Ever since Prince Harry decided to step back as a senior member of the royal family, he has been seen as a "troubled prince." But he may have reason to feel so.
Being treated differently from your own sibling can leave a bitter aftertaste towards their family for anybody. Children are sensitive and understand when they are being discriminated against even if they don't know how to articulate it properly. For Prince Harry, who grew up in a palace, it might seem like a life of privilege but inside closed doors, he was treated differently than his brother, who is the future king of his country.
Prince Harry's father Prince Charles reportedly called his second son the "spare" propagating the tradition of the "heir and the spare." In recent history, King George VI was a spare who had to step into the heir's role. While the spare is not loved any less, they do receive different treatment as the future heir gets more attention from the royal family. Prince Harry would have faced the brunt of this as had Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister, as per BBC.
"Senior members of the Royal Family in private were saying, 'This is nonsense. William is the future. All our efforts must go into educating William,'" as per journalist Richard Kay, who was part of the documentary Prince Harry: The Troubled Prince, as per Express UK. "It was William the Queen would invite for lessons in kingship when he was at Eton and she was at Windsor Castle," he added.
Prince William received more attention from his grandmother and from the Queen Mother than Harry did. Royal biographer Angela Lewin adds, "He was always less than his brother. The late Queen Mother would always invite Prince William over for tea and talk to him about his future and not invite Prince Harry."
However, this is not what their parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, wanted for their children. They insisted that their children receive the same amount of attention and opportunities, but the senior members of the royal family didn't always agree.
As per Richard Kay, "The Queen Mother always made sure Prince William was seated in a prominent seat next to her and Harry never was." This might be surprising since the Queen Mother reportedly left Harry a larger share from her assets than Prince William, but that's only because the older brother would benefit financially from becoming King.
Broadcaster Daisy McAndrew says that while Harry's life was "incredibly privileged and lucky" from the outside, being the "younger brother of the future king of England is a very difficult position to be born into. They are known rather unkindly as the spare."
This difference in the treatment meted out to Prince Harry may have led him to be disillusioned with his role in the royal family. He had no clear path set out for him, unlike his brother.
"I think being the spare to the heir is a role that inherently has problems attached with it. Harry, like spares historically in the Royal Family, has had to find a role for himself," as per Katie Nicholl, royal correspondent.
Harry was aware of this at the young age of four. Ken Wharfe, who had been Princess Diana's protection officer, had shared an incident that had taken place almost 30 years ago, which showed this. "I had the privilege of working with his mother, William and Harry and many other members of the Royal family. I remember a moment of Harry as a four-year-old, traveling down to Gloucester one weekend. He and his brother had an argument in the back seat of the car being refereed by the nanny. And in the end, Harry said: 'You'll be king one day, I won't. Therefore I can do what I want!' Diana said 'Where the hell did he get that from?,'" said Wharfe, according to LBC.
These problems may have prompted him and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to step away from the royal life and find a new life. The treatment he received by his family would have extended to his wife as well.
A new court filing by Meghan Markle's legal representative says she felt "unprotected" by the royal family, as per Forbes. She had been at the receiving end of incessant character assassination from tabloids in the UK. The legal documents also implied that her friends were more worried about her than the family she married into.
"As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself," her legal team added.