By Helen ROWE
Prince Harry says in his new book that he was physically attacked by his older brother Prince William during an argument over his wife Meghan, according to an excerpt leaked days before the memoir’s publication.
In the latest salvo of the brothers’ bitter feud, Harry says the alleged incident came after the heir to the British throne called Meghan “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”.
Details of the row come as the British royal family braces for the publication on Tuesday of Harry’s book “Spare”.
The incident in 2019 — the year after Harry and Meghan married — allegedly saw William tackle his younger brother to the ground as they argued.
“He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor,” The Guardian newspaper quoted Harry’s book as saying.
“I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me.”
Harry then told his older brother to leave. William looked “regretful, and apologised”, Harry recalled, according to the daily.
– King’s appeal –
Quoting from the exchange between the two princes in the book, the report said William turned and called back: “You don’t need to tell Meg about this.”
“You mean that you attacked me?” said Harry.
“I didn’t attack you, Harold,” William responded, seeming to use a nickname for his brother, whose birth name is Henry.
The revelation follows a string of other broadsides in the wake of Harry and Meghan’s decision to quit royal duties in Britain in early 2020 and move abroad.
A year after starting a new life in California, the couple told US chat show host Oprah Winfrey that Buckingham Palace failed to help Meghan when she felt suicidal and accused an unidentified royal of racism.
And in a Netflix docuseries aired last month, they blamed William’s office for negative coverage, claiming it briefed the media against them.
Buckingham Palace has not made any public response to the claims, although William has denied the family is racist.
Britain is gearing up for the coronation of the princes’ father, King Charles III, in May following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year.
Harry, 38, was asked in an ITV interview to be aired on Sunday evening if he will attend the event.
“There’s a lot that can happen between now and then,” he said in a new clip released on Thursday.
“The ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed. And I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Charles, according to the Guardian excerpt, pleaded with his sons to end their feud after the funeral of his father Prince Philip in April 2021.
“Please, boys,” Harry quotes his 74-year-old father as saying. “Don’t make my final years a misery.”
– ‘Arch nemesis’ –
In a separate upcoming interview for US network ABC, Harry was asked why he referred in the book to William as his “beloved brother and arch nemesis”.
“There has always been this competition between us, weirdly,” Harry replied, according to a trail released by ABC. “I think it really plays into or is played by the ‘heir/spare’.”
Harry and William, 40, previously enjoyed a close relationship, in part forged by their shared grief over the loss of their mother, Princess Diana, after she died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
As young boys, the pair provided the enduring image from the funeral, walking behind Diana’s coffin.
Asked by ITV interviewer Tom Bradby if “William might say ‘How could you do this to me… after everything we went through?'”, Harry responded tersely that William would “probably say all sorts of different things”.
The former British Army captain added that he still believes in the monarchy, although he does not know if he will play any part in its future.
Responding to a question about invading his own family’s privacy, having railed against the media for doing the same thing, Harry said: “That would be the accusation from the people who don’t understand or don’t want to believe that my family have been briefing the press.”
People in London reacted with a mixture of weariness and scepticism.
“I’m just tired of it all… I don’t know how many times he’s got to say these things,” Catherine Doherty, a 63-year-old secretary, told AFP.
Hospitality worker Jacob Morton, 25, said he found it “really weird that they’re airing all their dirty laundry”. — Agence France-Presse