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Inside Prince Harry and William’s Feud—and How Meghan Markle Joining the Family Deepened the Divide

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prince harry and meghan markle attend anzac day services


The complex feud between Prince William and Prince Harry has been explored here and there in tabloid reporting over the last couple years. But historian Robert Lacey devoted an entire book, Battle of Brothers: William and Harry–The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, into reporting out what exactly happened to the two princes and the impact Harry dating and ultimately marrying Meghan Markle had on his relationship with William. Is there any hope for a reconciliation now? Yes, Lacey says, but it’s complicated. “There is texture and history between these brothers—but it’s never going to be the same,” he tells ELLE.com.

ELLE.com spoke to Lacey, who serves as historian for Netflix’s The Crown, about what happened behind the scenes to the brothers, whether the boys’ mother Princess Diana would have put an end to the feud, and what Lacey envisions Meghan’s role will look like in the future as she and Harry continue to build their life in the U.S. He also addressed whether he sees her having political ambitions of her own.

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What is the backstory of your book Battle of Brothers?

Robert Lacey: Well, the rift between brothers [William and Harry] is a fact people don’t like talking about. This new generation of the Royal Family is very important to the Crown and very important to the nation. As we look ahead, we obviously hope Prince Philip and the Queen are blessed with long lives, but mortality takes its toll. We’re not quite sure what to think about King Charles III and Queen Camilla. I think most people still are [coming around to the thought of Charles and Camilla]. Whichever side you take, you have to acknowledge Camilla was the source of the conflict and the heart of the marital breakdown [of Charles and Diana] from whose consequences these boys have suffered.

Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult

We have this expression in Britain that the chickens are coming home to roost–we thought the 1980s and the 1990s were behind us, and suddenly they’re not. There’s these two boys, William and Harry, who have taken different lessons from those years. The lesson that William took from the breakdown and the emotional chaos was at least he had this duty, this responsibility to be King, the future monarch, and he had to live up to that. This became a source of strength for him; for other kids, it could have been a source of conceit or arrogance, but on the whole, it gave him this driving sense of duty. Even when he falls in love, he more or less politely requests his lady love to wait nine years before she marries him; here [in the U.K.] she was called “Waity Katie.” She did her duty, and they are now emerging as a very attractive future King and Queen. They are much more attractive to most Britains than Charles and Camilla.

There, on the one hand, you have duty, and on the other hand you have Harry emerging from the same emotional chaos. He takes a different lesson: His parents were locked into an arranged, loveless marriage, and he’s not going to make that mistake. He’s going to go for love, and that’s what he’s done with Meghan, unapologetically. The first thing he says is he fell in love the moment he saw her.

This is a very appealing but also challenging human dichotomy: Love versus duty. In 1936, it was embodied in the person of one man, Edward VIII, and is now embodied by these two boys. Just as in 1936, it was duty that won, and love had to go abroad. I expect that is the long-term solution here: Duty in the form of William and Kate will take over the situation, and Harry and his love will enjoy the freedom of America and, I hope, obviously there will be some sort of reconciliation. I think there will be [a reconciliation]. There is texture and history between these brothers, but it’s never going to be the same. I would imagine the base for Harry and Meghan is going to remain in the United States for the foreseeable future.

commonwealth day service 2020

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s final event as working senior royal family members.

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What compelled you to write this book?

I had been starting work on a book about Charles and Andrew and the previous generation, and the stresses and strains of Charles having a younger brother who was his mother’s favorite. At that stage, things were just coming to a head with the Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein scandal, and a friend said that they’re not princes that matter anymore, and the princes that matter are William and Harry. They’re the ones you should be looking at.

To start with, I didn’t think the story of the rift was true, but friends close to the family say William has a temper as well as Harry, and both have been scarred by this experience. Both are volatile and tend to fly off the handle; we saw the truth of that earlier this year in January at the Sandringham Showdown, when the row exploded into the open. The Queen said, “All right, let’s have meeting next Monday at 2 o’clock, where we’ll sit around the table and hash it out with all our advisors, private secretaries, the courtiers. But before that, we’ll have a family lunch where the family can just sit together and talk.” One prince said no, I’m not coming to that, I’m not sitting with my brother, and the prince who said that was William.

Most people were shocked. This is not Royal gossip; we saw William turning up late just in time for the 2 o’clock meeting, so there’s no doubt at all that was his position then. Friends suggest he was so furious with Harry that he couldn’t trust himself to sit at same table [as him]. This is the depth to which the anger has gone.

At least Harry, last September, said “we’re on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him, and he will always be there for me”; William has pretended it hasn’t happened, and he’s an old-style Royal in that sense. He’s taken lessons from his grandmother, and this is something of a patent in the Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth II took her lessons from her grandmother, Queen Mary. In the same way, William looks to his grandmother, Elizabeth II. William has been much more influenced by his grandmother than he ever has been by his father. That’s one of the things we’ve discovered–until recently, the rift in the family has brought father and son together; until then, there were quite severe arguments between William and Charles. William felt there were various ways where Charles wasn’t doing job properly as future king; he would argue with him and criticize him, and we know this because Camilla, when she came into the family, was absolutely shocked by the way William would talk to his father. There are two sides to the question. It’s very complex and all the more emotionally intriguing for that.

preparations for royal wedding of harry and meghan

Prince Harry and Prince William ahead of Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.

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What was the most surprising tidbit you gleaned from your research?

After William spoke to Harry about the need possibly to slow down in some way with Meghan, he got a brush off and then turned to his uncle, Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother. This has never been known before and is a revelation of the book. It’s important in a couple of ways. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that William went to his uncle on his mother’s side and didn’t go to his father. It does confirm the modern basis of the rift; the other books have talked about the rift starting with William suggesting to Harry that he slow down [his relationship with Meghan]. There has never been any solid proof of that, but my book brings in proof about Lord Spencer, and it’s been confirmed. It showed we don’t know exactly when it happened, but that was the essence of the argument.

You could certainly say William had a lot of justice on his side. We do not know the details of what he said to Harry, but if he pointed out that this woman that he [Harry] loved was a self-made Hollywood celebrity and a self-made millionairess who created her own celebrity, a self-sufficient woman like this who was ambitious and campaigning her belief in women’s rights and her wish to promote social change. These are radical initiatives, radical impulses; do they fit inside the rather safe and conservative British Royal Family? If those are the sort of objections and queries that William raised, well, events have proved them right, didn’t they? This was a woman who couldn’t fit inside the Royal Family so, as a result, she’s no longer royal.

What do you think Diana would have thought of this feud between the brothers? Do you think it would be happening were she alive, and what do you think she would say about all of this?

She would say “come on boys, it’s time to end this social distancing.” No, I don’t think [the feud] would have happened if Diana had been alive. One of the tragedies of her death was that it deprived them [William and Harry] of their more active parent. There’s a sense in which William become too close to his mother as things started to go wrong; she lent on him and relied on him which, I think, robbed him to some degree of his youth and is one of the sources of [William’s] anger. I think her emphasis on getting the boys to speak their minds to each other and say what’s on their minds would have come into play.

Meghan is curiously like Diana in her subversion of the Royal Family. The other person I compare [Meghan] to is Yoko Ono; a determined, original woman who came into a set of British folk heroes and stole one of Britain’s cherished folk heroes. She [Yoko] made John [Lennon] her own. The same is true for Harry and Meghan. Harry seems very happy to have been stolen away. The price of that is leaving the Royal Family.

diana william harry at school

Princess Diana with her sons Prince Harry and Prince William in 1989.

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If you could sit down and have tea with one member of the Royal Family, who would it be and why?

Meghan–no doubt about it. She is the member of the family who is the most outsider of them all, a self-made woman who is coming into an ancient institution, and I think she’s going to have to change a great deal in reaction to the impact that she has. I am immensely attracted to her ambitions and activism; I don’t agree with all her ideas or her politics, but I admire her energy, and I think a lot more is going to happen before we hear the end of Meghan Markle.

Any predictions as to what? Possibly the first mixed-race female president of the United States, as your book alludes to?

I know that’s a rumor and I allude to it in the book; I think actually her ambitions are more down to earth. Her first priorities are her family and her partner, who has sacrificed, in one way, so much for her. We know she sits down every day and thinks “how can I make the world a better place for Archie?” I think her immediate, hands-on social objectives are what really matters to her. And I think it does her a sort of injustice to suggest she’s got her eye on high political office; she’s got her eye on the human beings around her that she can help and reach out to.

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The 9 Best Sleep Apps For Your Most Restful Night Ever

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You need sleep. (Yeah, you already know that.) What isn’t always intuitive is how to get it. Between all of the stress the world has served up this past year and the temptation to doom scroll (a.k.a. nonstop surf the craziness your social feeds have to offer), we completely understand why you might be struggling to get your rest. One simple ritual that could help: using a sleep app.

Some of these digitally-available apps allow you to access meditation sessions or white noise recordings that you can play next to your pillow. Others monitor your sleep behaviors (like breathing and time spent tossing and turning) to help you make adjustments to your bedtime routine. “All of these apps have similar principles built into them,” says Rafael Pelayo, MD, professor at Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine and author of How to Sleep. At the end of the day, they’re designed to help you reach your sleep goals.

Pelayo’s pro tip for getting the most out of your app: Stick with it. After you’ve established your baseline (you do this the first time you use your app), use it enough times to identify trends in your sleep. (Note, if you find that your sleep declines, it might be worth checking in with a doctor.)

Pelayo notes that sleep apps can be “convenient, practical, and effective,” tools for getting a good night’s rest. Learn more about some of our favorites, below.

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1

Unplug Meditation

According to Pelayo, meditation apps help you fall asleep by making you feel safe and less alert to the happenings around you. Clicking into the Unplug app reveals a library of recorded meditations dedicated to upping your relaxation prior to sleep. Our recommendation: the 23 minute-long Meditation For Serious Sleep (that our tester swears she fell asleep to in under 10 minutes).

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

2

Calm

This app does exactly what it says it does. It’s loaded with countless hours of meditations and soothing tracks that help you wind down and practice mindfulness. If meditation isn’t your thing, give the app’s Sleep Stories a listen. The collection includes bedtime stories read in relaxing tones by a roster of familiar celebrity voices (like Harry Styles, Mandy Moore, Idris Elba, and more).

Pelayo says many of his patients have found success with this app—and the next one—because of how accessible and easy-to-use it is.

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

3

Headspace

Headspace had its cult-following way before it made its way to your Netflix watch list. The meditation app is easy-to-use, with a library divided by your meditation goals (e.g. concentration, balance, sleep). Our tester loved its sleep-specific meditations, as the recordings’ mix of soft narrations and ambient tracks never woke her after she’d fallen asleep—despite her being a light sleeper who is very sensitive to sound.

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

5

Unwind

If you look to the great outdoors for a reset (*raises hand*), hit download on Unwind. The app helps facilitate sleep by bringing the sounds of nature to your bedroom. (Think: falling rain and crashing waves.) Flip through the app’s numerous meditations, sleep stories, and breathing techniques.
$59.99/year; Mac App Store

6

Inscape

This app captures the relaxing effects of Inscape’s IRL meditation sessions into a gorgeous, easy-to-navigate app. Just position your phone next to your pillow and let the app’s tranquil tracks lull you to sleep.

$9.99/month; Mac App Store, Google Play

7

White Noise

“The need for sleep is biological, but the way you sleep is learned,” says Pelayo, who explains that once you’re accustomed to the sounds of your bedroom, introducing a new, novel sound (like a car passing or a cell phone buzzing) can disrupt your slumber. White noise raises the level of background noise so that you’re less likely to notice out-of-place sounds.

This is exactly what the White Noise app does. It plays looped ambient sounds (like the crackling of a campfire and falling rain) to keep you asleep. Like multiple tracks? The app allows you to cut and combine them for the ultimate sleep experience.

Free; Mac App Store, Google Play

8

Sleep Score

This hardworking app assesses how much quality sleep you’re getting à la its patented Sonar technology that utilizes your phone’s built-in microphone. It monitors your movements and breathing to grade you on how well you’re sleeping at every stage. It also gives you the tools to adjust your sleeping habits, providing you a library of soothing sounds and tips from sleep experts.

$7.99/month or $49.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

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Two New York Icons Join Forces: Barneys at Saks is Here

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Two New York Icons Join Forces: Barneys at Saks is Here


Another day, another fashion drop we can’t stop thinking about. From Louis Vuitton’s new collection in partnership with artist Urs Fischer to Burberry’s latest capsule that dips into the brand’s rich archives, we rounded up the hottest collaborations of the month. Click through to stay up-to-date with the newest fashion announcements and more.

Barneys at Saks

Who: Barneys at Saks

What: Barneys debuts at Saks’ Fifth Avenue flagship

Where: Saks NYC’s flagship store and saksfifthavenue.com

Why: In a wild, wholesome turn of events, New York Icon Saks Fifth Avenue is joining forces with another New York Icon, Barneys. The latter shuttered earlier this year, but Saks welcomed them with an installation on their fifth floor. The pop-up will feature a curated set of emerging and established brands alike (what Barney’s was known for), including sixteen labels new to Saks.

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Louis Vuitton Twist Bags Starring Laura Harrier

Who: Louis Vuitton

What: Laura Harrier and the Louis Vuitton Twist Bag

Where: In Louis Vuitton stores and on louisvuitton.com

Why: Louis Vuitton brings a fresh “twist” to their now-iconic Twist bag for spring 2021. The easy-to-carry bag now comes with sporty straps and leather lace detailing, and in new colorways from deep fucshia to rich tan, giving it a fresh update for the upcoming season. Louis Vuitton has chosen actress, activist, and house ambassador Laura Harrier as the face of this newest drop.

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Gucci and Doraemon

Who: Gucci

What: Gucci celebrates Lunar New Year with Doraemon

Where: Gucci.com and stores nationwide

Why: If you are still vying for a piece from Gucci’s sold-out collaboration with The North Face, the brand’s newest collection might tide you over until you own a hyped-up puffer. Launching today is the Italian fashion house’s partnership with manga sensation Doraemon, in observance of Lunar New Year. The animated pop icon is splashed over bags, sneakers, and notably, the GG motif.

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MATCHESFASHION Wardrobe Foundations

Who: MATCHESFASHION

What: MATCHESFASHION “Wardrobe Foundations”

Where: Exclusively on MATCHESFASHION.com

Why: MATCHESFASHION is starting 2021 with the launch of their new category “Wardrobe Foundations.” The online retailer is focusing on the 12 core pieces that make up the modern wardrobe for both men and women, launching with 250 items across 60 of their core brands. The category will be updated continually to reflect new deliveries with a wide range of price points to appeal to any of Matches’ shoppers.

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Dior Caro Bag

Who: Dior

What: The Dior Caro Bag

Where: Available now on Dior.com

Why: Dior’s latest handbag offering is the Caro, inspired by the brand’s iconic Cannage pattern. The bag uses over 18,000 individual stitches to create the pattern and includes the signature CD gold clasp. It comes in a variety of colors and two sizes, and includes a handy shoulder strap for hand-free use.

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Burberry Future Archive Capsule

Who: Burberry

What: Burberry Future Archive Capsule Collection

Where: Available exclusively at Burberry’s Chicago store and on Burberry.com January 11th

Why: Burberry is launching an incredibly limited collection of outerwear with a contemporary take on their archives. Field jackets, bomber jackets, and diamond-quilted coats are reimagined and fused with iconic Burberry trench coat elements. Each piece is being produced selectively and is labeled out of 150, making every item truly special.

Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer

Who: Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer

What: Urs Fischer Capsule Collection

Where: Available at LV stores internationally and on louisvuitton.com

Why: Louis Vuitton continues their streak of artist collaborations with Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer. Fischer is known for his playful and irreverent artwork, and in this capsule he reimagines the LV Monogram in his own quirky handwriting. The velvet pattern jumps off the ready-to-wear, bags, and accessories, mixing heritage with the whimsy Fischer brings to all his endeavors.

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Guess Originals x NIKI ‘Moonchild’ Capsule

Who: Guess Originals x NIKI

What: ‘Moonchild’ Limited Edition Capsule

Where: Available on Guess.com

Why: Guess Originals has teamed up with Indonesian breakout artist NIKI for this nine-piece capsule, which complements her debut album ‘Moonchild.’ Pieces include sweatshirts, joggers, and biker shorts with lunar-themed decals. Pieces range from $29-89.

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Canada Goose Standard Expedition Parka

Who: Canada Goose

What: Standard Expedition Parka

Where: Available at Canada Goose stores internationally and on canadagoose.com

Why: Canada Goose is continuing their sustainability efforts with the Standard Expedition parka, made from entirely recycled materials without comprising the performance that they are known for. The “greige” color comes from limited dye use during production, and the creation of the jacket uses 35% less carbon and 60% less water than the brand’s classic parkas. A chic way to stay warm and keep the planet cold!

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Emma Corrin of ‘The Crown’ Stars in Miu Miu’s Spring Campaign

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Emma Corrin of 'The Crown' Stars in Miu Miu's Spring Campaign


With a new year comes fresh opportunities for innovative fashion, stunning visuals, and new levels of star power. The spring-summer 2021 campaigns have arrived, placing Kate Moss near a glowing Eiffel Tower for Messika Paris, and the likes of Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner in an underwater escape for Versace. Plus, Prada is exploring technology’s impact on fashion with its latest visionary output from Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons. In 2021, the sky is the limit.

Click through to see all the best campaigns, here.

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