From a young age, princes Harry and William were well aware of their future in the royal household. Prince Harry, in particular, constantly took jabs at his older brother for being the one who "mattered" the most as he would be king one day. The siblings had a tricky relationship as kids.
In the book "Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan," royal author Christopher Andersen details the fragile relationship between the royal brothers as children.
As a child, Prince Harry mimicked his older brother's moves in every way possible, said the royal sibling's nanny, Olga Powell, in the book.
The royal family pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London for the Trooping the Color ceremony in June 1989. / Source: Getty Images
Powell added that the Duke of Sussex would soon start "crashing about and carrying on." She had been hired to share nanny duties with Barnes and Ruth Wallace.
Powell was part of the boys' lives for fifteen years, and she and the rest of the staff doted more on the younger brother, which ultimately led to a sibling rivalry.
Princess Diana's long-time bodyguard Ken Wharfe revealed the attention Prince Harry received bothered Prince William because he did not get it:
"One cause of William's unease as a boy growing up was that the attention from a lot of the staff was centered on Harry, and not on him."
Prince Charles and his wife, Princess Diana, with their sons Prince Harry and Prince William who are pictured playing on a vintage fire engine at Sandringham. / Source: Getty Images
The Duke of Cambridge retaliated by stealing or breaking something in the household and then attempting to pin it on his younger brother.
"William would hide his cereal bowl, and when asked where it went, he'd point to poor Harry," Powell recalled. She also told Prince William: "I love you, but I don't like you."
HARRY WAS NOT LIKE WILLIAM IN HIS CHILDHOOD
Princes William and Prince Harry leaving the hospital after visiting the Duchess of York and her daughter Princess Beatrice at Portland Hospital. / Source: Getty Images
When Prince Harry enrolled at Mrs. Mynors' Nursery School, the staff embraced his arrival as he tried by any means to live up to Prince William's terrible example at home.
However, Prince Harry was the opposite of what was expected of him and was so quiet and withdrawn from other kids that one teacher worried that he was "suffocating in his brother's shadow."
Seeing that he was the family's baby and was smothered with love, strangers showed more interest in Prince William. It became apparent when he got dropped off on his first day of school and when he made his way to the front door, Mrs. Mynors went out of her way to greet his older brother instead.
Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince William attending Prince Harry's first day at Mrs Mynors' nursery school in September 1987 in London. / Source: Getty Images
According to Prince Charles, from toddlerhood, it was always clear that his eldest son was the one who possessed a strong personality while his youngest had a gentler nature.
Moreover, Prince William was rarely absent from school, while Prince Harry managed to find excuses just so that he could stay home. A spiritual healer, Simone Simmons, who visited the princes' mother at Kensington Palace once a week, revealed Prince Harry used to come down with coughs and colds, adding:
"But I think he just wanted to stay home with Mummy. He loved having her to himself and not having to compete with William."
Princess Diana and her sons Prince Harry and Prince William (in cap behind his mother) during a holiday in the Austrian resort of Lech on March 24, 1994. / Source: Getty Images
Prince Harry was painfully aware of where he stood in the royal order at age four. One Friday night, on a ride with their mother, Princess Diana, and nanny Powell, the boys were bickering in the back seat, and when Powell reprimanded them, Prince William refused to listen.
She told him not to be rude, and Prince Harry chimed in and told her not to bother, shockingly stating: "It doesn't matter anyway because William is going to be king. I'm not going to be king, so I will be able to do whatever I like!"
Wharfe, who drove, recalled how stunned the people in the car were, saying: "All the adults in the car looked at each other and thought, where the hell did that come from?"
Diana, Princess of Wales taking her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, to the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire in May 1991, United Kingdom. / Source: Getty Images
Wharfe said that from a young age, Prince Harry had the mentality that he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted and that his brother's behavior was the one under scrutiny because he would be king one day.
Not long after, Prince William said he wanted to be a policeman so that he could protect his mother, and once again, his brother replied: "Oh, no, you can't. You've got to be king!"
Wharfe expressed how unique the situation was, adding that Prince Harry already knew at that age: "Extraordinary. Even at that age, Harry knew."
Princess Diana's bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, with her son, Prince William, during a visit to Wales, United Kingdom. / Source: Getty Images
With that said, the youngest member of the family soon became a favorite in the eyes of the royal staff. He would go into the kitchen alone daily or onto the palace grounds to converse with them and would call everyone by their first names.
Wharfe revealed that the young royal knew everyone from the flower man to the butcher and that, in turn, they all adored him as he was a funny little one.
In June 2022, Wharfe told Express that Prince Harry has always had more freedom than Prince William, who is duty-bound and has a role as the future King of England.
DIANA THOUGHT HARRY'S POSITION HAS ITS ADVANTAGES
Princess Diana pictured with Prince Harry on holiday on August 10, 1987 in Majorca, Spain . / Source: Getty Images
One of Prince Charles' deputy private secretaries also revealed that even when it came to the Queen, there was an imbalance in terms of who was more significant between the siblings, claiming:
"It was just understood that William was going to be king, and he was the one who mattered. Harry was always left on the sidelines."
Princess Diana's friend, Lady Elsa Bowker, shared such incidences affected Prince Harry's confidence and "deeply hurt his feelings." Bowker said she felt sorry for the young prince, whose mother also had great concern for him and tried hard not to make him feel left out or unwanted.
Princess Diana photographed sitting on the steps of The Marivent Palace with her son, Prince Harry at a photocall during their summer holiday. / Source: Getty Images
But the Princess of Wales later realized that her younger son's position in the family had its advantages. "Royal firstborns may get all the glory, but second-borns enjoy more freedom. Only when Harry is a lot older will he realize how lucky he is not to have been the eldest," said Bowker.
The People's Princess continued to treat her kids equally and never spent time with one son at the exclusion of the other. As a mother, the princess was an unconventional royal parent.
She exposed her children to what everyday life was like for ordinary British citizens. She once wore a dark wig and sunglasses to take them to McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken in disguise. Made them stand in line at the movie theater just like everyone else and raced alongside them at a London go-kart track.
Princess Diana with sons Prince William and Prince Harry during their visit at The 'Thorpe Park' Amusement Park. / Source: Getty Images
The trio went to amusement parks, miniature golf courses, and bowling alleys. Princess Diana also took her boys swimming, her favorite sport. Prince Harry took to the water "as if he had gills," while Prince William later became captain of his water polo team in college, making him a superior swimmer.
Powell shared that because Prince Harry was born to be number two, he tried to be number one in other ways. In addition, Jessie Webb revealed that the competition between the royal brothers was always tough, adding even though they loved each other and watched out for each other, they both hated losing.