The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge led tributes to Prince Harry on his 36th birthday, a month after claims of the brothers’ strained relationship were published in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s biography.
Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared eager to lay to rest any reports of a family rift and shared an Instagram post dedicated to Harry early this morning.
The couple chose a light-hearted snap of Harry beating them both in a running race at a joint engagement in London in 2017, accompanied by the caption: ‘Wishing a very happy birthday to Prince Harry today!’
The Queen, 94, shared her own well-wishes to her grandson via social media, posting a simple message alongside a photo of him beaming at her at a Buckingham Palace reception in 2017. Proud father Prince Charles, 71, opted for a snap of him laughing with his son at the Invictus Games in 2014 and a second portrait of Harry.
The show of family unity comes after the strain in relations between William and Harry was laid bare in Finding Freedom. Co-author Omid Scobie has also claimed Prince William, 38, and Harry, who were once inseparable, went two months without speaking following the Sussexes’ bombshell Megxit announcement.
However royal fans noted in the comments section that all three family accounts chose to use photos of Prince Harry but not wife Meghan Markle, 39.
Prince William and Kate Middleton led birthday tributes to Prince Harry today, sharing a snap of them as a trio in happier times when they raced each other on a visit to London’s Olympic Park in February 2017
Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared eager to lay to rest any reports of a family rift and chose a light-hearted snap of Harry beating them both in a running race for their Instagram post. The image, taken in London in 2017, was accompanied by this simple caption
However royal fans noted in the comments section that all three family accounts chose to use photos of Prince Harry but not wife Meghan Markle, 39. Others said how happy Harry looks
Queen shared a photo of her grandson beaming at her during Buckingham Palace reception ahead of the Queen’s Young Leaders awards in June 2016
The Queen, 94, shared a photo of she and Harry sharing a joke at a joint engagement in 2017, seen above. The snap shows Prince Harry beaming at his grandmother at Buckingham Palace
One fan posting on the Cambridges’ account said it was ‘shady’ not to include the Duchess of Sussex when there are photos of the ‘fab four’ together. Another said simply: ‘Interesting photo selection… No Meghan.’
However some pointed out that it is common for royal family members not to include husbands and wives in birthday photos, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did for Princess Anne’s recent 70th.
Other commenters pointed out that Harry looked ‘much happier’ than he has done on recent outings, with one saying: ‘I miss these happier times.’
Although his plans have not been made public, it is thought Prince Harry will spend the day privately with wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, 16 months, in Santa Barbara, where they recently bought a $14million mansion.
He certainly has plenty to celebrate this year – his first birthday since he and Meghan quit the royal family and moved to California.
Prince Charles, 71, opted for a snap of him laughing with his son at the Invictus Games in 2014, pictured, to mark his birthday. Followers said how nice it was to see ‘smiling Harry’
Prince Charles also shared this snap of his son beaming at a royal engagement as part of his birthday tribute to his younger son, who has now moved to California
The post from Clarence House, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s account, was accompanied by this simple caption marking Prince Harry’s 36th birthday
The couple recently signed a $150million deal with US media giant Netflix and paid back the £2.4million that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage, their former home on the Queen’s Windsor estate, further distancing themselves from the royal family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also recently stepped up their public and virtual appearances as Covid-19 restrictions ease, with Prince Harry last week sending a video of support to soldiers taking part in a charity trek. Over the weekend Meghan took part in a video call with clients from her UK patronage Smart Works.
And according to royal experts, the Duke is ‘happier than ever’ as he celebrates his 36th birthday, and ‘doesn’t miss his old life at all’.
Omid Scobie, who co-authored the controversial royal biography Finding Freedom which raised eyebrows for its gushing praise and intimate knowledge of the Sussexes, the Prince is ‘very content’ with his marriage and family and ‘thriving’ in his professional life.
He told Vanity Fair: ‘This is the moment [Harry] can sit back and think, “I made it”.’
Meanwhile royal commentator Ingrid Seward told the publication that the Duke of Sussex can celebrate his birthday ‘on a high’, adding: ‘He’s embracing his new life and everything is an adventure right now. He has moved on very quickly, and I don’t think he misses his old life at all.’
Writing in Vanity Fair, royal expert Katie Nicholl said it’s likely that the prince is reflecting on his mother’s life and legacy even more than usual on this milestone day.
Harry was just 12 years old when Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, aged 36, and on his 18th birthday he vowed to ‘to carry on the things that she didn’t quite finish’ with regard to her charity work.
However there are believed to be some concerns over how this next phase in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s post-royal life will affect the rest of the royal family.
Netflix’s The Crown will show Princess Diana’s heartbreaking battle with bulimia
Close friends previously said the devastating eating disorder triggered by her broken marriage caused the Princess of Wales to start ‘fading away’.
And in its upcoming fourth season, Peter Morgan’s hit show The Crown will portray her struggle in the 1980s for the first time, making William and other senior royals ‘incredibly uncomfortable’, a source said.
But it is unlikely Harry will criticise the scenes after he and wife Meghan Markle signed a commercial deal with the streaming giant.
Harry is likely to have a conflict of interest after signing the Netflix contract which is thought to be worth some £75million.
Actress Emma Corrin, 24, will portray the Princess vomiting after eating. Production company Left Bank Pictures said that eating disorder charity BEAT were on hand to ensure any portrayal was correct and sensitive.
A source told The Sun: ‘William and other senior royals are incredibly uncomfortable about this drama and livid Harry is now in partnership with the company that’s airing it.’
‘It’s the latest in a long line of flashpoints between the brothers, but there are few more sensitive subjects than the plight of their mother.’
They said the Firm ‘wouldn’t expect one of their own to take money made by the profits of shows like this’.
The upcoming series of Netflix’s The Crown is set to show Princess Diana’s (left in 1983) – portrayed by actress Emma Corrin, 24 (right) – heartbreaking battle with bulimia in a move which might cause Princes Harry and William to clash
Prince Harry and Meghan reportedly failed to tell the Queen, 94, about their Netflix deal before announcing it to the world, with aides telling her about the couple’s new venture – which involves a yet-to-be-named production company set on making documentaries, feature films and children’s programming.
Royal expert Victoria Murphy said the deal had left the monarchy ‘looking over its shoulder’.
Writing in Town and Country, she said: ‘Family members will be hoping that Harry and Meghan stick to the pledge that they made to “uphold the values of Her Majesty” in “everything they do.”
‘Because, while they have no way of controlling the Sussexes, the actions of this couple will inevitably still reflect on the institution.’
Questions over the Netflix deal, which will also reportedly be examined by royal officials, comes just a month after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s biography detailed how Princes William and Harry, once inseparable, had grown apart.
According authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, the rift between the two brothers began in 2016, when Harry and Meghan first started dating – and was sparked by a conversation during which William urged his younger brother to slow the romance down and to ‘take some more time getting to know Meghan’.
Although his plans have not been made public, it is thought Prince Harry will spend the day privately with wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, 16 months, in Santa Barbara, where they recently bought a $14million mansion. Pictured, the Sussexes in South Africa last year
The bombshell biography also reveals that the siblings ‘hardly spoke’ in the months after that tense chat, with sources close to the royals alleging that this bitter rift between the brothers only grew wider after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in 2018.
Their already-fraught relationship then suffered another blow at the start of this year, the book details, when Harry and Meghan announced that they were quitting their roles as senior members of the royal family and would be splitting their time between the US and the UK.
Indeed, speaking last month, Scobie claimed Princes William and Harry cut communication for two months after Megxit and said their relationship ‘will take time to heal’.
However Prince Harry and Prince William are said to be in the process of repairing the relationship, with the Covid-19 pandemic bringing the brothers closer together.
In a separate interview, Durand said they are slowly ‘making their way back to each other’.
‘Like in any family, there have been some ups and downs, but the brothers are making their way back to each other,’ Durand said. ‘And that will take some time.’