Sunday was a big day for the royals: Not only was it Easter, a day on which many of the adults in the British royal family tend to go to church together, but it was also Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday. The turnout this year was impressive. The queen, obviously, was there. As were Kate Middleton, Princess Beatrice, Zara Tindall, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and some of the other usual suspects. (Meghan Markle wasn’t there, but she’s due to give birth any day now, so her absence was understandable.)
But that day, all eyes were on Prince William and Prince Harry, as the two brothers seemed like they might be avoiding each other. So, what gives?
Let’s back up a bit. There have been nonstop reports for months about supposed “tensions” between the brothers. The rumors started around the time of Prince Charles’s 70th birthday — stories of Wills reportedly being “grand” and Harry feeling “imprisoned” in Kensington Palace — then trickled down to affect their wives for a bit, before falling back onto the Wales boys.
People reported earlier this month that tensions between the brothers “deepened” when Harry announced that he wanted to marry Meghan “after less than a year of dating.” William is said to have “cautioned” Harry that things were moving too fast, which reportedly left his younger brother angry and hurt. On top of that, the brothers are in different places in their lives and have different roles in the royal family now, People notes. The changes in their positions and passions are evident in the formal splitting of their courts (offices), and Prince Harry and Meghan’s recent move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate.
Back to this weekend. Meghan and Prince Harry are currently awaiting the birth of their first child — an event that has been met with global excitement (although they’ve still had to deal with negative tabloid BS in the meantime). But on Sunday morning — yes, the day of the Easter outing — a report appeared in the Sunday Times that royal courtiers have “drawn up plans” to send Meghan and Prince Harry out of the country for work — probably Africa — for potentially two to three years.
While that could be interpreted as a great opportunity for Meghan and Harry if they want it, the “sources” that spoke with the Times offered some shady quotes. Lainey Gossip notes that a source said of Wills’s reaction to Harry and Meghan’s popularity: “People are telling William, ‘Don’t worry. Your influence will grow and Harry’s will fade. This is peak Harry.’” Another spoke of trying to contain and “harness” the Sussexes. But a follow-up report in the Daily Mail stated that they may be gone for just six months, and that the trip is a dream of Harry’s, rather than a ploy to get rid of him for now.
Furthermore, on Tuesday, royal reporter Omid Scobie wrote for Harper’s Bazaar that while Meghan and Prince Harry do plan to take on projects overseas, they have no intention of leaving the U.K. for years. A Kensington Palace source also told Scobie that the Sussexes’s popularity isn’t a factor in the plans to take on international projects. “Prince William has nothing to do about these plans,” the source told Scobie. “The Duke supports whatever the couple choose to do.”
So what does this mean? Well, the Times’ report broke the same morning as the Easter celebrations, and it seemed like the brothers didn’t really interact much at the church.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the brothers are fighting, but we’re all so used to seeing them act warmly toward one another that their behavior on Easter is a bit jarring, especially in the context of the non-stop reports about a potential feud. But Prince Harry was photographed cracking a joke with Kate Middleton (and Prince William smirked a bit as well), so perhaps this is just a normal family thing where two siblings momentarily aren’t as close and aren’t really getting along but will eventually find their way back to each other. We’ll have to stay tuned for their next event together to find out.
This post has been updated to include a new report.