- Prince Harry fears that one of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children will end up like him.
- Harry told the Telegraph he was worried his nephews or niece would feel like a “spare room”, as he did.
- He also said that William had already told him that the children were not his responsibility.
Prince Harry fears history will repeat itself when it comes to sibling rivalries within the royal family.
In an interview with The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, the Duke of Sussex said he had concerns for the children of Prince William and Kate Middleton and what the heir and ‘reserve’ dynamic could mean for them. in the future.
The Prince and Princess of Wales have three children: Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.
“Although William and I have spoken about it once or twice, and he has made it very clear to me that his children are not my responsibility, I still feel a responsibility knowing that out of those three children, at least one will end up like me, the ‘reserve’,” said Harry. “And it hurts, it worries me.”
Harry detailed how the labels heir and reserve, which were used to refer to William and himself growing up, had a detrimental effect on their relationship in his memoir, published earlier in January.
In ‘Spare’, the Duke of Sussex wrote that the entire royal family would use the phrases as shorthand for William and himself. He adds that he felt, due to the alternate label, like he was “born in case something happened” to William.
“The Heir and the Reserve – there was no judgment about it, but also no ambiguity. I was the shadow, the support, Plan B,” Harry wrote. “I was ordered to provide reinforcement, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part. A kidney, perhaps. A blood transfusion. A grain of bone marrow. All of this was explicitly told to me. made clear from the beginning of life’s journey and steadily reinforced thereafter.”
Later in the memoir, Harry said he suspected the heir’s “tired childhood dynamic” and that reserve was rooted in the sibling rivalry between him and William even as they grew into adults. Harry gave examples when he claimed William ordered him to shave his beard “as a speaking heir to the Spare” before his 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle.
“He hated the idea of me taking advantage of a benefit he had been denied,” Harry wrote.
Ultimately, sibling rivalries between members of the royal family are nothing new, Leslie Carroll, a royal historian and author of nine novels about royal history, told Insider. She said the terms heir and reserve have been used for decades, citing Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret as examples.
She also said that much of the tension between the royal siblings stems from conflicting egos and the lack of freedom afforded modern royal spares, rather than the terms themselves.
Citing examples from the Wars of the Roses and feudal Britain, Caroll said royal spares were given tasks and responsibilities, such as leading armies. Meanwhile, in modern times, spares like Harry haven’t been encouraged by family to pursue their passions or take on serious responsibilities.
“Harry’s infantilization as a Spare, having to ask permission to do everything,” Carroll told Insider, contributed to his “trauma.”
Kensington Palace and representatives for the Duke of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.