Prince Harry’s repeated “ambushing” of the British royal family had a detrimental effect on Queen Elizabeth II’s health in her final year, sources who were close to the former monarch have claimed.
he late queen hated confrontation, and the attacks from Harry and Meghan are said to have “had an impact” on her frail condition before she died last September.
As well as having to cope with damaging allegations made in television interviews, the late queen was well aware that further revelations would be made in the prince’s book, Spare, which was originally due to be published last year.
Friends of the late queen have left no doubt that it was playing on her mind in her final months. “This did have an impact on the queen’s health in her final year. It did take its toll,” said one.
The prince, they say, was a “much-loved grandson” of Elizabeth II, making the “almost weekly” attacks especially painful.
It comes as royal sources accused the prince of wrongly blaming Camilla, the queen consort for leaking details of a private conversation with his brother Prince William to a newspaper, saying the leak in fact came via a member of her staff who later resigned following the incident.
Royal insiders also accused the prince of “hypocrisy” for going into details about the personal struggles of King Charles and William’s wife Kate Middleton, despite setting himself up as a mental health campaigner.
Meanwhile, the prince faces a growing backlash from members of the British Armed Forces, who believe his disclosure that he killed 25 insurgents in Afghanistan has put not only himself, but serving personnel in greater danger.
Publication of the book was postponed until Tuesday, January 10, following the queen’s death, but copies of it went on sale in Spain, meaning its contents have been widely reported.
The prince writes affectionately about his grandmother in the memoir, but those who knew the late sovereign have disclosed that she suffered as a result of the campaign he has waged against his family since moving to California almost three years ago.
One friend of the late queen said: “She never wanted to deal with confrontation, even going as far back as the start of Prince Andrew’s troubles, and this stuff was shoved in her face on an almost weekly basis.
“It had an impact. She had lost Prince Philip, and then the constant ambushing of the royal family by a much-loved grandson did take its toll.
“At that stage in your life and your reign, you just don’t need that on top of everything else,” they said.
Another well-placed source said they had “absolutely” no doubt that the allegations made Harry and Meghan had affected the late queen’s health.
The first source questioned how the prince could possibly achieve the reconciliation he says he wants with his family, commenting: “He says he wants a reconciliation then he sticks this enormous machete in their backs.”
They also said that Meghan Markle had said she wanted to be part of a family, “but how are their kids going to be part of a family now? It’s out of the question”.
Royal insiders accused Prince Harry of hypocrisy for exposing his father and his sister-in-law’s personal struggles.
Harry has long campaigned for better mental health support and has also railed against others leaking personal details about his private life to the media.
But he uses his memoir to expose sensitive and private conversations that took place between family members.
Prince Harry reveals in the book that Meghan believed Kate Middleton was suffering with “baby brain”.
He suggests that her hormones were haywire following the birth of Prince Louis, making her forget things.
Harry also reveals that Charles had been unhappy in the years after the death of Diana, “vacant looks, empty sighs and frustration” always visible on his face.
He reveals that Charles pleaded with him and William not to make his final years a misery and also discloses details of several dinner-table conversations with William and Kate.
One royal source said: “It is hypocritical for him to talk about other people’s mental health.
Another said: “It is very hard to understand how he has squared that in his own mind, given his passion for protecting his private life.”
In the new book, Harry has also alleged Charles wanted to avoid supporting Meghan financially because he was jealous that she might become a new Diana and steal the limelight from him.
Harry claims his father raised the subject during a visit to the Sandringham Estate, where Prince Harry would need to ask the late queen’s permission to marry Meghan, who was a divorcee.
The two were in a Land Rover driving to the Norfolk estate, alongside Prince William, when, according to the book, Charles asked whether Meghan intended to keep acting.
When Prince Harry said that she would probably not and would want to live with him in the UK, he claims his father said: “Well, my dear son, you already know that we don’t have money to spare.”
The book claims Charles said he was already having difficulties supporting Harry’s brother William and his wife.
While Prince Harry writes that he did not respond at the time, in the book he engages in a sustained attack on his father for thinking he was “supporting them”.
He insists the support was actually a form of salary for their royal roles.
There was an implicit agreement, he said, that required royals to live in a “gilded
cage” and give up their autonomy in return for “food and clothing”.
The reality, Prince Harry claims to have realised, was that Charles had previously experienced being eclipsed and could not face “a novel and resplendent” royal who would take the limelight from him and Queen Camilla and “dominate the monarchy”.
“He had experienced that before and he had no interest in letting it happen to him again,” Harry writes, apparently alluding to his mother, Diana.
In an ITV interview to be broadcast tomorrow, the prince was asked whether he felt his book had invaded the privacy of his nearest and dearest without permission.
He replied: “That would be the accusation from people that don’t understand or don’t want to believe that my family have been briefing the press.”
He added: “I don’t know how staying silent is ever going to make things better.”
Harry was asked by veteran anchor Tom Bradby: “Wouldn’t your brother say to you, ‘Harry, how could you do this to me after everything? After everything we went through?’. Wouldn’t that be what he would say?”
He replied: “He would probably say all sorts of different things.”
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