passed the age when the most exciting thing to occasionally cause a ripple in royal waters was, say, a racially-tinged clanger courtesy of Prince Philip or which tin pot dictator Prince Andrew was buddying up to.

Now, a new royal documentary about Princes William and Harry has become a flash point in the protracted and dispiriting feud between the brothers, with claims emerging that the elder prince pushed for potentially damaging footage to be cut from the special.

RELATED: Harry’s demand over statue unveiling

Prince Harry and Prince William attend the unveiling of a statue of their mother, Princess Diana at The Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace, London on July 1, 2021. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/AFP.
Prince Harry and Prince William attend the unveiling of a statue of their mother, Princess Diana at The Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace, London on July 1, 2021. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/AFP.Source:AFP

Here’s what’s happened, so far. (Buckle up kids, it’s about to get a tad mucky here.)

Things started when the Mail on Sunday reported that writer Omid Scobie (who co-authored last year’s sympathetic Sussex biography Finding Freedom) had told the soon-to-air documentary Harry & William: What Went Wrong? that aides for William had briefed against Harry after the younger prince had spoken out in a 2019 TV interview, that is, they had planted stories about him.

The Mail quoted Scobie as having told the doco: “I would say that it was no coincidence that it was shortly after (the Sussexes’ controversial interview) aired, even the next day, there were source quotes that came from a senior aide at Kensington Palace saying that William was worried about his brother’s mental health.”

However, when the first hour-long episode ran this week, a key phrase was cut from Scobie’s comments after the palace warned producers that the claims could be defamatory.

“Kensington Palace is believed to have contacted the producers in relation to a ‘number’ of details,” the Daily Mail has reported. “One of these was a clear rebuttal of Mr Scobie’s suggestion that William had expressed a ‘concern’ about his brother’s mental health, which the author had no evidence to support.

“It is understood that after ‘carefully considering’ the palace’s request, ITV chose to remove any reference to mental health from the sequence, although they chose to keep in Mr Scobie’s comment about an alleged briefing from Kensington Palace relating to Harry.”

RELATED: Meghan’s nightmare UK return revealed

Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie. Supplied
Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie. SuppliedSource:Supplied

What makes Kensington Palace’s intervention here so noteworthy isn’t whether or not there is any substance to Scobie’s claims but the fact that William (or at least his staff) has made such a demonstrable, clear-cut move to push back against the pro-Sussex line.

This new-found willingness to go on the offensive looks like a departure from the much more circumspect line the Cambridges have taken thus far.

For years now, both William and Harry’s ‘sides’, so to speak, have played a similar game, with aides feeding friendly journalists quotes to push their chosen narrative or interpretation of events. It was a civil war that was fought in the shadows via press proxies, all in a depressing repeat of their parents’ ‘War of the Wales’, which dominated UK media in the 90s.

By and large, the royal family’s approach, ostensibly at least, has been one of purse-lipped silence in the face of the far more emotionally incontinent Sussexes.

But that royal willingness to absorb the media and PR blows from those aligned with the renegade couples seems to be coming to an abrupt end with the events around this documentary suggesting a new willingness to trade far more public blows.

That this minor storm is happening less than a week after Harry was standing beside his brother to unveil the statue of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales is also significant.

On July 1, the men were photographed chatting and actually smiling at one another – for the first time in years – as they debuted the controversial Ian Rank-Broadley tribute to their mother in the gardens of Kensington Palace.

That the men managed to put on a good show for the brief outing was hardly enough to start flinging the ‘r’ word around (reconciliation) but at least it looked like a start. Seeing them united by a wish to keep the focus on Diana on the day looked like the most tentative of baby steps away from all the finger-pointing and angry foot-stomping of late.

However, that brief ceasefire does not appear to have lasted very long.

Whatever patience William might have had to stay mutely on the sidelines as Sussex-related squalls have raged in the media seems to have worn thin in recent months.

Consider that he has been the only member of the royal house to openly refute the claims raised by Harry and Meghan during the bombshell Oprah Winfrey TV interview of palace racism, with the 38-year-old firmly telling reporters “we’re very much not a racist family”.

This move echoes the news, first reported in June, that the Queen’s Buckingham Palace team had decided to jettison their long held ‘never complain, never explain’ policy after the PR mess that was the naming of Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet in early June

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