UNDER the watchful eye of the world, the intensely strong bond between the two young brothers was there for all to see.
Then, as their lives progressed and each of them married, that sibling closeness became badly fractured when one criticised the other’s wife.
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Their once seemingly unbreakable relationship never really recovered.
No, not Princes William and Harry. I’m talking about Jack and Bobby Charlton, the 1966 World Cup heroes photographed hugging each other on the Wembley turf.
Years later they stopped speaking when Jack described Bobby’s wife Norma as “hoity toity” and, although they reunited briefly at their mother Cissie’s funeral in 1996, they remained largely estranged.
When, in 2007, Bobby finally broke his silence over the feud, he said: “We stopped seeing each other. At the end of the day you have to have your priorities and mine was my wife.
“I made my mind up that I would protect my wife whatever happens and that’s the way I saw it.”
The parallels with William and Harry are obvious but one hopes the eventual outcome might prove different after they both attend their grandfather’s funeral this Saturday.
Their sibling bond was there for all to see when, as two young boys, they walked behind their mother Diana’s coffin.
Then, in adulthood, cracks started to form.
Some say it started with William advising his brother not to rush into marriage — a comment that Harry mistakenly interpreted as a suggestion that Meghan wasn’t suitable wife material.
Then there was that incident between Kate and Meghan at the bridesmaid’s fitting and, more recently, the TV interview during which Harry and his wife threw several verbal hand grenades at the Royal Family.
Oh to be a fly on the Palace wall now that Harry has landed back in the UK without Meghan by his side.
Will the brothers take the opportunity to thrash through their issues and get back on track?
Or will Harry’s quarantine at Frogmore Cottage — the UK home he and Meghan left behind — mean he’ll remain isolated until the day of the funeral, after which he’ll quickly fly back to his pregnant wife?
You get the sense that, put in a room with a crate of beer and some old family photos from their childhood, it wouldn’t take long for him and William to reconnect and clear up any misunderstandings or grievances.
But, whilst the upside of having a sibling is that the bond between you can be incredibly strong, the downside is that a fallout between two people who shared a childhood together can run far deeper than a spat with a friend.
Plus, when William called Harry recently, we learned via US TV presenter Gayle King that the talk was “not productive”.
So one imagines that William might be feeling a little worried that whatever he says to his brother this week might end up being regurgitated on American television.
Ok, so it’s not quite up there with other royal sibling rivalries like Henry I imprisoning his brother Robert, or the future Elizabeth I being locked in the Tower by her half-sister Mary, but it’s still sad that two brothers who lost their mother at such a young age are now losing sight of each other.
Let’s hope that the death of their beloved grandfather gives them cause for reflection and the fly on that wall witnesses a royal rapprochement.
Prince Philip’s little joke about men in uniform
WHATEVER it is that first attracts you to your partner, the recipe for longevity lies in common interests and the ability to make each other laugh amidst the inevitable irritations.
In their 73 years together, the Queen and Prince Philip had a shared understanding that the third person in their marriage was the monarchy and its unrelenting demands of duty.
But aside from that, Philip was his own person and, given that Her Majesty has endured a lifetime of sycophancy from everyone within a 20ft radius, his occasional belligerence, strength of character and dry sense of humour must have been a comforting and often exciting combo that kept her on her toes.
For me, the success of their marriage is summed up in this photo taken at a Buckingham Palace event in 2005, where the Duke of Edinburgh was dressed in full Guard’s uniform.
As she walks past him, the Queen’s usually unreadable expression is transformed as she has a fit of coquettish giggles.
As the Queen’s Guards are usually forbidden to move or speak, perhaps her husband was whispering something deliciously naughty under his breath.
I like to think so.
Really rough stuff
WHEN former Apprentice star Luisa Zissman lost her beloved horse Madrono, she decided to have him professionally stuffed for the entrance hall of her new house.
The result, by taxidermist Simon Wilson, is jaw-droppingly impressive.
It’s a little-known fact of yours truly’s school days that one of my primary teachers was a keen taxidermist and taught me how to do it.
The skinning and curing part is hard enough, but getting a likeness to the original animal requires a Leonardo Da Vinci-level of artistry I simply don’t possess.
Nor, it seems, does whoever stuffed this pet cat for its distraught owner.
It's EU chair wars
EUROPEAN Commission president Ursula von Der Leyen let out an exasperated “ermm” when two men nabbed the only single chairs at a meeting and left her and another man to sit on facing sofas.
TV footage showing Turkey’s President Erdogan and the European Council’s chief, Charles Michel, sitting down first prompted cries of sexism.
But if women want to be treated as equals in the workplace, then surely we can’t walk into a room of businessmen and expect them to treat us any differently than they would their male counterparts?
We can’t have it both ways.
Time to get real, Khloe
KHLOE Kardashian’s grandmother probably thought her photo of her beloved granddaughter was a wonderfully natural image of a young woman enjoying herself beside a pool.
Which, by the way, it is.
But when the, shock horror, unfiltered image was accidentally posted online by an assistant, Khloe’s “team” worked frantically to get it taken down.
My first thought (aside from “poor assistant”) was why this digital spill was considered so catastrophic?
“The pressure, constant ridicule and judgment my entire life to be perfect and to meet others’ standards of how I should look has been too much to bear,” explains Khloe, 36.
One assumes she’s referring to social media trolls who, typically, revel in trying to take down anyone whose life they envy. But therein lies the dilemma of putting your entire life online.
The upside is that the more followers you have, the greater your “influence” is deemed to be and, therefore, well-known brands either pay you to flog their wares or, holy grail, you get to sell your own product directly to your fans.
The downside is that everyone feels they have a God-given right to comment – sometimes hatefully – on what you do/say/look like.
Equally, those sacrosanct moments of privacy and reflection spent in the sanctuary of your own home (and so good for your mental health) vaporise because you’re constantly feeding the beast with every small titbit of your life.
For those who haven’t opened that door, the solution might seem simple – come off social media and only listen to the opinions of people you trust and love.
But when, like Khloe and her sisters, you’ve been trapped inside a Truman Show of your own making for the best part of a decade, stepping outside of it is presumably a terrifyingly alien concept.
RACHAEL Blackmore is the “first woman” jockey to win the Grand National. Good on her. Another victory for equality. But true equality will be when her gender isn’t mentioned at all – just the triumph of such a high level, professional achievement.
ROYAL Mail has issued six new stamps to commemorate classic sci-fi novels.
The Day Of The Triffids is one. The Time Machine is another. And here’s one depicting an image of Frankenstein’s monster. Or, as it’s otherwise known, any one of us decomposing in the queue to send a parcel from our local post office.
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