While the feud between royal princely siblings William and Harry was indubitably fueled by the arrival of Meghan Markle in the latter’s life, it has now been revealed that the pair’s dispute pre-dates Harry’s relationship with the Suits actress.
The Times of London quotes palace insiders who claim that the brothers’ first big falling-out occurred over their differing approaches to conservation of wildlife in Africa.
The newspaper quotes one insider explaining: “They are both very passionate about saving protected species but didn’t always share the same view about how to run projects in Africa,”
“William believes you should focus on community-led schemes where local people over time feel empowered to protect the land. Harry, on the other hand, was more interventionist. He felt that you need a more hands-on approach to ensure wildlife habitats were securely protected to enact change quickly.”
In his autobiography Spare, published last year, Harry explained of their differences: “One day, we almost came to blows in front of our childhood mates.” He wrote that when friends asked why the princes both work on Africa, William replied: “Because rhinos, elephants, that’s mine!”
Harry’s love for Africa is well-known, and he became the president of African Parks in 2017, a huge conservation organisation working across the continent. Harry joined its board of directors last year.
His role came under the spotlight this week, following reports in the UK press that rangers paid for by the organisation have been accused of raping and beating indigenous people living in the rainforests of the Republic of Congo.
His representatives told The Mail on Sunday: “When the duke became aware of these serious allegations, he immediately escalated them to the CEO and chairman of the board of African Parks, the appropriate people to handle next steps.”
One critic told The Times: “Harry has neither the tools nor experience to navigate his way through such crises,” and they backed demands for him to step down.
African Parks also responded to the allegations, saying it has “a zero-tolerance policy for any form of abuse,” and that it has launched an investigation into the claims.