Inside Prince William's Relationship With Harry's Children

Over the course of the last many years, Prince Harry's relationship with the royal family — and particularly with his brother, Prince William — has existed under the microscope. Since his departure from royal life, Harry moved to California, welcomed his second child, released a tell-all memoir, sat down with Oprah and Netflix, and has continued to share his experiences with mental health, the toll royal life took on him and Meghan Markle, and more. Meanwhile, William has become the direct heir to the British throne and dedicated himself to royal life like never before — the two brothers could not be on more opposite sides of life, and their relationship is a testament of that.

And while many royal watchers have paid attention to the brothers, not as much time has been spent looking at the dynamics between William and the rest of Harry's family, and it looks like the animosity between William and Harry has impacted the Prince of Wales' relationship with Harry's children. There are, of course, some aspects to keep in mind. Archie was still just a toddler when Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal life, and Lilibet was born in the United States. Their lives in California are incredibly removed from that of the firm, not only by an ocean and time zones but by unresolved tension, accusations, and trauma. All of this has materialized into familial distance, and William's relationship with Harry's children is a perfect example of this.

William waited a week until he met his nephew, Archie, for the first time

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first baby, Prince Archie, the world naturally celebrated along with them. Their family, however, didn't seem as eager to jump on the congratulatory bandwagon. As it turns out, Prince William and Princess Catherine waited a whole week before they met Archie, certainly playing into the narrative unfolding at the time that things between the royal couples were at an all time low. Confirmed by royal correspondent Victoria Murphy in a tweet, "The visit took place after Harry returned from a day of engagements in Oxford," with reporter Rebecca English adding, "It will be a little while yet before George, Charlotte and Louis meet their new cousin."

Officially, the delayed meeting was due to conflicting schedules. William and Catherine were busy with the King's Cup regatta, as the event had just launched, and their engagement was followed by a trip to North Wales. For his part, Harry went to the Netherlands and returned shortly before his brother and sister-in-law met his son. As a representative for the palace told People at the time, "Harry and Meghan spent the weekend enjoying their first weekend as parents, celebrating Mother's Day, and had visits from a few friends," seemingly smoothing things over while tensions between the brothers were bubbling to the surface.

Uncle William took some heat during Archie's christening

The tension didn't seem to quell between Prince William and Prince Harry — even after Prince Archie was born — and things went from bad to worse when the entire royal family was pictured for Archie's christening. The christening of a royal baby is a big deal, and when photographed alongside his brother and new nephew, William gave an expression that was rather awkward — the tension in his face was apparent, and body language expert Judi James broke it down for the Daily Mail, admitting that it was hard to understand why Uncle Wills seemed like such a downer on the day.

"William's pose behind [Kate] looks harder to fathom out as it seems to show the prince in nightclub bouncer mode," she commented. "The fig-leaf hand gesture, head tilt and rather evaluating facial expression and knowing smile all bear the hallmarks of a man who won't let you into the venue until you produce some ID."

James further contrasted William's body language and expression with King Charles III and Doria Ragland's facial cues, noting that both seemed incredibly happy to be there, soaking in the joys of grandparenthood. William, meanwhile, looked like he'd rather be anywhere else, and it certainly gave royal watchers — and social media — a lot to talk about.

In a surprising move, Harry did not choose his brother to be Archie's godfather

When we examine the godparents chosen for the members of the royal family, it is traditionally understood that a fellow relative will serve as godfather or godmother. For example, Prince Andrew is Prince Harry's godfather, and Prince William's godfather was King Constantine II — who was Prince Philip's nephew. It's typically all kept in the family, but when it was time for Harry and Meghan Markle to choose a godfather for Prince Archie, William was absolutely not on the list. In a statement on behalf of the couple released by Buckingham Palace at the time, it became clear that no brotherly love would be extended. Rather, Harry looked outside of the family when it came time to pick godparents.

"The godparents, in keeping with their wishes, will remain private," the statement read, released about six months before the Sunday Times confirmed the identities of Archie's godparents. They are Tiggy Pettifer, who was Harry's nanny as a child, and Mark Dyer, Harry's longtime mentor and friend. This choice wasn't completely random, as Harry is the godfather to Dyer's son, Jasper, and Pettifer's son, Tom. Of course, royal watchers were quick to point out that Harry did not choose his brother — as his father chose his own brother when it was his turn to pick a godparent — and it certainly gave a bit more ammunition to the already burning fire between the brothers.

William didn't make an effort to be in attendance when Queen Elizabeth met Lilibet

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle still resided in the United Kingdom, it certainly appeared that they did everything they could to play the part of the happy royal couple. They spearheaded causes, went on official royal tours on behalf of the monarchy, smiled, waved, did walkabouts — and yet, there was underlying tension between Harry and Prince William that was difficult to ignore, and it certainly bled into William's relationships with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. As it so happens, William and Princess Catherine didn't make an effort to join Harry, Meghan, and Queen Elizabeth II when the late monarch met baby Lili for the first time; instead, the couple was on a trip to Wales.

The timing of the interactions — or lack thereof — did leave some questions unanswered. The queen met Lili amid her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which marked her 70 years on the throne. Given the important milestone, Harry and Meghan were back in the United Kingdom to join the royal family amid the celebrations, and William's trip to Wales was in fact part of the jubilee schedule. However, it didn't give off the most unified look at the time, despite the reports coming out of the palace that Harry and William were having weekly video calls, attempting to smooth things over. It was certainly an overlooked opportunity to get the brothers — and their children — all together.

William was notably absent from Lilibet's first birthday party

Yet another milestone for Princess Lilibet was missed by her uncle, Prince William, when she joined her parents in the United Kingdom to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee. The timing of the milestone celebration overlapped with Lili's first birthday, and — like any parents would — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hosted a birthday party to mark her first full trip around the sun. 

As expected, Harry and Meghan invited members of the royal family to attend their little girl's big day, including William, Princess Catherine, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, but none attended. In fact, they were all in different parts of Great Britain to continue commemorating the queen, and a source told Entertainment Tonight at the time that there was no ill will despite the optics. "It's simply a coincidence they fell on the same day," the source said of Lili's birthday party and William's absence. "There was no intended slight."

However, royal watchers were quick to point out that in a joint appearance that soon followed, Harry and Meghan were seated far away from William and Catherine, and instead joined Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice at the Platinum Jubilee event. Did William give Lili the cold shoulder? Given the ongoing tension, it's difficult to interpret it as anything other than a snub.

William's future as monarch could be haunted by this interaction regarding Archie

Amid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit from royal life and the launching of their new lives in California, the two started speaking more candidly about their experiences within the firm. Of course, their sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey opened the floodgates, and the couple shared previously unknown aspects of their experiences at the hands of the royal family, the relentless British press, and the firm's environment as a whole. One of the most notable interactions they shared had to do with their son, Prince Archie, whose skin color was a point of concern for an unnamed member of the royal family. To say that the admission was shocking is an understatement, and as it happens, it could come back to haunt Prince William with time.

Commenting on the matter, researcher Aisha Phoenix told The Guardian that the royal family has to address the situation for what it is — colourism, and the veiled racism that has permeated the royal family and British aristocracy. Further still, royal expert Kinsey Schofield told TMZ that the morals and values of King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, and William will further be questioned the longer they sweep the comments under the rug.

"It has made a lot of people question [William and Charles]," Schofield said of the comments. "That is still a really hurtful experience for the Sussexes."

The comments about Archie's skintone reportedly caused a row between William and Harry

When royal expert Kinsey Schofield told TMZ that the comments about Prince Archie's skin tone needed to be discussed between Prince Harry and Prince William — in addition to the rest of the royal family — she may have not envisioned an all-out row. But according to author Christopher Andersen's book "Brothers And Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan," that's exactly what happened.

In the immediate aftermath of the Oprah interview and the claims Harry and Meghan Markle made, the royals released an uncharacteristically frank statement about the matter. In addition, William quipped to members of the press while visiting a school that he and the royal family are "very much not racist," but things behind closed doors were said to be far less cordial. According to Andersen's book, it was King Charles III that made the comment about Archie's skin tone — after Harry confronted him on the matter, both Charles and William retorted, telling him that he was being "overly sensitive about the matter" (per Insider). As far as William was concerned, the comment on his father's behalf lacked tact, "[but] was not a sign of racism within the family." It was in this detailed interaction that it became crystal clear that William and Charles were on one side of the issue, and Harry was on the other.

William has not introduced his children to Lilibet yet

As a brief reminder, Prince William and Princess Catherine have three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — and though the kids have met Prince Archie, they have yet to meet Princess Lilibet as of publication. Not only did the Waleses miss out on Lili's first birthday party while the Sussexes were in Great Britain for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebration, but a source told Page Six that William was increasingly paranoid about spending any time with his brother and his kids due to the ongoing tension between them.

"William is still wary of spending any time alone with Harry as you never quite know what may be reported back afterwards," the source said at the time, categorizing their relationship as "fraught." Still, any kind of stress did not stop King Charles III from meeting his granddaughter while the Sussexes were in the United Kingdom, and a royal source told the BBC that their meeting for the first time was an incredibly emotional experience. The source added that Charles "[was] absolutely thrilled" to meet Lili for the first time, and it certainly seemed as though Harry and his father were making strides in their relationship that he and William were not. Time will tell if George, Charlotte, and Louis ever meet Lili, whether it be in the United Kingdom or the United States.

Despite tensions, William and Kate congratulated Harry and Meghan when Lili was born

Ahead of Princess Lilibet's arrival, Meghan Markle became incredibly candid about her experiences as a mother, writing an expository column for The New York Times detailing her miscarriage. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," Meghan wrote at the time. "Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal." 

Unfortunately, the members of the royal family did not publicly acknowledge Meghan's column and the tragic admission she shared with the world, with Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers sharing at the time that the palace had declined to comment on the story when he reached out. "They should have backed her to the hilt on this. They should have made public statements on this saying this is a really brave and honest thing to do," he said, instead pointing out that the firm had turned their back on her completely.

This was the environment between the Sussexes and the royal family when Lili was born, making Prince William and Princess Catherine's Instagram post in honor of her birth that much more surprising. "We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie," they wrote.

William reportedly derailed plans for Lilibet to be christened in Great Britain

As detailed earlier, the christening of a royal baby is a big deal, and it's an opportunity for the royal family to gather and celebrate the newest member of the pack. For Princess Lilibet — who was born in the United States — she was not granted the same christening experience as her brother, Prince Archie, and the royal babies before her thanks to her uncle, Prince William. Neil Sean, NBC's royal correspondent, detailed that Lili would not have her christening take place at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle due to William's intervention, certainly against Meghan Markle's wishes.

"One of the bigger problems that Meghan really encountered of late is that she wanted her daughter, Lilibet Diana, to be christened in the place she was married alongside her husband Prince Harry. And then the christening of her firstborn, Archie," Sean detailed. "According to a very good source, Prince William was the one who basically said, 'No, we don't think this is going to work,' it wasn't a particularly good idea."

Why was William so hell bent on keeping Lili's christening from happening? Sean further explained that he has been the one person who has not budged when it has come to smoothing things over with Harry, as opposed to other members of the royal family who might be more inclined to hear him out.

William and the royals declined to attend Lilibet's christening when it finally did happen

Given that Prince William halted the plans for Princess Lilibet to be christened in the United Kingdom, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went ahead with plans to have her christening held in California. An inside source told People at the time that her christening was held at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and her godfather — Tyler Perry, who famously helped Meghan and Harry when they left Great Britain and let them stay in his home — was in attendance along with 20 to 30 guests. Lili's grandmother, Doria Ragland, was there as was the little princess's godmother, who has yet to be announced publicly.

The source also shared that Prince William, Princess Catherine, King Charles III, and Camilla, Queen Consort, were all invited to the ceremony but declined to attend. When commenting on the matter on the record, the Sussexes' spokesperson said, "I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3 by the bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rev John Taylor," but did not further comment about the snub extended by the rest of the royal family.

What remains clear — given the unresolved tension between the brothers — is that William is not willing to budge, even when it comes to his niece.

William could impact Archie and Lilibet's future relationships

Looking to the future of Prince William's relationship with Prince Harry's children, it'll be interesting to see what happens — if he will ever introduce his children to Lili, and if the brothers can resolve their differences for the sake of their children. Time will certainly tell, but when it comes to the longer future, William could have an unexpected say in both Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet's lives. 

Passed in 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act details that the royal family members who make up the first six in line to the throne have to both request and receive permission to marry the person they want to — i.e., William had to seek permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry Princess Catherine, as Harry had to be allowed to marry Meghan Markle. If William — who is the direct heir to the throne — is the reigning monarch when Archie and Lilibet are at all interested and at an age where they would want to get married themselves, they will likely have to ask their uncle for his consent.

As it is structured in the line of succession, Archie is currently sixth in line to the throne, and Lili comes right behind him at seventh. But, as William takes the crown, their positions in the line will shift up one, and as such they will have to ask William for his consent to marry the person they want.