"William hated the press more than Harry did at one point," author Omid Scobie told E! News in an exclusive interview discussing his new book Endgame, which unpacks the brothers' ongoing estrangement and a variety of other issues threatening the future of the monarchy. "So for things to be at this point is not only sad, but it speaks to William as a leader, as an heir to the throne."
And not in a particularly good way.
Since the January release of Harry's memoir Spare, a continuation of the tea-spilling that began with his and Meghan Markle's explosive sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (that continues to haunt the royal family today), Scobie said, "there still hasn't been a conversation of any worth or substance with his own brother."
E! News reached out to Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Harry's reps for comment on Scobie's reporting in the book but did not hear back.
William and Kate Middleton ignored reporters' Endgame-related questions on the red carpet at the Royal Variety Performance on Nov. 30. And while in Dubai to attend COP28, when asked how he was doing, King Charles III reportedly answered, "I'm all right very much, just about," quipping that he was "recovering from the shock" of turning 75.
In Spare and multiple interviews, Harry maintained that he basically wrote the book not to expose the inner workings of the royal family, but to explain to his own father and brother—who consistently rebuffed his attempts to have those talks—what he'd been dealing with personally for years before he and Meghan moved away in 2020.
"He wanted accountability from his family," Scobie said. "The ball has been in William's court for 11 months now. And how ridiculous, because this isn't just the brother of a random man. This is the future king, the future head of the Church of England, who almost a year later is still unable to at least sit down and have a conversation with his own blood."
But taken in context, that response—or lack thereof—from William isn't so surprising. (There was no official comment from any member of the royal family in response to Harry's recollections in Spare, though plenty of reporting ensued that they weren't happy about it.)
There's a "duality" to William's character, Scobie said. "This is a man who, as I said, once hated the press more than his brother and was always—and still is—extremely professional on engagements, enjoyable to be around. He would be the one that would acknowledge you [as a member of the press] and make you feel like a person rather than just an irritant at these events."
William "also loved his normal life as an air ambulance pilot," the longtime royal correspondent added, "which he held onto for so long, much to the annoyance of the institution."
Then the Duke of Cambridge, William announced he was leaving the East Anglian Air Ambulance in 2017 after two years. Kensington Palace said at the time that the heir was making the move because he and Kate were "keen to increase their official work on behalf of the Queen and for the charities and causes they support."
The couple, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, have been full-time working royals ever since, though Kate has made it clear (through actions, if not in so many words) that she's mom to Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, first and future queen second.
Though there was grumbling behind the scenes that William wasn't doing enough for the crown, his time as a pilot "was the making of him," Scobie said. "It made him a man to be admired because he didn't have to do that. So to see him reach this point now where family isn't the priority for him—everything is about his image, his reputation, at any cost—shows me that perhaps he's either become a little lost in the role or allowed the role to engulf him in the way that these roles do."
Family in this case meaning Harry, not William's wife and children. But Scobie also writes in Endgame that, in recent years, William has been protective of the monarchy in a way that's been surprising even to seasoned royal-watchers.
"It's almost mirroring some of the decisions made by his own father," Scobie said, "the things that him and Harry said they'd never do are now happening."
For instance, when an internal investigation into the circumstances of Princess Diana's 1995 interview with the BBC's Panorama found that deceitful tactics were used to secure the sit-down, both William and Harry had blistering responses regarding the BBC's conduct.
In his statement, Harry called their mother "resilient, brave, and unquestionably honest." William, meanwhile, stated that "the BBC's failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation" during the final years of her life.
Scobie observed that William was veering close to the palace party line from the 1990s, when the word was that Diana was troubled and therefore her account of royal life was merely her version of events.
"It stood out to me because William was so protective of his mother and her legacy," Scobie explained. "And it was a statement that did not protect her legacy or her words, and in fact brushed them with very much the same opinion that we knew the institution had. It felt like he had become the spokesperson for the Firm, rather than writing that statement as the son of the mother."
In the 1995 interview in question, Diana told journalist Martin Bashir, "Maybe I was the first person ever to be in this family who ever had a depression or was ever openly tearful...It gave everybody a wonderful new label: 'Diana's unstable' and 'Diana's mentally unbalanced.' And unfortunately that seems to have stuck on and off over the years."
Yet even though William has seemed to prioritize the monarchy's interests above most everything, including his relationship with his brother, that doesn't mean he and his father are seeing eye to eye on everything, either.
Rather, Scobie details in Endgame a number of instances in which William and Charles have not been in "lockstep" when it comes to the monarchy's plans for the future or major decisions that have been made in recent years, even before Queen Elizabeth II's death in September 2022.
And since Charles became king, "there has been a real lack of engagements with William and Charles together," Scobie told E!. "It's all been very separate—and you start to see, when you look into the inner workings of the institution, everyone's operating in silos. With the queen, she had this very broad focus on the entire big picture. It was never about her, it was about what she stood for and represented."
With William and Charles, he added, "it's very much personal agendas."
The Prince of Wales' team has put out briefings "to say how he'll do things differently to his father," Scobie said. "It was only a week after the coronation that we had a palace briefing saying, 'When William has his coronation it won't be quite so grand and expensive.' Which is great, we want to see royals being leaner. But a week after the coronation?"
Last month, William said at a press briefing while in Singapore for the Earthshot Prize ceremony that, while there are causes that his family had been "very much spotlighting brilliantly," he wanted to go "a step further" to get results.
"This is everything but lockstep," Scobie said, his reasoning being that, as well-intentioned as William sounded, his job isn't to set himself apart from his father while Charles is on the throne.
"Not everybody is on the same page and working toward the same goal," Scobie said, which creates "a very messy situation. This is a company that's not working in unison. If the CFO and the VP and the CEO aren't all working towards the same thing, then it's going to fall apart."
Keep reading to see just where William has gone his own way and more bombshells from Omid Scobie's Endgame:
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