It's been a chaotic week for the royal family. Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they planned to step back as "senior royals" on January 8 rumors about their split with the House of Windsor have run rampant on social media. While the royals generally try to refrain from commenting on tabloid rumors, Prince William and Prince Harry released a rare joint statement denying claims Harry felt bullied by his older brother.
“Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a U.K. newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge,” the princes’ statement read. “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”
Royal reporter Omid Scobie shared a screen shot of William and Harry's rare joint statement on Twitter, as well. The story the brothers are denying ran in The Daily Mail with the headline "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'feel forced out by bullying William,' friends claim, as 'deeply hurt' Queen gathers royals for 'Megxit' summit where couple will be warned abdication could take months."
A similar report ran in The Times, which claims the brothers have been at odds since before Harry and Meghan's wedding. According to inside sources, William had a "bullying attitude" and Harry found his older brother wasn't "sufficiently welcoming" to Meghan. Their relationship never recovered, The Times alleges. As a result of the long-lasting family dispute, as well as Meghan's treatment at the hands of the British press, the Sussexes have decided to step back from royal life.
Not only did the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shock royal watchers everywhere with their announcement to step back, other members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth, reportedly only learned about the news shortly before it became public knowledge. Harry and Meghan shared the news on Instagram, as well, instead of going through official royal channels.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” their initial statement read.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," they continued. "This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”