Queen Elizabeth II has been sympathetic to her grandson Prince Harry’s desire to set out on his own after watching her younger sister Princess Margaret struggle with being in her shadow, according to a royal historian.
Harry, 35, was raised as a royal spare to the heir, just like his late great aunt, who was King George VI’s second-born child. Both Harry and Margaret had to play second fiddle to their older siblings, and the Queen, 93, understands the tensions that can arise because of that.
‘She has a particular sensitivity to what Harry has been going through because of her closeness to Margaret and seeing the same dramas and tensions played out two generations ago,’ royal historian Robert Lacey told People.
Sympathy: Queen Elizabeth II has a ‘sensitivity’ to what Prince Harry is going through because of her relationship with her sister, the late Princess Margaret, royal historian Robert Lacey said
Looking back: The Queen understands how frustrating royal life can be for the second-born heir because she watched her younger sister struggle in her shadow. They’re pictured in 1948
Harry and Prince William were incredibly close growing up, but they have reportedly grown apart since his marriage to Meghan Markle.
‘The younger-sibling syndrome is an enduring problem,’ Lacey said. ‘The system has not found a way of giving them the recognition that they need.’
Harry has been nothing but a doting uncle to William’s three children with Kate Middleton, but the historian noted issues between the Queen and her sister arose when she got married and had children — pushing Margaret farther and farther away from the throne.
‘Until Elizabeth produced heirs, Margaret was a possible future Queen,’ he said. ‘It is a family situation of conflict that goes back over generations.’
In addition to trying to carve out their own path in the royal family, Harry and Margaret both lost parents at young ages.
Family struggle: Lacey said the Queen saw the ‘same dramas and tensions played out two generations ago.’ She’s pictured with her sister in 1979
Strain: Harry and Prince William were close growing up, but they have reportedly grown apart since his marriage to Meghan Markle. They’re pictured in 2018 ahead of Harry’s wedding
Princess Diana died when he was just 12 years old, and he has been in therapy for the past three years to try and overcome the trauma of losing his mother.
Margaret, meanwhile, was 21 when her father passed away and her sister was crowned queen, forever changing their relationship.
With the focus on their older siblings, they were far more rebellious in their youth and favored media attention as fans followed their every move.
Long before Harry made headlines for wearing a Nazi costume and getting naked in Las Vegas, Margaret was known as a party princess.
She had an affair with her father’s equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend — who was 16 years her senior and a divorcee when he proposed to her.
Similar plight: Harry has many similarities to Margaret, who was treated differently growing up because she was the royal spare. She was 21 years old when she lost her father, King George VI
Heartbreak: Like Margaret, Harry was also born second and suffered a devastating loss when his mother, Princess Diana, died when he was just 12 years old