The real Charles revealed: William’s wild mood swings, Harry’s pre-wedding meltdown and how the Prince of Wales finally earned his boys’ respect, as revealed by his biographer ROBERT JOBSON
- Prince Charles said he often finds it difficult to gauge either of his sons’ moods
- Prince Harry made a heartfelt speech at his father’s 70th birthday celebration
- Prince William has even been known to speak firmly in his father’s face like Diana
For Prince Charles’s official 70th birthday celebrations at Buckingham Palace in May, it was his younger son Harry — just three days after his wedding to Meghan Markle — who marked the occasion with a speech of self-deprecation and rare warmth towards his father.
‘Pa,’ he said, ‘while I know you’ve asked that today not be about you, you must forgive me if I don’t listen to you. Much like when I was younger. Instead, I ask everyone here to say a huge thank-you to you, for your incredible work over nearly 50 years.’
He went on: ‘It is your selfless drive to effect change, whether that is to improve the lives of those who are on the wrong path or a particular species under threat, which William and I draw inspiration from every day.’
Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Camilla and Meghan at the 70th Birthday of Charles, at Buckingham Palace in London earlier this year. Harry marked the occasion with a speech of self-deprecation and rare warmth towards his father
The speech was heartfelt, sincere and funny. Occasionally, however, the level of belligerence Charles has encountered from his sons has shocked the Prince, as both boys have, on occasion, challenged him.
William has even been known to speak firmly in his father’s face. It is reminiscent of his mother’s hot temper, which Charles had to deal with on a frequent basis during their marriage.
He could not attend the celebrations as he was away on official duties to mark the anniversary of the Manchester Arena terror attack. But subsequently, he approached Charles’s top aide, Clive Alderton, making it clear that he’d like to do more joint engagements with his father in his 70th birthday year.
Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, watch the athletics during the Invictus Games four years ago. William was happy, for instance, for Harry to pursue his passion for helping injured servicemen by setting up the Invictus Games
William may be Charles’s heir, but he’s extremely competitive with members of his family when it comes to media coverage — although he gives the impression it doesn’t concern him.
In reality, it does. Take Meghan and Harry’s appearance in Cardiff on a royal engagement in January.
It was a time of peak interest in the couple. Intriguingly, William — who was also on a royal engagement — chose the same day to display a new and dramatic buzz cut hairstyle. As a result, Harry was not the only royal prince featured in the following day’s papers.
The two brothers get along well most of the time. William was happy, for instance, for Harry to pursue his passion for helping injured servicemen by setting up the Invictus Games.
As far as William is concerned, Harry is aware that his brother is Number One in the royal pecking order.
Many members of staff, even operators on the Palace switchboard, are aware that William can be ‘difficult’ or ‘a little grand’.
Indeed, even Charles is said to be wary of his mood swings. In the years immediately after Prince George’s birth, William notably preferred to focus on his young family rather than spend time with his father at either Highgrove or in London.
Since then, there’s been a froideur between William’s court and that of Charles.
During the build-up to his marriage to Meghan — and indeed beyond — insiders noticed a change in his relationship with his father: he’d begun to show him much more respect than he had previously
So it was a little surprising that among the pictures on display for his 70th birthday exhibition at the Palace — entitled Prince & Patron, for which the Prince loaned out his favourite artwork, trinkets and family photos to help present a glimpse of his home life — was a never-before-seen photograph of him cradling his first grandson, George, with his elder son the Duke of Cambridge by his side.
Displaying the photograph in public would have required the Duke’s permission. ‘Ha, perhaps William is mellowing,’ said an inside source.
Harry, while also prone to volatility, is a much warmer man than William — and is far more given to emotional outbursts. Like his mother, he tends to wear his heart on his sleeve.
During the build-up to his marriage to Meghan — and indeed beyond — insiders noticed a change in his relationship with his father: he’d begun to show him much more respect than he had previously. After all, Charles had not only bankrolled the wedding but done everything he could to ensure that it went smoothly.
On the day itself, Meghan managed to look remarkably relaxed, despite knowing that her every move was being tracked by TV cameras for the benefit of more than a billion viewers. But Prince Harry was unable to hide the state of his nerves.
Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May. Charles had not only bankrolled the wedding but done everything he could to ensure that it went smoothly
The first sign of this came just after Charles, in the absence of Meghan’s father, had walked her up the aisle.
As Harry whispered ‘Thanks, Pa,’ he was almost shaking with tension The weeks leading up to the wedding had been far more tense for both Harry and Meghan than most people realised.
In fact, they’d both felt so stressed that they’d booked a series of appointments with Ross Barr, known as ‘the acupuncturist to the stars’.
Whether these treatments had much impact on Harry is debatable. In the build-up to the wedding, says an inside source, he was ‘petulant and short-tempered’ with members of staff.
Raising his voice on occasion, Harry would insist: ‘What Meghan wants, she gets.’
The Prince of Wales is a stickler for showing deference to the Queen and her office, and in my extensive talks with people close to Prince Charles, I’ve been assured that Harry and his brother have always shown appropriate deference to their grandmother.
William has total respect for the Queen. When she talks, he listens. She is the one person, perhaps with the exception of his wife, Catherine, who is able to pull him in line with a quiet word.
Indeed, it was she who made it clear to both him and his brother that their noble Heads Together mental health campaign appeared too separate from the rest of the Royal Family and the traditional type of engagements expected of the family.
Insiders say, however, that Harry and William have by no means always shown proper respect to the Prince of Wales and his office.
The Duke of Sussex (left) and the Duke of Cambridge during the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce event at Mansion House in London earlier this month. If William and Harry have at times had a difficult relationship with their father, it’s not all that hard to understand why
To this day, Charles admits he often finds it difficult to gauge either of his sons’ occasionally unpredictable moods. ‘In that aspect of their nature, both princes are very much like their mother,’ one close source confirmed.
A former courtier made the same analogy. ‘They both have quite extreme mood swings, just as Diana did,’ he said. ‘She could be your best friend one minute and the next your worst enemy.’
But if William and Harry have at times had a difficult relationship with their father, it’s not all that hard to understand why.
Both boys blame Charles for being absent through much of their childhood — he was often working or away on business.
And when he was around, he was neither a stern disciplinarian nor a rough-and-tumble father.
Diana, meanwhile, allowed Harry and William to run free and wild. One departing police protection officer even remarked to his replacement: ‘Good luck, you’re going to need it. If those kids were brought up on a council estate somewhere in South London, they’d have been taken into care by now.’ He was deadly serious.
At Highgrove, the brothers would relieve themselves from the top of a giant haystack in the garden, much to the annoyance of their ‘papa’, who occasionally caught them in the act.
On one occasion, Harry burrowed into the haystack and was soon struggling for breath. He was in some distress when a policeman found him — just in time.
The Queen mother is photographed with grandson Prince Charles and great grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry on her 101st birthday at Clarence House. After Diana’s death, their father had done his best to provide them with love and security, though it’s hardly a secret that they had a difficult adolescence
Harry was usually the naughtiest of the two. His nanny, Jessie Webb, frequently sandwiched the little prince up against the wall, saying it was the only way she could catch him and ‘gain control’.
One hot summer’s day, he caused a major ruckus when he disappeared again. Looking for somewhere cool, he’d crawled into one of Charles’s giant urns — where he’d been unable to hear the increasingly desperate calls from his parents and their staff.
After their parents’ marriage imploded, the boys saw even less of their father. A further source of tension was their perception of how he treated their mother, whose tears they often had to witness.
Somewhere in the mix, too, is their confused relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, whom their mother loathed with a passion and famously accused of being the third person in her marriage.
Even years later, when Charles finally married Camilla, the brothers’ mood was privately more one of acceptance than of undiluted joy at the prospect of having her as a stepmother.
After Diana’s death, their father had done his best to provide them with love and security, though it’s hardly a secret that William, then 15, and Harry, nearly 13, had a difficult adolescence.
William is pictured with his Dad in Scotland, 2001. William has total respect for the Queen. When she talks, he listens. She is the one person, perhaps with the exception of his wife, Catherine, who is able to pull him in line with a quiet word
Charles, by giving them so much freedom and independence that he himself had not been afforded as a young man, has in effect allowed them to develop their own ideas and interests, but also a streak of defiance. ‘HRH has changed things unbelievably for his sons — and to their advantage,’ one former courtier said.
‘A decade or so ago, before he married the Duchess, the Prince gave them their own court that he personally funds. He did this in spite of the fact that for his own staff, it proved more difficult because they effectively lost control of the boys.
‘But the Boss wanted his sons to have their own staff so that they would not be puppets run and controlled by his office.’
It IS Meghan’s own relationship with Charles that is proving to be key to newfound warmth between him and his second son.
‘When Meghan met the Prince of Wales, she was bowled over by his gentlemanly charm,’ said an inside source.
‘She told Prince Harry he was wonderful; welcoming, warm, hard-working, kind and stable. She made it clear that he should appreciate him and bond more.’ She consulted him about the music for the wedding, while Charles has taken time to discuss with her the intricacies of life in the ‘Firm’.
Charles, above, by giving them so much freedom and independence that he himself had not been afforded as a young man, has in effect allowed them to develop their own ideas and interests, but also a streak of defiance
It helps that Meghan is fascinated by British history, and royal history in particular — far more so than her husband. Sources say she has been poring over lever arch files of notes about the Commonwealth. Whenever she’s confused, she always turns to Charles, and he takes time to explain the complexities.
True, she’s made the odd slip-up. This year, for example, when Charles invited her to join him and Camilla on a private tour of an exhibition he’d curated at the Palace, Meghan enthusiastically accepted. But when her advisers told her there would also be a documentary crew present, she belatedly pulled out.
Cancelling on Prince Charles after one has accepted his invitation is not the done thing.
He sees his work ethic and his passion for philanthropy reflected in his new daughter-in-law, who has campaigned in the past to raise awareness of women’s issues. Nor will it have escaped his notice that she shares Charles’s belief in the importance of organic food.
Camilla, meanwhile, has played her part as a sort of ‘super-granny’, dispensing humorous, down-to-earth advice to Meghan. It is understood the two ‘outsiders’ have become close in a short space of time, and they were seen clasping hands as they greeted one another at the Palace.
As for Prince Charles, he has been utterly charmed by the beautiful actress.
‘She is so intelligent and so nice,’ he has been telling friends. ‘She makes Harry happy. We could not like her more.’
How Harry gazumped Charles as presenter of Royal radio breakfast
Prince Charles, who is an avid listener to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, was offered the chance to host a special edition of the flagship early morning news show on December 27 last year.
But when his publicity- hungry younger son heard about it, he suddenly revived an earlier interest in doing the gig.
The Prince of Wales said it was ‘amazing’ that Harry, above, had listened to him at all. Harry then invited his father to be one of his interviewees, along with former U.S. President Barack Obama
Harry had been approached some months earlier about taking the same slot but had done precious little about it. Now, though, his father magnanimously withdrew to avoid any conflict.
Perhaps as a compromise, Harry then invited his father to be one of his interviewees, along with former U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Prince took full advantage of the media platform given to his ‘darling boy’ (as he referred to Harry on air) with aplomb.
He remained light-hearted throughout the broadcast and joked that he was relieved people were finally waking up to his ‘dotty’ opinions on climate change.
Prince Harry interviewing his father, the Prince of Wales, for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme which he edited
The pair joked, too, about the influence of Charles’s opinions on his son, with the Prince of Wales saying it was ‘amazing’ that Harry had listened to him at all.
The two royals agreed that the biggest issue facing the world was climate change and the increasing havoc that it is wreaking.
‘There’s a whole lot of things I’ve tried to focus on over all these years,’ said Charles, ‘that I felt needed attention.
‘Not everybody else did, but maybe now, some years later, they’re beginning to realise that what I was trying to say may not have been quite as dotty as they thought.’
Wills and Charles clashed over ivory collection at Buckingham Palace
The Prince of Wales, as a single father, has done his best to avoid confrontation with his boys during their development, though sometimes he feels duty-bound to wade in.
One such occasion took place after William told zoologist Dr Jane Goodall that he’d ‘like to see all the ivory owned by Buckingham Palace destroyed’.
During a ‘frank exchange of views’ five years ago — according to an informed source — Charles told William he was being ‘naïve’ and he should have chosen his words more carefully.
The Duke of Cambridge, above, was granted a rare visit to the biggest ivory stockpile in the world
Queen Mary looking at pearls and ivory at the exhibition on 22 June 1918. The idea of such historic items, and others such as Henry VIII’s quill pen, being broken up filled Charles with dread
While appreciating his son’s sentiment, Charles believes there is a vast difference between calling for action against illegal traders now and ordering Buckingham Palace to rid itself of an enormously important and historical collection of artefacts that form part of the Royal Collection Trust.
Among the items are a 19th-century Indian throne and footstool and a pair of 18th-century seven-storey pagodas acquired by George IV.
The idea of such historic items, and others such as Henry VIII’s quill pen, being broken up filled Charles with dread. That said, there are many who know William and his stubborn streak, and believe he will take some form of action when he becomes king, despite his father’s protestations.
How Meghan lost her hat but found a bond with the Queen
Less than a month after her wedding, all eyes were on the newly ennobled Duchess of Sussex as she walked a few paces behind the monarch for a series of engagements in Chester, close to the border with Wales.
Without the reassuring presence of Harry, who’d been constantly at her side on previous public occasions, it was quite a test.
In fact, Meghan passed this nerve- shredding introduction to royal life with flying colours. Not even a mix-up over who should be first into the royal limousine spoiled the rapport between the two women, who laughed together and exchanged whispered asides.
Not even a mix-up over who should be first into the royal limousine spoiled the rapport between the two women, who laughed together and exchanged whispered asides in Chester earlier this year
What commentators were unaware of was that, behind the smiles for the cameras, there had been an awkward incident over the younger woman’s choice of headgear.
The Queen’s aides had, on instruction, advised the Duchess that the Queen would be wearing a green hat (in honour of those who had died in the Grenfell Tower fire disaster). Meghan, still new to the intricacies of Palace protocol, didn’t realise that this meant she was expected to follow suit. The Queen was therefore a little baffled when her granddaughter-in-law turned up bare-headed.
‘I don’t think the Duchess fully understood,’ one senior figure close to the Queen said. ‘This was not a request. They are for others to make, not the Queen.’
In the end, the Duchess, showing the stubborn streak her father claims that she inherited from her mother, ran the gauntlet and went without a hat. Her lack of deference, even respect, had been duly noted, particularly by the Queen’s senior staff.
Less than a month after her wedding, all eyes were on the newly ennobled Duchess of Sussex as she walked a few paces behind the monarch for a series of engagements in Chester, close to the border with Wales
The Queen has continued to take a keen interest in Harry’s bride. As he said in his engagement interview, even his grandmother’s corgis love Meghan — they trot over to lie at her feet.
A shared love of dogs, it must be said, has gone a long way to cementing the relationship between the two women. This means that Meghan certainly learned never to pet the royal corgis.
Visitors who try to get into the Queen’s good books by stroking her dogs are sharply told: ‘Don’t do that — they don’t like it.’
Or as an insider said: ‘What she really means is she doesn’t like it.’
Adapted from Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes And Dreams by Robert Jobson, published by John Blake on November 1 at £20. © Robert Jobson 2018.
To order a copy for £16 (offer valid to November 4, 2018; P&P free), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640.
Source: Read Full Article