The Duke of Sussex was determined to make an impact before Prince George turned 18 as he worried he would become “irrelevant” after that, a new book has claimed.
A forthcoming book by The Times’ royal correspondent Valentine Low claims that Prince Harry was frustrated that his advisers “were holding him back” when he wanted to get involved in the same areas as his brother, the Prince of Wales.
In an excerpt published in The Times, Low spoke to members of the royal household for his book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown and was reportedly told that Harry held a long-time “fear that his time was running out” while he was still a working royal.
He quotes an insider as saying: “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’. Until George turns 18, was the way he was thinking about it. ‘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.’”
Efforts by the Duke’s staff to reassure him that he would still have an impact well into his later years if he “set the right foundations now” did little to assuage his concerns, the book claims.
Harry’s desire to cement his legacy in the same areas as Prince William “could lead to tensions”, Low writes, claiming that some of his advisers “spent much of their time talking him down… because it would not fit into the bigger picture of what the three of them – William, Kate and Harry – were trying to achieve”.
Low also claims that Harry had a deep “mistrust of the courtiers at Buckingham Palace and his father’s palace”.
The Duke’s grievances with the British tabloid press have been long-standing, but his “constant battles with the media” reportedly led to tensions with his own staff if he believed they weren’t on his side.
Low quotes a source as saying: “He would use this phrase the whole time, ‘the palace syndrome’, when you won’t fight the battles he wants, because you have been institutionalised.
“Giving in to the media was a key symptom of whether you had developed it. It was a constant test of loyalty: ‘Are you going to protect me? Or have you just become one of them, who won’t fight for me?’ It was exhausting.”
The new book, which is set to be published on 6 October, also details interactions between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and palace staff during their time as working royals.
In March 2021, Buckingham Palace launched an investigation into allegations that Meghan drove out two personal assistants.
Her lawyers denied the allegations when they were made. It has been reported that the outcome of the investigation will be kept secret to protect the anonymity of those who took part in the inquiry.
Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, told a BBC podcast in January: “What bullying actually means is improperly using power repeatedly and deliberately to hurt someone, physically or emotionally.
“The Duchess of Sussex absolutely denies ever doing that. Knowing her as I do, I can’t believe she would ever do that. I wasn’t there at the time, but it just doesn’t match my experience of her at all and I’ve seen her [at] very stressful times.
“So that story is absolutely untrue that she is a bully – that said, she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.”
The Independent has contacted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s representatives for comment.