When we think of the current British Royal Family, we tend to think of the Queen, Princess Diana and the two royal princes William and Harry. William always comes first in our minds and this is due to multiple reasons, but Harry is quickly overtaking his big brother in the popularity contest. His recent engagement to Megan Markle and their upcoming wedding in May has driven Harry to the top of the charts and headlines, giving him a whole different look across the tabloids than he'd previously achieved. The happy couple is the talk of the town all over the civilized world.
People are naturally fascinated by royalty, especially those of us in America where we just have a president and Congress without any glamour or fairy-tale romance. The British Royal Family has a long and interesting history and the simple fact that they're still here in modern times is amazing. They haven't died out, only adapted and moved with the times while blending tradition and old-school values beautifully.
While we can't say for sure what'll happen when the crown gets passed down, we do know that the grandsons and new great-grandbabies will be around for quite some time and will be a treat to watch grow up and someday rule themselves. So, here are ten reasons that William overshadows his brother and five that show Harry is overtaking him in giant strides.
15 William Overshadows: Firstborn Privilege
One of the primary reasons why William overshadows Harry is the very simple yet important fact that he was born first. Throughout all of history, the firstborn children have always received higher privileges, responsibilities and attention than any subsequent children.
This is still true today though younger siblings are starting to shine a bit more when the older ones break from the strain of being the firstborn.
In the princes' case, they were born into the Royal Family following a spectacular wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The media was all over their birth, especially William's as he was the first new baby in the line for the throne. That has been his eventual job since day one and the pressures of that future plus simply being the firstborn in a powerful family are intense.
14 William Overshadows: The Heir To The Throne
The second obvious reason that William gets more attention and overshadows Harry is that after his dad Charles passes on, the throne will be William's and he'll be King William—unless he changes his name of course. This translates to a more focused education on how to someday rule effectively and well, along with plenty of media and public attention.
As his time on the throne creeps closer, people will wonder what kind of king William will make and how he'll shape and change his country in these ever-evolving modern times. Things will inevitably change when he ascends the throne; some of it will be simple staff rearranging while some of it could be protocol changes and more wide-scale updates. It'll certainly be an interesting time to live in and document live.
13 Harry Coming Up: Bad Boy Redeemed
After their mother tragically died, William and Harry had to grow up fast. William turned into a reclusive introvert-type with a seething hostility toward the press as a whole. But he also accepted his responsibilities and shone brightly in his education and military service. Harry seemed to deflate and become stuck in an out of control spiral which landed him more than once across the tabloid headlines.
He bounced between parties, ill-advised pranks, and sweethearts, poking at his duties and responsibilities. In recent years, he has grown up considerably and now that he is engaged, the change that has occurred in the anchorless young man has been astonishing.
He now knows where he's supposed to be in life and with whom. The media bad boy was caught and redeemed by love.
12 William Overshadows: Happily Ever After
After Prince Charles got married to Princess Diana, there was a lull in royal weddings as the focus moved to babies and then Diana's tragic death. So, when Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton, the world went wild.
Not only did this mean that there would be a televised wedding but it also meant that the 28-year-old Prince had finally found his one and only. And she wasn't technically from his same social class which made her accessible and relatable in the public eye.
Their wedding was a huge affair and called the wedding of the century. Dreams of a happily ever after fairy-tale wedding met the modern day and blended so seamlessly that now future little girls can dream of such a thing and point to an actual historical event.
11 William Overshadows: Babies Galore
After getting married, everyone's thoughts (except for maybe the bride and groom's) turn immediately to babies.
In a Royal Family, everyone naturally loves babies but there is also a certain amount of pressure to produce an heir within a reasonable amount of time.
Luckily for the Royals, William and Kate got busy and news soon leaked that Kate was in the hospital with severe morning sickness. Soon, little baby George was born and delighted the world over with his arrival. A couple years later, she had the even more adorable princess Charlotte, who is the first girl to be born in the royal line since the Queen herself. And this year, come late April, we will all be eagerly anticipating the newest arrival for William and Kate. Three babies are a good number for the royal family.
10 Harry Coming Up: Wedding Bells
Prince William got married at the age of 28 after a long relationship with Kate. But Prince Harry seemed content to bounce around as a free bachelor till recently when he met and fell head over heels for Megan Markle. Megan is an American divorcee with an established life of her own as an actress and humanitarian.
They met in 2016 on a blind date set up by a mutual friend and started going out after that. She must be something extra special in order for Harry to dive right in and pop the question after only 16 months together. They are all set to get married in May and there is a very strong chance that their wedding will overshadow William and Kate's, not in terms of grandeur but in media and world attention. If we thought Kate was accessible, Megan is even more so.
9 William Overshadows: Good Looks
Way back when, William was a skinny teenager and attending various prestigious schools (such as Eton college) for his expensive kingly education.
He was considered insanely cute and a teenage heartthrob. Girls had posters of him in their room alongside whichever musical or movie star was considered the hottest.
This fact was alluded to in their engagement interview with William and Kate when rumors spread that Kate had been crushing on William and even had his picture in her locker. She denied this but given the times and the sheer romance of the idea, there's still a possibility that it's true. At any rate, before his good looks faded into middle age and parenthood, William was very popular and no one really heard much about his awkward little brother Harry.
8 William Overshadows: Royal Navy Service
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and uncle, young Prince William joined the Royal Navy after he graduated college and began to shine there. He learned the same basic navigation and military training as did all the other officers and was treated as one of them, rather than given special privileges as the second heir to the throne. This alone probably helped keep him grounded.
He eventually achieved the rank of sub-lieutenant before bouncing over to train in the Royal Air Force for a few years and the Royal Army where Harry primarily served. Due to being an heir to the throne, William's wish of seeing active military duty was never fulfilled. He did enjoy his service time, however, and he shone brightly, suggesting that it could've been his calling in another life.
7 Harry Coming Up: Relaxed And Comfortable
Where William is silent and stern, Harry is open and free. His education was just as expensive and extensive as William's but there was a decided lack of focus on the formalities and the pressures of being king someday have not graced Harry's shoulders.
As the younger brother, he is free from those burdens and can express himself more openly and freely than William, partly because he has a considerably different view on things than his older brother does.
This is common with siblings regardless of social class. They may have the same DNA and were raised in the same settings by the same people, yet their lives are completely different with different memories shaping different world views and opinions over the years. This will help propel Harry to the top of the popularity charts for years.
6 William Overshadows: Privacy Matters
In an ironic twist, another reason that William overshadows Harry is that William is extremely close and private about his personal affairs, especially now that he has a growing family to take care of. This creates an interesting loop of frustration and fascination for the press and the world at large.
We all want to know more about William and his daily duties as future king and new dad with cute tiny babies bouncing around, but he keeps these things close and doesn't share. This just makes him seem more mysterious and makes us want to know all the more. Part of this is due to how he was raised and part of it is due to early negative child exposure to the press surrounding Diana's marriage to Charles and then her tragic death, which was largely blamed on the paparazzi at the time.
5 William Overshadows: Formal Training
If we take some time to scroll through the pictures online of Prince William (particularly the more current ones), we will notice that in the majority of them he looks very serious and focused. Whether the event is a public or private one, he is always at attention and captured with an unsmiling expression.
This isn't because he's not happy or enjoying himself (though he could be for all we really know), but more due to the fact that he was trained to be very strict and formal at major events and in public.
As the future king, he has a certain public persona to uphold and a long line of historic protocols to follow which require concentration, formality and seriousness. This training tends to set him apart from Harry who had a less stern education and can be freer with his emotions and opinions.
4 Harry Coming Up: Popularity Polls
In England, they annually poll the locals to see which royal is the current favorite (this is more of a hobby than an actual government-sanctioned tradition) and for the last couple years, Harry has come in first, beating out all his relatives. There are plenty of reasons for this. He is younger, bolder with a freer ability to give his opinions and he has an instantly recognizable crop of curly red hair.
While he'll probably never become king, he will still be a permanent fixture in the ruling class of England and among his royal peers which will keep him in the press' eye and leave him somewhat accessible to the general public. He's more relaxed in his outings and makes people feel comfortable around him while William shines better in formal settings.
3 William Overshadows: The Royal Duties
It is arguable that Prince William is busier than Prince Harry with a more jam-packed schedule. He has his royal duties of jetting around the world to meet dignitaries and discuss politics while representing the Queen in a favorable light.
He has charitable appearances, local duties, military appearances and, on top of all that, he is also a husband and father with certain duties required there.
Finally, add in that he's human and understandably needs some personal time to recharge and recover from his intense social life and we're left with a dauntingly full schedule. All these appearances keep William busy and his name in the press for various reasons and notable appearances he makes. While Harry does have his own royal and military duties and is currently busy planning a wedding, William is still considerably busier and has more responsibilities to manage.
2 William Overshadows: Politics, People
Finally, William stands out for political reasons. He is very close to his grandmother–the Queen–who has been his greatest mentor in his training for the throne someday. He is the face of the modern royalty and will ultimately change the way things are done when he ascends the throne simply because he is younger, more modern and born in a different time than his grandmother and his father.
He already has different political views than other members of state and undoubtedly has different plans and ideas for shaping the future when his time comes. Till then, he fulfills his duties, escorts his aging grandmother to social functions and strives to find a balancing act in his parenting style between modern and traditional. He's a politician without meaning to be one. But Harry is coming around and threatening to steal the spotlight from William.
1 Harry Coming Up: Modern-Day Prince
If we were to observe a family all trying to learn a foreign language together, we would find that the younger family members picked it up faster than the older members. This goes for more things than just language.
Younger siblings often observe and pick up on things that their older siblings took forever to figure out, including technology and how to eat with a fork. Prince Harry, as the younger sibling, picked up a lot as he grew up and can therefore be considered a more modern prince than his older brother.
He'll never be a modern king but sometimes a prince is much better. They have more fun and can connect with people on a different level. Harry does exactly that with style and ease. He'll be popular for a while with his social skills.