When did the cracks in Prince Harry and Prince William’s relationship start to show? Body language expert Judi James spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the 2009 interview between the royal duo that foretold some brotherly tension.
In Harry’s recent interview with Tom Bradby, the Prince spoke candidly about his relationship with his brother.
According to Judi James – Harry was “very keen to establish the fact that he and William grew apart after their mother’s death”.
“He even mimed the idea of two ‘individuals’ taking two different paths with his hands and used distance measuring gestures to illustrate the gap between them.”
“His comment ‘You’ve won William’ in response to the competitiveness between them, and how William seemed keen to continue it as heir to the throne while Harry was ‘eating take-away in my dad’s home’ was a poignant hint that any rift between the pair pre-dated Harry’s marriage by some decades.”
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But when did the cracks in Harry and William’s relationship start to become evident?
According to Judi, an interview with the brothers back in 2012 was rather telling about their difficult dynamic.
As part of the 2009 interview from PA, the brothers were quizzed about living together, and according to Judi, William’s on-air teasing may have had a bothered him more than he lets on.
The expert claimed: “The playful fun was clearly an aspect of their time spent together but this clip of them as grown men exchanging banter could also show signs of how the breakdown came as the result of years of sibling rivalry.
Judi suggested that William’s banter with his younger brother might have bothered him more than he let on at the time.
She stated: “Harry is now a young man and seemed keen to appear as a bit of a hero deserving respect and maybe talk about his experiences on the frontline field of battle.”
This is suggested by his folded arms and “adult mode” conversation about his army career, having already served a tour in Afghanistan in 2008.
However, according to the expert, William appeared to look “keen to use banter to relegate his brother to the schoolboy state” as a “parental/elder sibling”.
“He interrupts Harry and keeps up relentless banter about things like how messy he was when he lived with him and how he ‘snores a lot’.”
But banter is a “knife-edge skill that needs constant monitoring to ensure it’s not really hurting or going too far”.
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“It is a form of verbal ‘attack’ that can sound funny but when it goes out of kilter and when one person keeps it going during a time and place that could be embarrassing for the other, it can lead to arguments and resentment.”
Judi continued: “William sounded like the parent who uses jokes that sound playful but which can diminish their child in the eyes of their peers.
When William tells the press how he “fed him every day, I think he’s done rather well”, Harry’s “wince” suggests he’d “rather get back to the more serious, adult mode”.
As William continued his “tirade” about how Harry often leaves dirty dishes in the sink, Harry responded with “the lies” whilst shaking his head slowly.
But Judi noted that Harry’s responses did not match William’s “relentless banter” and that he avoided resorting to “lowering” him” in return.
She said: “The banter is clearly two-way and it’s often Harry starting the ‘insults’ but there are so many moments here where the competitiveness between them is visible.
“And with the existing royal status imbalance tilting in William’s favour, his more parental tone here, even praising his brother might inwardly rankle at a moment when Harry might be feeling he has achieved the role of equal.
“William’s need to compete with Harry even comes across when he is at pains to point out that being a search and rescue helicopter pilot is every bit as important as Harry’s front-line helicopter work.”
Judi noted that while this joking between the brothers is “of course part of many sibling’s normal way of having fun together”, it could have felt deeper due to the “existing status imbalance that Harry clearly felt very keenly”.
“Scuppering his moment to appear as the bigger hero and to speak as a man, not a child, might have caused him more annoyance than he’s showing.