Prince Harry turned 37 on September 15th and birthday wishes were pouring from all members of the Royal family. However, noticeably this year’s virtual birthday cards were not as warm and happy as they used to be.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge congratulated Prince Harry from their joint Instagram account saying simply: “Happy Birthday Prince Harry” finishing off the message with one red balloon. In previous years Kate and William put more effort into Harry’s birthday wishes posting photos of them together from various events and reminding him of how much they loved and appreciated him as brother and brother-in-law.
The Royal family account which is an official account of Queen Elizabeth II as well as all other royals posted a collage of three photos of Harry that read: “Wishing a Duke of Sussex a happy birthday today”. One photo was of Harry speaking on one of the events he attended while he was still a senior Royal member; the second one was of Meghan and Harry; the third one was of Prince with a child during one of his charity work. Photos were decorated with balloons and a birthday cake.
Prince’s father, Prince Charles, and stepmother Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also shared photos of Harry on their Instagram account wishing him a happy birthday. The personalized virtual card consisted of three photos – a throwback from the past with Prince Harry and Prince Charles, one was Harry’s portrait, and the third one was a more recent one of Harry with his father. The couple simply posted: “Happy birthday to the Duke of Sussex”.
Even though the Royal family politely congratulated their estranged member, the rift between the two can be felt in every sense. The Queen and Prince Charles referred to Harry by his title, not by his name which in itself feels very cold and distancing. It’s been a year and a half since Meghan and Harry announced their departure from Buckingham Palace and the UK. Just when the dust began settling, the Sussex’s decided to give a bombshell interview to Oprah where they accused the Royal family of being racist, among other things.
After the damaging interview, the book was published called “Finding Freedom” about Meghan and Harry’s experiences on the Royal court. The title itself suggests that the couple was feeling restrained, limited in their wishes for their growing family. Although the Duke and Duchess of Sussex disassociated themselves from the authors, the book still made relationships with their former family even worse.
Royal expert Natalie Oliveri analyzed and compared this year’s birthday messages with some previous ones: “Now, in the past, Kate and William have actually posted a photo of Prince Harry on his birthday to their Instagram, including one last year of the three of them looking very happy during a charity race, and then the year before it’s a photo from the royal wedding. Look, it’s just Happy Birthday Prince Harry, it is quite cold in comparison to what they have done in the past”.