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The rumour they won't accept: Prince William and Prince Harry publicly deny claims of 'bullying'.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big announcement last week to step back as senior royals is playing out in the media just as you might expect – with leaks, pile-ons and “sources” dishing gossip from the inside.

The British tabloids are known for their relentlessness (in fact, removing their influence is one of the big changes Meghan and Harry plan to make with this move), but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from splashing damaging headlines across the front page.

But the royal brothers, William and Harry, are shutting down one storyline in particular.

The Princes are passionate about mental health, and have worked closely over the years with Heads Together. Post continues after video.

Video by Heads Together

On Monday, in the Times of London, it was reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex felt “pushed away” by William’s ‘bullying’ attitude.

The article suggested the brothers fell out because William wasn’t friendly towards Meghan and that the Sussexes were “constantly being bullied”.

In a joint statement to CNN, the brothers wrote, “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.

“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful,” the statement read.

Since Wednesday’s shock announcement on Instagram, in which Harry and Meghan detailed their plans to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and America, there have been all sorts of reports from “inside” the Royal Family.

 

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While the brothers shut down the angle of them “bullying” one another other, there’s another storyline doing the rounds about the brothers that they’re perhaps just not as close as they used to be.

According to The Sun, William told a mate after the shock stepping down, “I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that anymore; we’re separate entities. I’m sad about that.

“All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page.”

William’s apparent disappointment with his little brother’s decision to pull away from the family is reportedly shared by many in the Royal Family, with widespread reports in the UK press suggesting Harry’s relatives were “hurt” by the announcement.

But as reports of the family’s crisis talks in Sandringham dominate the headlines, it’s interesting to examine why the Princes pinpointed the Times story in particular to destroy.

In September 2018, Prince William opened up about his struggles with mental health.

He was launching a new website at the time called Mental Health At Work, via UK organisation Heads Together alongside his wife Kate, and his brother Harry.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry Spearhead A New Campaign Called Heads Together To End Stigma Around Mental Health.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry pictured while working with Heads Together. Image: Nicky J Sims/Getty Images for Royal Foundation.
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The then 36-year-old spoke about his time working as a pilot with the East Anglia Air Ambulance (EAAA), a role he held from 2015 to July of 2017, and how his everyday exposure to trauma took a personal toll.

“I took a lot home without realising it,” he said. “You see many sad things every day that you think life is like that. You’re always dealing with despair and sadness and injury. The attrition builds up and you never really have the opportunity to offload anything if you’re not careful.”

The previous April, William also touched on mental health talking about how fatherhood had shaped his understanding of his own.

“When you have children, it really does put your own emotions and your own life into perspective,” he said, “It’s been very, very interesting understanding why I get so upset about some things and why some things really affect me. I feel quite a lot more than I used to.”

Prince William and George
For Prince William the importance of mental health was put into perspective when he had children. Image: by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images.

In May, the royal brothers and their wives again teamed up to raise awareness for mental health, launching a text messaging service "Shout" for those experiencing a mental health crisis. The initiative aims to help people experiencing problems - from suicidal thoughts to bullying and relationship issues.

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The couples later announced that their joint charitable foundation would split, but vowed to keep working together on issues like mental health.

In an hour-long ITV documentary late last year from Africa, Prince Harry described his mental health and the way he deals with the pressures of life as a matter of "constant management".

During that chat he addressed rumours of a rift between himself and his brother, stating that the "majority" were created "out of nothing".

"We’re certainly on different paths at the moment […] I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy but I love him dearly,” he told the broadcaster.

Prince Harry
In an ITV documentary last year Harry spoke about bullying claims and his mental health. Image: ITV.

William and Harry have just met with their father and the Queen in Sandringham to discuss plans moving forward given Harry's desire to pull away, with the Queen announcing via a statement that "my family and I are entirely supportive," before making it clear that while they would prefer them to remain full-time working members, they understand the young couple's wish to live a more independent life.

“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done. But I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days,” the statement concludes.

Feature Image: Getty.

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