Home » Are King Charles and Kate Middleton Really at War—Over a Flower Show?

Are King Charles and Kate Middleton Really at War—Over a Flower Show?

One of the most dangerous and destructive emotions that members of a royal clan can experience is jealousy.

Unfortunately, it seems to have been endemic within , Jobson said, “Speculation that Charles is concerned that his son and daughter-in-law are stealing his thunder is wide of the mark,” adding that the king was, by contrast, relying on the media-friendly Cambridges to help him sustain the actual, you know, monarchy.

Intriguingly, however, Jobson did appear to suggest, at the same time as smoothing ruffled feathers, that the Chelsea double-booking was a situation that would not ideally be repeated, writing: “The Palace is conscious that with less so-called ‘working royals’ the grid system of engagements must complement each other.”

This is the real point here, and it is an eloquent example of the lack of communication between the different individuals’ offices.

Harry has plenty to say about this sense of each office operating in its own silo, working against each other if that was what it takes to promote their “principal”, in his book. He memorably accused Camilla of “sacrificing” him on “her PR altar.” He also gave a strong sense of this competitive separation of courts in recent court papers filed as part of his legal action against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Sun, which he accused of publishing stories based on hacked voicemails.

In his witness statement, Harry said that “my brother appeared to know an awful lot more than I did on the subject of phone hacking although he did not tell me if that was the case.” In another section he said that because he was perceived as a “hothead” he “wasn’t consulted” and was “kept out of the loop.”

Britain’s Queen Camilla views floral displays at Chelsea Flower Show in London, Britain, May 22, 2023.

Toby Melville/Reuters

The lack of communication between Charles and Kate’s people, another friend of the king and queen told The Daily Beast, is probably the most irritating thing about the events of this week for Charles.

“It just looks ridiculous if they both turn up separately to the same event, and Charles understands that. It gives the media the chance to stir things up. But after everything he has been through with Harry over the past few years, Charles has an enormous appreciation for William and Catherine and the work they do. No-one thinks this is the beginning of a new war between their courts.”

Maybe not, but it would be unwise to allow the existential silliness of a story about rivalry at a flower show to occlude the simple truth that Charles would have rather Kate had not been at Chelsea on the same day as he was.

The fact she was there, even if not in defiance of any diktat, shows that there are, indubitably, two distinct power centers at the heart of the royal establishment.

Team Cambridge versus Team Sussex. Rivalry, jealousy, competing agendas—it all poisoned the atmosphere.

Prince Harry in ‘Spare’

Their courts are distinct; Charles’ operation is more wily, grand and formal, while William and Kate run a leaner, call-me-by-my-first-name operation, and one that is, as the recent post-coronation Instagram video showed, significantly more clued-up when it comes to online. Their staff are youthful, with a smattering of digital natives who would find using the very term “court” to describe themselves almost hilarious.

It would be odd if the fustier-looking Buckingham Palace court didn’t occasionally feel threatened (especially as no sooner was Charles crowned than speculation about when he might abdicate (and all those courtiers might face losing their jobs) started to circulate.)

The question the events of this week pose is, where will this road end? There is a cautionary tale here because, for a long time, the hope was that the rivalry between Harry and William would remain a civil and friendly one, spurring them both onto greater things.

That, of course, is not how it turned out; as Harry wrote in his book it became a case of, “Team Cambridge versus Team Sussex. Rivalry, jealousy, competing agendas—it all poisoned the atmosphere.”

The challenge for all sides over the next decade is to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Neither the offices of the king and queen or William and Kate responded to requests for comment.