What Prince William Has Said About Prince Harry Over The Years Speaks Volumes

In February 2023, Prince Harry's bombshell memoir "Spare" had been in circulation for about a month, yet the residents of Buckingham Palace seemingly had nothing to say about it. Harry has attributed this lack of comment to a silent smear campaign, allegedly led by his family and the British tabloids. He told "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, "After 38 years, they have told their side of the story. This is the other side of the story and there's a lot in here that perhaps makes people feel uncomfortable and scared."

He said that though he and his brother seemed very much "in lockstep" growing up, this image of two close brothers was part of a larger, crafted narrative. The prince added: "More recently, especially in the last six years, the fracture of the relationship between me and my brother has very much been pinned on my wife."

In light of these comments, we're looking back at Prince Harry and Prince William's relationship prior to their public falling out. We've gathered together all of the critical statements the Prince of Wales has made about Prince Harry over the years, in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how things really were between the brothers when the cameras were turned off.

Prince William always made time to tease his brother

Prince William has been known to crack jokes during speeches — often at Prince Harry's expense. In 2012, he threw Harry under the bus at the launch of Coach Core, a training program for aspiring, young athletes. "Watching me on the football field is never a pretty sight," he stated (via YouTube). "However, it's marginally less embarrassing than seeing my brother cheat his way to becoming the fastest man on the planet." Though we're uncertain what inspired this zinger, it appears to have been the prince's favorite way to tease his younger sibling.

A year later, he used the same setup to make his audience chuckle during a special visit to the Harry Potter Experience. "[Prince] Harry's just excited to see a real-life talking owl in the 'Harry Potter' film," he said (via YouTube). "I haven't told him yet that 'Harry Potter' is actually fictional, so please don't let the secret out just yet."

Even when the two reacted to home videos as a part of the "Elizabeth At 90: A Family Tribute" documentary in 2016 (via YouTube), shots were fired. "It's hard to tell if you're a boy or a girl in that dress," William said of Harry's christening gown, a traditional long dress. "Thank you for that," Harry responded. "I think that normally happens at this stage of your life." If their banter was like this in public, we can imagine how heated debates must have been behind the scenes!

He spoke nostalgically of their time together

The royal brothers haven't made a public appearance together in years, apart from their grandmother's funeral in 2022. Many have assumed this was due to the family rift, caused suddenly by the departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2020. However, Prince William may have foreshadowed the falling out in a 2004 interview, when he opened up about the family's complicated dynamic. "We get along really well Harry and I and our father; we are a very close family," he said (via YouTube). "There are disagreements, obviously, ... and they're big disagreements, but when there's happy times we have a really good time."

When the two brothers looked back through old photographs of their mother for the documentary "Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy" (via Facebook) more than two decades after her death, Prince William expressed the same nostalgia for the times he shared with his brother and family. "It's really nice looking back at it and reminding yourself," he said. "When I started looking through it [the photo album], it brought back so many memories."

The two later bonded over their shared loss

Though their lives are very different and now separate as adults, one thing the two royal brothers have been able to come together over consistently is the shared loss of their mother, Princess Diana. In August 1997, she was tragically killed in a car accident. At the time, Prince William and Prince Harry were just 15 and 12 years old, respectively.

Now grown, both men have tried to keep the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, alive by furthering her biggest passion projects, sharing their favorite pictures of her, and contributing to documentaries about her life. In the documentary "Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy" (via Facebook), Prince William admitted he often puts his children to bed with stories of their other grandmother. "It's important that they know who she was and that she existed," he said.

In 2018, Prince William opened up about how his mother's death impacted him and his brother. "My brother and I's relationship is closer than it's been because of the situations we've been through," he said (via ABC News). "Losing our mother at a young age has kind of helped us sort of travel through that difficult patch together. ... It's a bond and it's something that, you know, you've tackled it together and come out the other side better for it."

Prince William had a lot to say about Prince Harry's career interests

Though the brothers are best known for their somewhat biting banter, there have been some genuinely sweet moments between the two over the years. In a video from 2009 (via YouTube), Prince William praised his brother for his hard work during the air force training program. "He puts himself down, but generally he's done seriously well," he said. "I've talked to his instructor ... and he's doing a fantastic job, so he's just very modest about it." For his part, Prince Harry seemed a bit surprised and bashful to receive the compliment — we guess he wasn't expecting it!

Prior to the training courses, Prince William had only good things to say about his baby brother. The two young royals sat down with "TODAY" anchor Matt Lauer to talk about their career goals and potential deployment. When asked whether he was concerned Prince Harry might end up overseas, William said: "Of course I worry, but I've got full confidence in what he does" (via YouTube). "He knows what he's doing and he's very good at what his job is."

Prince William acknowledged that he and Prince Harry have grieved differently

Prince Harry and Prince William both lost their mother when they were children, but as Prince Harry put it in a "60 Minutes" segment: "We dealt with it two very different ways." Harry explained that he had bottled up a lot of his emotions surrounding the trauma and was unable to talk about it or express his emotions at the time. "I never ever thought that maybe talking about it with my brother or with anybody else at that point would be therapeutic."

For his part, Prince William agreed that the two brothers had a hard time talking openly about their pain. "Harry and I over the years have not talked enough about our mother," he said in a clip for Heads Together (via YouTube). Another time, William also spoke of having to put on a show to get through all the public events required of him as a royal. "All I cared about was, I'd lost my mother, and I didn't want to be where I was ... When we go out and do things like that, in order not to completely and utterly break down, we have to put on a bit of a game face, he said (via ABC News). "You have to be quite strong about it because otherwise you're a walking mess."

He took the lead in trying to heal their family trauma

Despite Prince Harry being the one to speak out the most about mental health issues, it was allegedly Prince William that first pushed to open up a constructive dialogue on the subject within the family. Prince Harry, who previously admitted he didn't cry for years after his mother's death, explained how his older brother had repeatedly tried to get him to be honest about his suffering. "You always said to me, 'You've got to sit down and think about those memories,'" he said during a 2017 segment for Heads Together, a conglomeration of mental health charities once led by William, Harry, and Catherine, Princess of Wales. "For me, it was like, 'I don't want to think about it.'"

"You have to prioritize your mental health," Prince William responded. "Someone has to take the lead and be brave enough to force that conversation." For his part, the Prince of Wales has said he didn't want to let the tragedy become an inescapable obsession, for him or his brother. "I wouldn't let it break me, I wanted it to make me," he told the BBC (via YouTube). "I didn't want her worried or her legacy to be that, you know, William and/or Harry were completely and utterly devastated."

They're not each other's favorite roommates

As most people with siblings will know, living with your brothers or sisters can be a huge pain. Even the two royal brothers have said repeatedly that they hated living together. While speaking to reporters in 2009 about their military training (via YouTube), a journalist asked whether it was the last time the two princes would be living together. "First and last time we'll be living together," Prince Harry immediately responded. Prince William followed with: "It's been a fairly emotional experience. I cook [for] him and feed him basically every day. ... He does do a bit of the washing up, but he leaves most of it in the sink and then ... I have to wash it up." Harry shook his head and groaned, "Oh, the lies." William wrapped up his roast by saying: "He snores a lot as well, keeps me up all night long."

Even after Prince Harry got engaged in 2017, Prince William said he was happy to be free of Harry's snack-stealing. "We're very excited, delighted for them both," he told an ITV News reporter (via Twitter). "Personally, I hope it means he stays out of my fridge and will stop scrounging my food, which he's done for the last few years."

He backed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's concerns about press bullying

Then-actress Meghan Markle first began dating eligible bachelor Prince Harry in 2016, and it didn't take very long for fans and media outlets to catch on. From the moment she stepped into his life, she was a major target — for both praise and humiliation. According to Prince Harry's statement, released by the palace, the press harassment included: "Nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life." The statement concluded by stating: "It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm." 

Though the royal family, as expected, did not want to spotlight the drama by commenting on it, Prince William did make an effort to defend his brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law. On behalf of Prince William, Kensington Palace released the following statement shortly afterward: "The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him" (via The Telegraph). While the statement was brief, it was notable because members of the royal family typically remain quiet on personal matters.  

Prince William hinted he knows all about Spare

Following the release of Prince Harry's memoir "Spare," readers and royal watchers have picked apart details of the royal family's public appearances to try and gauge their reactions to the claims found within the book. As far as official statements go, though, the family has remained mum. "Dignified silence is a tried and tested format," Katie Nicholl, royal expert and correspondent for Vanity Fair, told Time. "The palace is reluctant to engage at any level because once they do, it just fuels the narrative and Harry has made so many allegations it's almost impossible to address every one."

Although Prince William, like the rest of his family, has maintained strict silence on the subject, there's some evidence to suggest he's at least aware of what's been written about him. According to The Telegraph, the prince responded, "Yes, I will," after a fan told him to "keep going" during a meet-and-greet in January 2023. The fan, Sylvia Staniford, later told the publication, "Of course that was a reference to Harry. He knew what I was talking about."

This wasn't exactly the direct response fans and journalists alike wanted, but it was a small recognition of the family's ongoing feud. Though we still don't definitively know Prince William's inner thoughts on the matter, it's safe to say he at least appreciated the stranger's comment.