Gayle King leak makes Harry and William's relationship harder to repair, says royal expert

Duke and Duchess of Sussex might have blown reconciliation hopes after US TV host leaked private conversation

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend an Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey on April 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The relationship between Britain’s royal brothers will be difficult to repair if their private conversations continue to be leaked to US media, a royal expert said.

On Tuesday, breakfast TV host Gayle King revealed that princes Harry and William had been in contact for the first time in months and said their conversation was not productive.

The high-profile disclosure reportedly alarmed senior members of the royal family, with some British tabloids likening it to a betrayal.

The media revelations will make it more difficult for the siblings to renew their relationship, a royal expert told The National.

"The royal family do not like providing a running commentary on their personal lives and personal relationships," said Robert Jobson, author of Prince Philip's Century.

"I really cannot see how there will be progress in building bridges and rebuilding broken relationships ... if their conversations are then broadcast to the world. That's not how the royal family works. There has to be trust and discretion."

King divulged details on American prime time TV of her conversation with Harry and his wife Meghan Markle after their interview with Oprah Winfrey.

She said on CBS This Morning: "I'm not trying to break news but I did actually call them to see how they were feeling, and it's true Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 02:  Gayle King speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100)

“The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive but they are glad that they have at least started a conversation."

King said the couple were frustrated that alleged racism in the royal family had dominated the news agenda since the interview was broadcast on March 7.

"All they wanted all along was for the royals to intervene and tell the press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant," King said.

She said that Harry and Meghan wanted peace in the family, but that Meghan had "documents to back up everything", she told Winfrey.

Omid Scobie, a journalist with close links to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said the leak was no different to briefings given by royals to members of the media.

He said on Twitter: "Bit confused here, so just want to get this new royal protocol correct. It's OKwhen info is leaked to the papers via a palace source but not when Gayle King shares it on TV?"

The racism allegations, which the royal family said would be investigated, plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the death un 1997 of William and Harry's mother, Princess Diana.

On Tuesday, Prince Charles, 72, visited a mosque in London but made no comment about the furore.

He said he was thrilled that his father, Prince Philip, was back at his Windsor Castle home after a month-long stay in hospital.

"Very good news, I'm thrilled about it. I've spoken to him – several times," he said.

Philip, 99, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, left a London hospital on Tuesday after being treated for an infection and undergoing heart surgery.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement in which the duke thanked the medical staff and all those who had sent their good wishes. A royal source said he was in good spirits.