Gathering with other royals at an Easter church service that coincided with the Queen’s 93rd birthday, princes William and Harry seemed in anything other than a holiday mood.
A solo Harry chatted with cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips and had a friendly word with sister-in-law Kate Middleton – but didn’t speak once to William on their way in or out of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
The apparent brotherly tension comes amid swirling buzz sparked by a report in The Sunday Times that Windsor “rock stars” Harry and Meghan may move to Africa to work after their baby is born.
The Sussexes have held high-level talks with advisers about a “bespoke” role that will mix Commonwealth engagements with charity work, the Times said.
The future king is on board, a source said: “In some ways it would suit William to get his brother out of the country for a few years and Meghan as far away as possible.”
In an unusual twist, Buckingham Palace did not deny the report.
“Any future plans for The Duke and Duchess are speculative at this stage,” a spokesperson said.
“No decisions have been taken about future roles.”
……but Harry was seen to exchange a few words with Kate. pic.twitter.com/UrD4742d1e
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 21, 2019
The move would give Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, breathing space from the “divisions that have riven the royal household in recent months”, the Times said.
So serious are the alleged problems between William and Harry that the respected UK broadsheet ran two separate stories about the rival royal houses on April 21.
One – headlined Inside the rift between Harry and Meghan and the future king and queen – painted William, 36, as needing reassurance his job is worth more to Britain than Harry’s charisma.
“People are telling William, ‘Don’t worry. Your influence will grow and Harry’s will fade’,” a source said.
“This is peak Harry.”
Meanwhile, Harry isn’t feeling the love and “thinks the world is against him”, said a source who suggested the Sussexes’ recent move to Frogmore Cottage was more an exile than a desire for a rural idyll.
“Meghan and Harry feel they have been cut adrift.”
Another source close to the royal household told the Times that until now, the view has been to let things “work out for a bit”.
But with the brothers and their wives splitting up their courts and offices in March, and William’s destiny inching closer, “There’s been a reset”.
The princes’ contrasting styles was demonstrated with their social media nods to their grandmother’s birthday. The Cambridges went formal:
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Harry and Meghan included an emoji in their shout-out to “Granny”:
The differences between the brothers triggered the strategising about what’s best for Harry, Meghan and Britain, said the Times.
“There are discussions in Palace circles about: How do we harness Harry and Meghan? How do you harness this phenomenon that has emerged?” a source said.
“You make it productive.”
One option said to have been rejected was making Harry Governor- General of Australia.
“The trouble is that you effectively set them up as king and queen of a whole separate country,” the first source said.
Instead, Africa is seen as the frontrunner. Harry set up his Sentebale charity in Lesotho in 2006 and twice took Meghan to Botswana before their marriage.
Rather than move permanently, the couple would instead take recurring trips to one region for months at a time to do “meaningful” community work, according to reports.
The Times claimed the plan is the brainchild of Sir David Manning, a former British ambassador to the US and special adviser on constitutional and international affairs to the two princes.
The Queen’s former private secretary, Lord Geidt, has reportedly been involved in the discussions.
There is a royal precedent. Between 1949 and 1951, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh lived in Malta, where Philip was a naval officer.