Inside Prince Harry's Relationship With William's Children

If there's one royal who has dominated the headlines in recent years, it's Prince Harry. However, when we think about it, the ginger prince has always been a bit of a fan favorite. Way before Meghan Markle came on the scene, Harry was vocal about his desire to live a normal life, relying on his time in the military to create an equal dynamic between him and his contemporaries. Throughout Harry's exodus from royal life, his multiple interviews, and the release of his memoir, "Spare," one thing has remained clear — he loves his family. Still, he wishes that they didn't exist within an institution with press interests, the royal rota, vested desires by secretaries and inside sources, and the likes of the firm's way of doing things.

During his book tours, Harry began commenting on the role he played within the royal family — the spare to Prince William's heir, the sidekick seen as expendable. Reflecting on the status of William's own children, his niece and nephews, Harry made it clear that he is trying to break the cycle so Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, notably, don't receive the same fate. But what is his dynamic like with William's children, both in the past and now?

Harry gushed about George after he became an uncle for the first time

The world rejoiced when Prince William and Princess Catherine welcomed their first child, Prince George. At an event for his charity, Sentebale, Prince Harry was quoted joking about childcare fees and little George's tears — but the prince also alluded to what role he would play in his nephew's life.

"When I saw him [Prince George] he was crying as all babies do, but it's fantastic to have a new member of the family," Harry said (via Hello!). "I hope my brother knows how expensive my babysitting charges will be," he joked. Adding to his role as uncle, Harry said, "To make sure he has a good upbringing, to keep him out of harm's way and make sure he has fun. The rest of it I leave up to the parents."

Further reflecting on George's birth in his book, "Spare," Harry commented on his excitement to pass on his own passions to the little prince, noting how excited he was that William and Catherine's family was beginning to grow. "I couldn't wait to teach him about rugby and Rorke's Drift, flying and corridor cricket — and maybe give him a few pointers about how to survive life in the fishbowl," he wrote poignantly (via Marie Claire).

Harry doesn't mind being behind his niece and nephews in the line of succession

Well before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal life behind, Harry spoke to journalist Angela Levin in June 2017 about his role in the family and his position as an uncle, telling her that he genuinely believed "no one in the royal family wants to be King or Queen" (via the Daily Mail). Noting that he used this mentality as a way of escaping the royal rules and protocols, Harry also shared his experience of childhood within the firm. "I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn't want to grow up," he said (via the Daily Mail).

With all that said, Levin questioned him about his position in the royal line of succession. After his brother, Prince William, started having children of his own, Harry began to drop in the ranks. While some may think this would upset a royal, Harry had nothing but good things to say about Prince George and Princess Charlotte (Prince Louis wasn't around then), and his distance from the crown.

"The reason I am now fifth is because of my nephew and niece and I could never wish them away," Harry told Levin. "They are the most amazing things ever." Clearly, there are no bad feelings about Harry and the inevitability that he will never sit on the British throne.

Harry was out of the country when Charlotte was born

Though Prince Harry gushed about becoming a first-time uncle when Prince George was born, there was less excitement from him when Princess Charlotte was welcomed into the family, partially because he was overseas serving in the military at the time. Writing in his memoir, "Spare," Harry reflected on Charlotte's birth, writing, "I went to Australia for a round of military exercises and while there I got word: Willy and Kate had welcomed their second child. Charlotte. I was an uncle again, and very happy about it," (via Hello!).

But Harry's life in the military was poignant — he initially enlisted to serve a three-year tour but ended up serving a decade. He revealed that though the military gave him the opportunity to escape royal life, he was sad to miss the birth of his niece. "I felt very resentful," Harry reflected (via the Daily Mail). "Being in the Army was the best escape I've ever had. I felt as though I was really achieving something." Though he missed out on Charlotte's birth, Harry and the little princess have shared touching moments over the years, but Harry noted that this time in his life was categorized by one overarching theme: "I wasn't a Prince, I was just Harry."

Harry reportedly thought he would become replaceable after George was born

Though they deal with the same ins and outs as any other family, the royals have that extra layer to contend with. Family politics are just as much a part of their day-to-day as breakfast is, and Prince Harry reportedly believed that he would become expendable after Prince George was born. 

As detailed by royal correspondent Valentine Low in the book "Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown," Harry feared that George would make him irrelevant before the young prince turned 18, forcing Harry into a bit of a corner (via The Times). Claiming that his advisors didn't help him navigate the changing waters, Low detailed that Harry had a sense of "fear that his time was running out" in order to stay in a position of importance within the family.

"He had this thing that he had a shelf life. He was fixated [on] this. He would compare himself with his uncle [Prince Andrew]," an insider told Low in the book. "He would say, 'I have this time to make this impact. Because I can.' Until George turns 18, was the way he was thinking about it. 'Then I will be the also-ran.' He was genuinely thinking of it as, 'I have this platform now, for a limited amount of time. I want to move forward, move forward.'" Low further pointed out that at this time, Harry's doubt in the palace continued to increase.

Louis' birth came at an incredibly awkward time for Harry and his extended family

When Prince Harry became an uncle for the third time, the occasion wasn't met with the same kind of enthusiasm as before. Detailing the particularly awkward timing in his book, "Spare," Harry wrote that Princess Catherine's pregnancy and the birth of Prince Louis was a bit of a sore spot between her and Meghan Markle, as the Duchess of Sussex remarked on Catherine's mental sharpness in the lead up to Harry and Meghan's wedding. 

Meghan reportedly commented on Catherine's so-called "baby brain" and postpartum hormones as plans for the wedding increased in severity. Offended by Meghan's forwardness, Catherine was said to have taken the comment personally and an argument erupted between them. Categorizing the confrontation as a charged discussion in his book, an insider further told the Daily Mail that Harry's estimations were a little vague. "It caused a huge row because Meghan was told that she wasn't close enough to her sister-in-law to discuss her hormones," the source explained. "It wasn't the way people spoke to each other within the royal family." Meghan reportedly left the interaction feeling displaced — the rift between the couples was clearly already forming (and we haven't even gotten to the bridesmaids' dresses yet).

Charlotte and Harry found a moment of connection during this sad event

As Prince George and Princess Charlotte have gotten older, they've witnessed Prince Harry and Prince William's tragic falling out — Prince Louis was around for some of it, but at just 4 years old he's likely not absorbed the severity of the feud. Despite the family politics plaguing their interactions, Harry and William reunited to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II — providing shocking joint appearances for the public to sink their teeth into. But perhaps one of the sweetest moments came when Harry reunited with Charlotte, his one and only niece, who was clearly having a hard time amid the queen's passing. Captured on-camera incredibly saddened and sobbing at one point, the young princess took the monarch's passing to heart, and her uncle provided a point of levity that didn't go unmissed.

Charlotte and Harry sat next to each other during the queen's committal service at Westminster Abbey. The service saw the Sussexes reunite with the bulk of the royal family, but any sense of anxiety or fear didn't stop Harry from softly smiling at his niece. As she went to fix her hat, Charlotte looked at her uncle who gave her a reassuring expression — she sweetly smiled back, and though it was such a small moment in the grand scale of things, it became clear that Harry had his niece's best interest in mind.

Harry tried to bridge the gap between his kids and William's

Prince Harry definitely had the fun uncle potential that we all believed he would possess, but things changed when he became a father himself. When Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was born in May 2019, things between Harry, Meghan Markle, and the royal family were far more severe than many people realized at the time — it's only through his interviews and memoirs that Harry has exposed the true agony that royal life, the royal rota, press interests, and more presented to him and Meghan. Still, Harry tried to bridge the gap between himself, Meghan, Archie, and his extended family, and we did get a few cute shots of Harry and Prince William's families interacting with one another.

At the time, Harry's little trio met up with William, Princess Catherine, and their three children at a polo match in 2019. Archie was just 2 months old at the time, so while he spent the majority of the day in his mom's arms, it was really nice to see the two families interact with one another. Prince George carefully watched over Archie and chatted with Meghan throughout the day, and Meghan and Catherine laughed together as Prince Louis gleefully stole his mom's sunglasses and wore them. It was perhaps one of the only public interactions between Harry and William's children and gave royal watchers a bit of a glimpse into what might have been.

Harry has expressed his concerns for Charlotte and Louis in particular as they get older

As Prince Harry asserts himself as a voice of change within the royal family, he's made it clear that he has every intention of breaking generational cycles of abuse at the hands of the royal rota, snooping paparazzi, and the family politics that tormented his childhood. During his press tour amid the release of "Spare," Harry addressed his concern for the younger children within the royal family today — notably his niece and youngest nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who could very easily be slapped with the same title of "spare" that Harry was as a youngster.

"I also worry about other young kids within that family if this continues," Harry said of the dynamics that detrimentally altered his life (via ABC). "Because who's to say that someone else doesn't fill my shoes and that their partner, whether it's a husband or a wife or boyfriend or a girlfriend, doesn't get treated exactly the same as Meghan did?" Further highlighting that the kids could revel in their positions — as they are not direct heirs to the throne like Prince William or his firstborn child, Prince George — Harry further pointed out that the royals should make it clear that Charlotte and Louis' roles are just as vital.

Louis picked up both traits and a hobby from his uncle Harry

When Prince Harry was a little kid, he was often seen flashing funny faces for the camera and reveling in his position as the rambunctious youngster. If one royal has followed in his famous footsteps, it's Prince Louis, the youngest Wales kid who's been hitting the headlines with his funny faces, cheeky expressions, and meme-worthy moments since he was a toddler. Harry and Louis — though living thousands of miles apart — clearly share a silly streak that's hard to come by within the royal family, but that's not the only trait they share. Princess Catherine alluded to her brother-in-law — even amid his book's press tour — during an event in England, revealing that little Louis has picked up the game of rugby. "Louis is mad about rugby," Catherine said (via Hello!) which is seen as a nod to Harry's revelations in "Spare." 

"I played [all] sport, though rugby captured my heart," Harry wrote in the book while reflecting on his time at Eton College (via Hello!). "Beautiful game, plus a good excuse to run into stuff very hard." Catherine further explained during the same event that all of her children are at a point where sports are a fixture in their day-to-day lives. "They all love sport. They are at an age where they just love running around," she said, perhaps knowingly signaling to their uncle that his influence is felt.

William has made it very clear that Harry has a limited place in his kids' lives

Though Prince Harry has been vocal about his experiences within the royal family before, the release of his memoir brought a whole new layer of openness and candid comments from the prince. Harry shared that he's genuinely concerned about Prince William's children and the young generation of royal family members, noting that he would hate for Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to be slapped with such a harsh label — and lack of importance within the family — as he was.

"As I know full well, within my family, if it's not us [Harry and Meghan Markle], it's going to be someone else," Harry confessed (via The Telegraph). "Though William and I have talked about it once or twice, and he has made it very clear to me that his kids are not my responsibility, I still feel a responsibility knowing that out of those three children, at least one will end up like me, the spare. And that hurts, that worries me," he continued, the sharp estimation from his brother stinging quite a bit.

Harry also wrote about the adoption of the "spare" label when he was a kid, writing that King Charles III told Princess Diana after his birth: "Wonderful! Now you've given me an heir and a spare — my work is done" (via The Guardian).

George was at the center of Harry's conflict with the royal family

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle felt the gears of the royal family shifting away from them, one particular photoshoot and PR campaign nailed the coffin shut — with Prince George at the center of it. A photoshoot with Prince William, then-Prince Charles, George, and Queen Elizabeth II was conducted and sent to the masses, and according to royal biographer Andrew Morton, Harry was disturbed that such a strong signal about his place in the royal family was set in stone.

"The royal couple suspected that the entire institution was conspiring against them. As they saw it, the evidence was all around them," Morton detailed in his book "Meghan: A Hollywood Princess" (via Express). "The unspoken code was straightforward: the future of the monarchy was assured, with or without Meghan and Harry."

Morton emphasized that Harry and Meghan's popularity both in Britain and abroad did not pale in comparison to the importance of the monarchy's line of succession. So, Harry requested a meeting with the queen to discuss his future within the firm. "At the last minute, the meeting was postponed. Harry suspected classic internal politics, his family was concerned that anything the queen agreed during informal conversations would be used by Harry as a negotiating tactic," Morton assessed.

Harry shed light on this high-profile incident involving Princess Charlotte

Though he has tried to care for his niece and nephews, Prince Harry's relationship with Prince William and Princess Catherine's children has been mired by the brothers' feud. Unfortunately, Princess Charlotte was in the middle of one of the most reported rows between Catherine and Meghan Markle, with Harry shedding further light on the subject in "Spare." 

Harry noted that designer Givenchy was behind the bridesmaids' dresses for his and Meghan's big day. Three-year-old Charlotte was one of the bridesmaids for the wedding, and her designer dress was delivered ahead of the ceremony. After putting it on, Catherine claimed that Charlotte immediately started crying because the fit of the dress wasn't correct, demanding that it be remade with only four days to go until the wedding. The hand-sewn dress was made to measure, Harry detailed, but it wasn't enough to satisfy.

According to Harry, such insistence on Catherine's part left the bride-to-be in tears just days before the wedding — and as many of us know, the story of the row between Meghan and Catherine about the dresses hit the headlines, flipping who was to blame and who was left in tears. Only during Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey and Harry's subsequent memoir did the couple finally set the record straight on the subject, highlighting the incident as yet another occasion where the palace didn't try to correct the narrative.

The royals may want to keep Prince George away from Prince Harry

Prince Harry may feel that he's Prince William's children's best interest at heart, but some believe he could actually have a harmful impact on them instead. Royal expert, Angela Levin, thinks Prince George in particular, would benefit from avoiding his uncle so he doesn't end up with the same negative feelings toward royal life, as he's a direct heir to the throne. "George doesn't have a dysfunctional family, unlike William and Harry growing up, so he should fare better. ... But he needs to be kept away from Harry's negative influence," Levin said (via the New York Post).

Harry and George had reportedly once been rather close so George really missed his uncle when he initially moved to California. Royal author, Tom Bower, said that George also isn't aware of the feud between Harry and the family either, because his mother, Princess Catherine, had made it a point to always keep things civil. Yet, Bower feels that Catherine's attitude might have changed after Harry released his memoir and documentary. "Of course Prince George will be oblivious to all this — Harry will simply be forever marginalized in his memory, " Bower explained (via the New York Post).

Royal historian, Dr. Tessa Dunlop, surmises that George probably knows there's something going on. "They've lost Uncle Harry and so forth and he realises he's got to step up to it — 10-year-olds can often be quite mature," Dunlop dished (via the Mirror).

Prince Harry spent the least time with Prince Louis but they still have a special connection

Prince Harry seems to have a special connection with Prince Louis, even if he was already on the outs with the royal family by the time Louis was born. "Harry spent less time with Prince Louis than the others because of the growing tension between him and his brother," royal biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in "Finding Freedom" (via Marie Claire). Yet, Prince Harry did give Louis an extra special gift for his christening in 2018.

That present was later revealed to be a first edition of the 1926 classic book, "Winnie the Pooh," by A.A Milne. Harry dropped a whopping £8,000 on the rare copy, seemingly because it was meaningful to him. An insider explained to the Mirror, "One of Harry's happiest childhood memories was being read a bedtime story by his mother ... and Harry had the brilliant idea of starting a little library of first editions for Louis, Charlotte and George." The source added that Harry contemplated getting another book, but decided "Winnie the Pooh" was a better fit.

That's probably not the only time Harry passed something from his childhood down to his nephew since Louis looks to have inherited some of his uncle's style too. At the Trooping the Colour in 2023, Louis was photographed in an outfit that was similar to what Harry once wore at Kensington Palace in 1989, when he was near Louis' age.

Prince Harry doesn't always visit the Wales children when in the U.K.

It appears Prince Harry hasn't always made it a point to look in on his niece and nephews when he's in England. For instance, he noticeably skipped a visit when he returned for Prince Philip's funeral in 2021. At the time, a source told Us Weekly, "Harry didn't get to see [Prince] George, [Princess] Charlotte and [Prince] Louis in the U.K."

Things apparently got worse in 2023, because Harry missed multiple opportunities to check in on the Wales children. In March 2023, for example, Harry seemingly didn't inform his brother, Prince William, of his plans to come to London for a court hearing, since the Express reported that William took his kids away on a trip for their school break. Harry presumably then didn't have time to see them when he returned for King Charles III's coronation in May, as he left for California just hours after the ceremony.

Harry made another quick trip to Britain in September 2023 for an awards ceremony, near the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death. However, he reportedly didn't visit the kids then either, because he immediately left for Germany following his event. The lack of visits might not be totally Harry's fault though, since royal podcaster, Kinsey Schofield, told Fox News Digital that William was "dreading" Harry's latest return. "It is my understanding that the Prince and Princess of Wales have no desire to meet with Harry," Schofield said.

Prince Harry's kids rarely see their cousins in person

It doesn't seem that Prince Harry's children have spent much time with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis in person. In January 2022, a source told Us Weekly that Harry and Meghan Markle still wanted Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet to have a relationship with Prince William's kids, despite their children living in California. "It's obviously difficult because of the distance factor, so Harry sweetly organized a special Zoom call with Prince William so that the cousins could get to see each other," the insider explained.

While another source told Us Weekly in a different interview that all three Wales children are "extremely fond" of their Uncle Harry, it's Charlotte in particular, who is the most affectionate toward him and his children. That's because she reportedly sends them sweet gifts and cards. It appears that those long-distance interactions might not be cutting it though. A royal expert claimed to the Mirror in August 2023 that Harry had regrets about not taking his children to spend the summer in the U.K., so they could learn more about their cousins.

Yet, also in August 2023, royal writer, Angela Epstein, suggested in the Express that Harry's kids and the Wales children don't ever hang out and that it's Harry's fault. "Harry's spectacular fall out with his brother and sister-in-law and fleeing the UK ... means the opportunities for the little royal cousins to become playmates are almost non-existent," Epstein wrote.

Prince Harry is raising his kids to be like Prince William's

Just because Prince Harry and his children don't seem to spend time with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't want his kids to be like them. In fact, according to Hello!, it seems Harry is raising his kids similarly to how his brother and his wife, Princess Catherine, are bringing up their brood, despite their family feud. For one, William and Catherine have made it a point to shield their children from the spotlight by moving them out of London to Windsor. Harry did that on a grander scale, by deciding to raise his children in California. It's also worth noting that both of their new homes are surrounded by nature so the kids can play outside.

It seems that Prince Harry also took a cue from William when naming his daughter, Lilibet. That's because William's daughter's full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, after Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. As for Lilibet, Harry and Meghan Markle explained in a statement, "Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother" (via Archwell).

Despite the similarities, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet's upbringing is still different than their cousins, since their father walked away from royal life. Regardless, it's safe to say Harry will always love William's children, and won't let distance or tensions change that.