William’s confidante described him as a “sitting duck” amid the heaping revelations made by the Duke of Sussex in his new book Spare – a memoir dominated by his rivalry with his brother and the death of their mother, Princess Diana in 1997.
The explosive autobiography reveals many strained facets of the princes’ relationship, from bereaved boys and troubled teens, to warring senior royals and eventual “arch-nemeses”.
Among the most dramatic of Prince Harry’s accusations was the claim he was physically attacked by William and knocked to the floor during a furious confrontation over the Duchess of Sussex.
Buckingham Palace has so far refused to comment on the raft of claims made by Harry.
Hinting at the royal mood behind closed doors, however, one friend told The Sunday Times that the Prince of Wales had kept quiet “for the good of his family and the country.” William will not retaliate because he is “dignified and incredibly loyal”, they said.
“William is a sitting duck because Harry knows he isn’t going to retaliate. How many shots can you take at a sitting duck?” the source told the paper.
“It’s cruel, cowardly and so sad for William to keep taking the punches. He’s keeping quiet for the good of his family and the country.”
The same friend adds that William is “burning” on the inside.
A second friend told the newspaper that William was thinking strategically, as he follows the example of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
“We know how closely he followed his grandmother’s example, and the institutional response may win the day over the personal,” he told the paper.
“But he is staunchly protective of his own family, and he’s not just going to roll over.”
Earlier today, broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, who interviewed Charles in 1994 when the then-Prince of Wales admitted having an affair, said he was “perplexed” by Harry‘s decision to publish a book.
He said that the disclosures in the book are the sort that usually “come from B-list celebrities”.
“I genuinely can’t believe it is merely to make a great deal of money because of the perfectly natural urge to want to protect his family, his wife and his children in a very uncertain future,” he said.
“I think there is much more to that, but if he wants reconciliation, I don’t understand how you do it by, as it were, metaphorically, sitting in your Apache and firing pot shots at people who are not going to fire back, as he must very well know.”
Among the disclosures are reportedly claims that Harry was not the real best man at William’s wedding and that the King was jealous of both the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales.
The duke describes his apparent role as best man as a “bare-faced lie”, and says James Meade and Thomas Van Straubenzee gave the traditional speech at the reception, the Daily Mirror reported.
The duke also claims his brother was “wasted” on rum hours before his wedding to Kate, and was drunk when he went out to greet people on The Mall before tying the knot.
With additional reporting from PA