Prince William feared that Prince Harry was rushing into marriage with Meghan Markle, and had enraged his younger brother by asking their Uncle, the Earl of Spencer, the younger brother of their late mother, Princess Diana, to step in, writes royal historian Robert Lacey, cited by the Daily Mail.
In his new book, "Battle of the Brothers: William and Harry - The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult", scheduled for release on 13 October, he offers a glimpse into the ups and downs of the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry.
According to the book, during the last two years of his 20s, Prince Harry had felt his life was slipping into "total chaos".
"I just didn't know what was wrong with me... I had probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions", he had revealed.
At the time, Prince William had suggested his brother seek therapy, with even Cressida Bonas, his girlfriend before the advent of Meghan Markle, referring to the young man as "damaged and self-obsessed".
She had gone on Instagram to post an enigmatic message to reveal the state of their relationship.
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'A Changer, Not a Conformist'
A star of the US TV legal drama series Suits, Meghan Markle is claimed to have caught the attention of Prince Harry in early July 2016 because of her quirky nature.
Her idiosyncrasies rendered her a familiar figure in that she reminded the Prince of his mother, Princess Diana.
The book states that Meghan Markle's stance in life was that of a "changer, not a conformist", ready and willing to fight her battles with the same "non-royal" approach that Princess Di had espoused.
It is claimed that when Prince Harry introduced his new girlfriend to his father and grandmother in 2016, they thoroughly approved, while his brother William adopted a different stance.
For his part, "waity William" was concerned that his brother's courtship was proceeding too fast, while in their position they ought to be "auditioning" a woman prior to letting her enter the royal household.
"This all seems to be moving rather quickly… Are you sure?", Prince William was said to have remarked to Prince Harry when the latter mentioned the word marriage, according to the cited testimony of a friend.
The brusque dismissal from Prince Harry reportedly made Prince William seek other options. That is when he turned to his uncle, Princess Diana's brother, for help.
Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl of Spencer, had over the years adopted the position of something of an unofficial godfather to the brothers after their mother's death.
While Charles Spencer agreed to intervene, his actions backfired, writes the author, generating even more bitterness.
Prince Harry didn't blame his uncle, as he was aware that he only sought to help. It was his elder brother that became the target of his ire.
He was furious that Prince William had gone behind his back to drag other family members into the their row.
Despite occasional patch-ups and reconciliations since the rift between the brothers began, the anger and mistrust continues, writes the author.
The brothers proceeded to split apart the offices they had shared at Kensington Palace since 2012.
The most poignant separation, according to the book, was when Prince William and Prince Harry decided to split up the Royal Foundation, a charitable enterprise they had created ten years earlier, that seemed to embody the legacy of their mother, Princess Diana.
When William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan appeared on stage together for the first time to launch their Royal Foundation Forum, at the end of February 2018, Prince Harry said:
"I'm personally incredibly proud and excited that my soon-to-be wife, who is equally passionate about seeing positive change in the world, will soon be joining us with this work".
However, the "non-conformist" newcomer Meghan Markle, announced as a fourth trustee, expressed hope the foundation might extend its support to the women's empowerment movement, gathering steam in the US from the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandals.
"Right now, with so many campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp, there's no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people supporting them", said Markle.
While everybody seemed to show approval, the suggestion was far too "revolutionary", writes the author.
Legislation and ensuing politics were a taboo in royal circles, and it was a "no-no" for the British Royal Family to endorse any cause that could be interpreted as taking a specific political side against another.
This marked yet another rift that would eat away at the relationship between the brothers, says the book.
On 20 June 2019, shortly after the birth of Baby Archie, it was announced that the Royal Foundation's assets would be divided, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge taking over the existing organisation, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aspiring to establish their own, aiming at "global outreach".
The following day, the couple trademarked "Sussex Royal — The Foundation Of The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex".
The media started to hound the couple, writes the book, as editors had serious constitutional concerns about the monarchy "trespassing into politics". They attacked Meghan Markle for not being entirely sure of what it meant to be a Windsor.
While the details of another showdown between the brothers over Meghan Markle's "forces for change" are not known, it is suggested there was another "classic Harry explosion", writes the royal historian, with the ensuing events leading up to the bombshell decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step away as "senior royals" and divide their time between North America and the UK while working to become financially independent.