Queen Elizabeth II has been sympathetic to her grandson Prince Harry’s desire to set out on his own after watching her younger sister Princess Margaret struggle with being in her shadow, according to a royal historian.
Harry, 35, was raised as a royal spare to the heir, just like his late great aunt, who was King George VI’s second-born child. Both Harry and Margaret had to play second fiddle to their older siblings, and the Queen, 93, understands the tensions that can arise because of that.
‘She has a particular sensitivity to what Harry has been going through because of her closeness to Margaret and seeing the same dramas and tensions played out two generations ago,’ royal historian Robert Lacey told People.
Sympathy: Queen Elizabeth II has a ‘sensitivity’ to what Prince Harry is going through because of her relationship with her sister, the late Princess Margaret, royal historian Robert Lacey said
Looking back: The Queen understands how frustrating royal life can be for the second-born heir because she watched her younger sister struggle in her shadow. They’re pictured in 1948
Harry and Prince William were incredibly close growing up, but they have reportedly grown apart since his marriage to Meghan Markle.
‘The younger-sibling syndrome is an enduring problem,’ Lacey said. ‘The system has not found a way of giving them the recognition that they need.’
Harry has been nothing but a doting uncle to William’s three children with Kate Middleton, but the historian noted issues between the Queen and her sister arose when she got married and had children — pushing Margaret farther and farther away from the throne.
‘Until Elizabeth produced heirs, Margaret was a possible future Queen,’ he said. ‘It is a family situation of conflict that goes back over generations.’
In addition to trying to carve out their own path in the royal family, Harry and Margaret both lost parents at young ages.
Family struggle: Lacey said the Queen saw the ‘same dramas and tensions played out two generations ago.’ She’s pictured with her sister in 1979
Strain: Harry and Prince William were close growing up, but they have reportedly grown apart since his marriage to Meghan Markle. They’re pictured in 2018 ahead of Harry’s wedding
Princess Diana died when he was just 12 years old, and he has been in therapy for the past three years to try and overcome the trauma of losing his mother.
Margaret, meanwhile, was 21 when her father passed away and her sister was crowned queen, forever changing their relationship.
With the focus on their older siblings, they were far more rebellious in their youth and favored media attention as fans followed their every move.
Long before Harry made headlines for wearing a Nazi costume and getting naked in Las Vegas, Margaret was known as a party princess.
She had an affair with her father’s equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend — who was 16 years her senior and a divorcee when he proposed to her.
Similar plight: Harry has many similarities to Margaret, who was treated differently growing up because she was the royal spare. She was 21 years old when she lost her father, King George VI
Heartbreak: Like Margaret, Harry was also born second and suffered a devastating loss when his mother, Princess Diana, died when he was just 12 years old
Margaret later called off the proposal, citing her ‘duty to the Commonwealth. She married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, and they divorced 18 years later.
Harry also followed his heart when he married Meghan, a divorced actress. They have since made waves with their highly publicized Megxit.
Lacey said ‘the Queen will be very disappointed’ with his decision to leave royal life because ‘her job is to survive’ and protect the monarchy.
Harry and Meghan’s new arrangements will be reviewed in a year, and royal biographer Ingrid Seward told People that the Queen ‘won’t dwell on the exit.’
‘She is very pragmatic. She has left the door open for Harry especially — the year of review was with Harry in mind,’ she explained.
Love: Princess Margaret was engaged to her father’s equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend (L) before she married Antony Armstrong-Jones (R) in 1960. They divorced 18 years later
Going their own way: Harry also followed his heart when he married Meghan, a divorced actress. They have since made waves with their highly publicized Megxit
Following Harry and Meghan’s announcement that they will be spending more time in Canada and earn their own income, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple is banned from using the ‘Sussex Royal’ name for their projects.
When Prince Harry attended the Travalyst sustainable tourism summit in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Wednesday, the summit’s host, Ayesha Hazarika, told the crowd that he simply wanted to be referred to as ‘Harry.’
‘I got the impression he is very focused on what he wants to do. He was pretty defiant as well. I didn’t sense that he thinks ‘this has all been a nightmare, I’m going to hide away,’ Hazarika told Good Morning Britain the next day.
‘From the reaction he got and the way he conducted himself, he clearly doesn’t need a title to be a big deal.’
On Thursday, the Queen brightened up an otherwise dreary day in a pair of dark sunglasses while she was photographed arriving at Windsor Castle.
Hard to handle: The Queen has publicly supportive of her grandson’s decision to step away from royal life, but she’s reportedly ‘exhausted’ by the ‘never-ending’ drama
Big day: The couple is to reunite with the Queen and the rest of the royal family next month at the annual Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey
The monarch, who was seen sitting in the back of a chauffeur-driven black Range Rover, donned a black dress complete with colorful floral detail, and a green gilet for a layer of extra warmth.
The Queen has publicly supportive of her grandson’s decision to step away from royal life, but the stress is reportedly taking a toll on her.
‘She’s exhausted, both physically and emotionally,’ a source told Us Weekly. ‘She’s approaching her 94th birthday in April and should be at a stage in her life where she can ease up and be supported by her loved ones.’
Prince Harry and Meghan’s departure from their royal duties has become more than just a headache for the royal.
‘The drama’s never-ending,’ the source added. ‘She’s so frustrated.’
The couple is to reunite with the Queen and the rest of the royal family next month at the annual Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey, which takes place on March 9.