After discovering that Prince William had reportedly driven a little girl to tears at school, Princess Diana sat down with her older son for an earnest conversation. But despite his behavior, Prince William and Prince Harry still had their good moments together.
At first, Princess Diana brushed off any criticism of Prince William's behavior. On the day that five-year-old Prince William started at Wetherby, a pre-kindergarten located at Notting Hill Gate, the brothers' dear Nanny Barnes was dismissed, making him and Prince Harry teary-eyed.
Within weeks, the brothers' Nanny Barnes was replaced by Ruth Wallace, former nanny to the kids of Prince William's godfather, King Constantine II of Greece. Unlike her predecessor, Barnes was both fair and firm, and she was given the power to spank the boys.
Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry attend the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in Hyde Park on May 7, 1995 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Despite everything, Prince William persisted in his behavior. "No one was spared," confessed a teacher who reportedly witnessed the future King shove a little girl in class and then throw a tantrum when he was reprimanded. She also expressed:
"He threatened to have his knights chop all our heads off."
While the public was oblivious to the friction in the royal marriage, Prince Charles had moved out of Kensington Palace and into Highgrove House by this time. Highgrove was his country home two hours west and "a proverbial stone's throw" from the woman his staff referred to as "Mrs. PB" — Camilla Parker Bowles.
The Prince And Princess Of Wales With Prince William & Prince Harry In The Wild Flower Meadow At Highgrove Bought For His Use By The Duchy Of Cornwall. | Source: Getty Images
During the week, Prince William and Prince Harry went about their usual school routine, and everything seemed tranquil as they spent time with their mother and Wallace. But during their weekend visits to Highgrove, the siblings were said to be deeply affected by their parents' split.
Regarding how the Duke of Cambridge was reportedly impacted by his parents' broken relationship, Highgrove Housekeeper Wendy Berry said:
"William was obviously hurting. If your parents are going at it tooth and nail, you're going to act out in some way."
Princess Diana Helping Prince William With A Jigsaw Puzzle Toy In His Playroom At Home In Kensington Palace. | Source: Getty Images
PRINCE WILLIAM LEARNED ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S FEELINGS YET GAVE ORDERS TO PRINCE HARRY
While Prince Harry tried to come out of his shell, Prince William gradually realized that other people had feelings, too — an essential first step. Once, Princess Diana had a serious conversation with her older son after he was said to have reduced a little girl to tears at school. She told him:
"Now, William, imagine how you would feel if someone said that to you? You would want to cry, wouldn't you?"
Thanks to his mother and Nanny Wallace's instructions on the appropriate way to behave towards elders, including members of the household staff, Prince William soon began saying please and thank you, shaking hands, opening doors for ladies, and making polite conversation.
Prince William At Guards Polo Club Being Comforted By His Mother, Princess Diana. | Source: Getty Images
According to Wallace, the Duke of Cambridge's behavior changed drastically, and he turned into an exceptional little gentleman. Even his teachers at Wetherby were pleasantly surprised by the change in his attitude. One teacher noted:
"The bullying stopped, he started taking a real interest in the other children, and, before long, he really was our most well-liked student."
Despite his newfound etiquettes, Prince William had reportedly retained his bossy streak, especially when it came to his baby brother. He once told Prince Harry:
"Now, Harry, stop sticking your tongue out at the photographers! It's very naughty!"
Prince William arrives with Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Harry for his first day at Eton College on September 6, 1995 in Windsor, England. | Source: Getty Images
However, that wasn't all. The future King was said to have taken charge when he was around his cousins. He told them what to do, where to stand, and how to behave, and they obeyed him. The Princess of Wales recalled:
"William tells them where to stand and what to do, and for some reason, they all listen to him. Now I call him Mr. Bossy Boots."
Despite everything, the royal brothers still had their moments. At Highgrove and Balmoral, they surprised visitors with water pistols and even mistakenly squirted their grandma, Queen Elizabeth, once. The princes' playfulness was a classic sight for the royal household.
Princes William and Harry discuss their mother's life and legacy in a rare interview before a concert for Princess Diana, June 2007. | Source: Getty Images
PRINCE WILLIAM'S "ALLEGED BULLYING" ATTRIBUTED TO THE BROTHERS' RIFT, AUTHOR CLAIMS
The four famous royal family members, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, were once referred to as the "Fab Four."
Andrew Morton, author of several royal books, including the Princess Diana biography "Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words" and a Meghan Markle biography, "Meghan: A Hollywood Princess," shared his views on the royal family feud.
The Markle biography, initially published in 2018 and got an update in the form of six new chapters, had Morton digging into the origins of Prince William and Prince Harry's infamous feud and its reported impact on Markle.
According to excerpts from the book that surfaced online, Mortin made it clear that despite reports to the contrary, including accounts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared themselves during their interview with Oprah Winfrey in early 2021, the royal palace prioritized Markle's well-being.
The author reported that the palace had a team that spent several hours monitoring social media accounts, and violent threats aimed at Markle were reported to the police.
(L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry during "The Patron's Lunch" celebrations for The Queen's 90th birthday at The Mall on June 12, 2016 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Morton claimed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's attitudes toward Prince Harry and Markle were significant in the brothers' feud and reportedly led to the Sussexes' final decision to step away from royal life. He also noted:
"The Duchess of Cambridge's coolness toward Meghan and William's alleged bullying contributed to a devastating 'Cain and Abel' fallout between the brothers."
According to the royal author, Prince Harry was the 'prime mover' in souring relations between the Sussexes and the Royal Family, but it was Markle who 'took the hit.' This wasn't the first instance claims surfaced about the Duke of Cambridge allegedly bullying his brother and Markle.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend an Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey on April 25, 2018 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
In January 2020, shortly after the Sussexes stepped down as royals, the Sunday Times reported that they had been pushed away from the royal family by the 'bullying attitude' of Prince William and reportedly decided on their royal exit after two years of being constantly told where they stood.
The royal family quickly silenced the rumor mill, with the brothers issuing a rare joint statement decrying them. The statement called the story in the UK publication 'false' and termed the use of inflammatory language used against the princes as 'offensive and potentially harmful.'
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
From the book excerpts, it wasn't clear who the royal biographer's sources were for the newest chapters. Still, he pointed to the possible cracks in the brothers' relationship and what led to the eventual fallout of the Cambridges and Sussexes.