By Phil HAZLEWOOD
Prince Harry accused his brother William of a furious response to his plans to quit royal life but insisted he had few regrets about leaving in final docuseries episodes out on Thursday.
Harry, 38, and his wife Meghan, 41, have lifted the lid on their experiences in the institution in the new series, risking a further rift with his family.
As young boys, the brothers provided the enduring image from their mother Princess Diana’s funeral, walking behind her coffin.
But they are reportedly now no longer on speaking terms since Harry and Meghan — also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — left for North America, settling in California.
In the final three episodes of “Harry & Meghan”, Harry recalled a family summit in January 2020 over their plans to move abroad.
He said he proposed to be “half in, half out” of the royal family, working for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II but being self-funded.
“It became very clear, very quickly that goal was not up for discussion or debate,” he said.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father (King Charles III) say things that just simply weren’t true.”
Harry returned for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral last year, where they discussed the move and how it was portrayed.
Just before the Duke of Edinburgh’s death Harry and Meghan gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey, claiming racism in the royal family.
He indicated his father, 74, and brother, 40, misinterpreted the situation but maintained he and Meghan were “moving on”.
– ‘Heartbreaking’ –
Much of the content of the final episodes covered familiar ground, particularly Meghan’s difficulties adapting to royal life, suicidal thoughts and negative media coverage.
Harry accused the Daily Mail newspaper of responsibility for her suffering a miscarriage after it printed a letter to her father. She later successfully sued for breach of privacy.
But he also blamed heir-to-throne William’s office for being behind negative coverage of the couple, which he suggested was because they were “stealing the limelight” from other senior royals.
He criticised “constant briefings” by palace media teams pitting one member of the family against another in collusion with the media.
“It’s a dirty game. There is leaking but there is also planting of stories,” he said. “The offices end up working against each other.
“William and I both saw what happened in our dad’s office and we made an agreement that we’d never let that happen to our office.
“To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never, ever do, that was heartbreaking.”
– Changed –
So far the palace has declined to respond to the programme and disputed claims by streaming service Netflix that they were approached to comment on the contents of the series.
Senior royals, led by Harry’s father King Charles III, are expected at a Christmas carol concert on Thursday in a demonstration of “business as usual”.
But commentators suggested they may be forced to act if they feel the criticism is too personal.
Harry and Meghan have even faced calls to give up their royal titles — or have them removed. Harry said in the programme he offered to voluntarily relinquish them.
On his new life in the United States, Harry said he missed “the weird family gatherings”, the UK and his friends.
But despite losing some friends as a result of his move, he insisted he had done the right thing, as there was “no other option”.
“I came here because I was changed. I changed to the point that I’d outgrown my environment,” he said.
Netflix said last week’s episodes recorded 81.55 million viewing hours globally — “the highest view hours of any documentary title in a premiere week”.
But it appears to have dented the couple’s popularity in the UK, with one poll suggesting it had worsened their already negative approval ratings with the British public. — Agence France-Presse