- Prince Harry is worried that one of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children will end up like him.
- Harry told The Telegraph he was worried his nephews or his niece would feel “stock” like him.
- He also said that William had previously told him that the children were not his responsibility.
Prince Harry fears history could repeat itself when it comes to sibling rivalry in the royal family.
In an interview with The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, the Duke of Sussex said he was worried about Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children and what the heir apparent and ‘spare’ dynamic could mean for them in the future.
The Prince and Princess of Wales have three children: Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.
“While William and I have discussed this once or twice and he has made it very clear that his children are not my responsibility, I still feel responsible knowing that at least one of the three will end up like me, “the spare said Harry. “And it hurts, it worries me.”
Harry detailed how the heir and frugal labels that were used for William and himself growing up had a devastating effect on their relationship in his memoir, published earlier in January.
In Spare, the Duke of Sussex wrote that the entire royal family would use these phrases as shorthand for William and himself. He adds that because of the backup label, he felt as if he “came into the world in case something happened” to William.
“Heir and heir – there was no judgment about it, but there was no ambiguity either. I was the shadow, the support, the plan B,” Harry wrote. “I have been called in to provide backup, distraction, entertainment and, if necessary, a replacement part. Perhaps a kidney. blood transfusion. A patch of bone marrow. All of this was clearly explained to me from the beginning of my life journey and reinforced regularly thereafter.”
Later in a memoir, Harry said he suspected the “tired childhood dynamic” of the heir, and the reserve was ingrained in the sibling rivalry between him and William even as they became adults. Harry gave examples when he claimed William had him shave off his beard “as an heir to Spare” before his 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle.
“He hated the thought of me enjoying the privilege he was denied,” Harry wrote.
Ultimately, sibling rivalry between royals is nothing new, Leslie Carroll, a royal historian and author of nine novels about royal history, told Insider. She said the terms heir and heir apparent had been used for decades, citing Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret as examples.
She also said that much of the tension between the royal siblings boiled down to clashing egos and the lack of freedom afforded by modern royal spares, rather than the conditions themselves.
Citing examples from the Wars of the Roses and feudal Britain, Carroll said the royal reserves were entrusted with tasks and responsibilities such as commanding armies. Meanwhile, nowadays, people like Harry are not encouraged by their families to pursue their passions or perform any serious duties.
“Harry’s infantilization as a Backup, having to ask for permission to do anything,” Carroll told Insider, contributed to his “trauma.”
Kensington Palace and representatives for the Duke of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.