The Duke of Sussex harboured a long-held fear his time was running out and once Prince George turned 18 he would become irrelevant, a source has claimed. They said: “He had this thing that he had a shelf life. He was fixated [on] this. He would compare himself with his uncle [Prince Andrew]. He would say, ‘I have this time to make this impact. Because I can’.”
The source told The Times after Prince George turned 18 Harry believed: “‘Then I will be the also-ran’. He was genuinely thinking of it as, ‘I have this platform now, for a limited amount of time. I want to move forward, move forward’.”
According to the same source, Harry’s staff assured him he was a very different person to his uncle Prince Andrew. The Times reports them telling him: “You can still have an impact in your forties, fifties, even longer. So long as you set the right foundations now.”
However, the source claimed Harry never saw it in this way. The Duke of Sussex has been approached for comment. The claims appear in Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown by Valentine Low which is due to be published by Headline Books on October 6.
The claims come amid speculation over whether Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, might be brought back into the fold of the Royal Family.
Harry said in an announcement about the book: “I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
He said he planned to write the book not as the Prince he was born, but as the man he has become.
Last week, Harry sat behind his father King Charles III at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The seating arrangement was noted as a snub by some, but royal commentators have claimed it was a move to signal King Charles III’s bond with his youngest son.
Christina Garibaldi and Christine Ross, hosts of the Royally Us podcast, argued the new monarch wanted his son “close”.
Ms Garibaldi said: “A lot of people were saying it was a snub to have him [Harry] behind King Charles at Westminster Abbey. A lot of people were also saying he wasn’t singing ‘God Save The King’. There’s always this sort of speculation.”
Ms Ross added: “I actually think Prince Harry being right behind his father kept them quite close. That front row was the Queen’s children who were bearing tremendous grief — this was their mother.
“And I actually think Harry being behind his father was actually a comfort for King Charles.”
The hosts also spoke to royal historian and commentator Gareth Russell who argued Harry and Meghan were given a “place of honour” at the state funeral. He said: “That’s the etiquette. If you know what the etiquette is, it actually is a place of honour. To be the one behind the King is actually a sign of favour.”
In 2020, Harry spoken of his sadness at being forced to give up his royal duties in a deal with Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, saying there was no other option if he and Meghan were to seek an independent future.
It followed an announcement the Sussexes would no longer be working members of the monarchy, no longer use their Royal Highness titles and would pay their own way in life.
The arrangement ended a crisis the couple sparked when they announced they wanted to cut down on official engagements and spend more time in North America while remaining active royals.
Harry said at the time: “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations without public funding. Sadly, that wasn’t possible.”
He added: “I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am, or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
Since stepping back from royal duties, Harry has delivered a speech to mark International Nelson Mandela Day at the United Nation’s New York headquarters as well as making public appearances for the Invictus Games.
Meghan and Harry have also struck a documentary deal with streaming giant Netflix.