Prince William was “envious and jealous” of Prince Harry‘s popularity when they were children, with the younger prince being the “jester of the pair,” according to Princess Diana’s former bodyguard.
Ken Wharfe, who acted as Diana’s police protection officer from 1987 to 1993 and as William and Harry’s head of security for a year before that, gave his assessment of the brothers in a recent television interview ahead of Harry’s visit to Europe this week with Meghan Markle.
Wharfe first met the brothers while William was five and Harry was two at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Sandringham Estate where they were staying with their mother.
“I will never forget that day,” Wharfe told GB News anchor Mark Dolan of his first meeting with Diana, who died 25 years ago last week in a 1997 Paris car crash.
“It was really extraordinary. I was sent up to Sandringham in Norfolk, one of the queen’s palaces there, quite worried at meeting a member of the royal family like most people would have been at that time. I was shown into this white room by a very attentive butler and there was William aged 5 attempting to play the piano, very badly I might add.
“Harry was stood on a small coffee table,” he continued, “destabilizing a vase of royal lilies and Diana said to me without any introduction from anyone else: ‘I don’t know if you can look after my kids Ken because they can be a bloody nuisance.'”
After the princes ended up breaking the vase of lilies, Wharfe recounted that Diana said to him: “I don’t envy you looking after my two kids Ken.”
Despite their often rambunctious behavior, Wharfe recalls his years working with William and Harry with fondness, highlighting the marked differences between the brothers.
“They were great fun,” he told Dolan. “They were mischievous.”
“Harry was the jester of the pair…I know for a fact that William was rather envious and jealous of Harry because he was very popular as a kid.”
This is not the first time that the bodyguard has spoken about the differences between Harry and William.
In a recently published book, co-written with journalist Ros Coward, titled Diana: Remembering the Princess, Wharfe spoke of the brothers as they are today with a reported rift existing between the two since Harry moved with his family to California, and how Diana might have responded to this.
“William and Harry are very much their mother’s boys in so many ways, even though there are differences between them,” he wrote.
“Although William has perhaps reverted more to a world away from the limelight when it comes to putting his children in the public eye, he does try to engage, he does try to bring a more modernized approach.”
“But with Harry, we can see Diana more.”
“If Diana had lived,” he continued, “there is no doubt in my mind that she would completely understand the position Harry finds himself in and would probably have been jetting across the Atlantic on a regular basis to offer help.”
“I am also sure she would have supported all of the causes which Harry fights for,” he went on to add. “His mother would have been very much on his side.”
Wharfe has become a prominent royal commentator in the years since Diana’s death, having left her service amid her turbulent separation from Prince Charles in the early 1990s, a time where she began to reevaluate her personal protection requirements and the people around her.
“Leaving was the right thing to do, but I didn’t know at that point that she would completely pull out of all security cover weeks later,” he wrote. “That would ultimately lead to her death. No one could have predicted that.”
Though the day of the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death was not marked in any public way by William, Harry or the royal family, both princes have paid tributes to their mother throughout the year.
In the days before the anniversary, Harry said during a speech at a Sentebale charity polo event that: “In Sesotho, the language of the Basotho – the word Sentebale means ‘forget-me-not.'”
“Next week is the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, and she most certainly will never be forgotten,” he continued. “I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it. I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her.”
The prince and his wife are scheduled to attend charity events in Britain and Germany from September 5 to 8, marking their first joint “working” return to the U.K. since stepping down as working royals in 2020.
Newsweek approached Kensington Palace and representatives of Ken Wharfe for comment.