Prince Harry has claimed King Charles wanted to avoid supporting Meghan financially for fear that the “resplendent” Duchess would steal the limelight from him. In one of many comparisons the Duke makes between Meghan and his late mother throughout his new memoir Spare, Harry claimed the King was worried she would be the next Diana, and expressed a hope that Meghan would continue working as an actress after marrying into the family.
According to the book, Harry told his father that Meghan would likely not continue to do so, to which he says the King responded: “Well, my dear son, you already know that we don’t have money to spare.”
The reality, Harry claims to have realised, was that Charles had previously experienced being cast into the shadows and could not face “a novel and resplendent” royal who would take the limelight from him and Queen Camilla and “dominate the monarchy”.
In an apparent reference to his mother Diana, the Prince added: “He had experienced that before and he had no interest in letting it happen to him again.”
The King did provide financial support to the Sussexes during their time as working royals – but this ended when they moved to the US and left their royal duties behind them.
Prince Harry remarked in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that the King had “literally cut me off financially” – with his primary focus being on the cost of private security, which comes at a price believed to be in the millions.
They key conversation between Harry and his father came as the two travelled to Sandringham, where the Prince would ask the Queen for permission to marry Meghan, due to her status as a divorcee.
According to his memoir, the pair were driving in a Land Rover when Charles asked if Meghan would continue to work as an actress.
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When the King then claimed he was already struggling to support the Cambridges – although Charles saw it as paying them for their royal duties, Harry wrote.
The agreement, he said, required them to live in a “gilded cage” and give up their autonomy in return for “food and clothing”.
The Duke questioned how his father could claim their “captivity was costing him too much money” when he was earning “millions from the tremendously lucrative” Duchy of Cornwall – leading him to the claim that Charles’ apparent unwillingness to support Meghan came from a fear that the Duchess might “dominate the monarchy”.
The King was also unhappy with the attention being given to the Cambridgges, Harry claimed.
The Duke wrote: “Willy did everything he [Charles] wanted, and sometimes he didn’t want him to do much, because my dad and Camilla didn’t like Willy and Kate getting too much publicity.”
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In one instance, he claimed that before a public engagement, Charles’ staff insisted Kate, the Princess of Wales, was not photographed holding a tennis racket.
He wrote of the event: “Undoubtedly that kind of photo would have pushed Dad and Camilla off every front page. And that couldn’t be tolerated under any circumstances.”
The Prince told the Telegraph he has plenty more material for the book remaining, saying: “The first draft was different. It was 800 pages, and now it’s down to 400 pages. It could have been two books, put it that way. And the hard bit was taking things out.”
He added: “This is not about trying to collapse the monarchy – this is about trying to save them from themselves.”