As an American in love with the British Royal Family, Christopher Andersen has dominated space on my bookshelf and coffee table for as long as I can remember. His resume boasts names like People Magazine and Vanity Fair but it’s books like The Day John Died or The Day Diana Died that haunt me when I close my eyes at night.
That being said, obviously, I was excited to discover Brothers and Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan – and boy, it did not disappoint! What a rollercoaster! Mr. Andersen reexamines Prince Harry and Prince William‘s upbringing. Their life with and without Princess Diana and how bits and pieces of their past helped establish the men they are today… and some of the recent decisions that they’ve made. In fact, he ends the book with a quote from Diana about how William and Harry will be properly prepared for their responsibilities because she didn’t want them to suffer in the same way that she did… which just leaves you reeling.
Mr. Andersen makes a couple of really great points throughout the book (more than I can count) but one that I especially appreciated was how he establishes the absolute turmoil happening within the palaces at the beginning of 2020.
I know what you’re thinking… Megxit.
But that wasn’t what was keeping courtiers up at night. It was the imminent humiliation and doom approaching as more and more information was being uncovered about Prince Andrew‘s relationship with a predator named Jeffrey Epstein. Can you imagine the PR offices of the palaces? “You guys… Meghan’s e-mailing about the avocado story again. I’m still trying to kill the article about Andrew and the 17-year-old. Can someone else deal with this?!”
I don’t think that members of the royal family were cold or not as supportive as they “should have been” as much as I think they were all starting to feel like they were in quicksand. That’s just my personal opinion… listen to author Christopher Andersen’s in the video below.
Kinsey Schofield: I was so excited to get to talk to you because I loved your JFK Jr. book (Note: He has multiple!) and then The Day Diana Died… I’ve listened to so many times. I love the audiobook and I just, what I loved about that book… it feels morbid to say… but those first few chapters, I had goosebumps the entire time. I truly felt like I was there. Of course, I was a child when she died. I was emotional when she died but I was more emotional reading that book as an adult. For you to be able to bring back those feelings with such intensity was really surprising to me so of course I’m excited to hear from you again and of course I’m excited for a new book!
Specifically, I want to jump into the Prince Andrew thing because I was at Windsor… by the way, I’m Kinsey with ToDiForDaily.com. I run a blog about the royal family in Los Angeles. I was in Windsor in February of 2020 and one of my friends that works there said, ‘Nobody’s worried about Meghan and Harry. We’re all worried about Prince Andrew and I love that you make this point in your book because no one else seems to do it. Harry and Megan were very distraught over what was going on but it wasn’t a coldness towards them. It feels like there’s chaos going on, on the other side! Is that true?
Christopher Andersen: Thank you. Oh, yes. Absolutely! I mean, the chaos in terms of Andrew? Andrew hangs like a cloud. Boy, the Queen… of all the people she could have picked to be her favorite child, you know? (Laughing.) It’s just amazing that she would pick Andrew! Yeah, I think a lot was going on but I also think, as I describe here… I mean, you mention Diana. I’m Team Diana, obviously. I think her ghost kind of hangs over everything. She transformed the monarchy and it’s still feeling her presence, you know? So that’s why when I focused on Meghan and Harry, yes indeed, they were aware of all of the other things going on and concerned about the effect on the Queen, of course, because at 95 now she has to handle this all alone without Philip. But I think it just added to the toxicity of the atmosphere that exists behind the palace walls and I think that’s one of the reasons that Meghan wanted out. I mean, I write about this in the book – that the seeds of this rift were really planted in childhood between William and Harry. That the heir and the spare… now I see it. I did not see it 20 years ago when I wrote Diana’s Boys, I thought, this is this brotherly bond that will never be broken because they’ve gone through things that nobody else in the world has ever experienced but clearly the heir and the spare dynamic is doomed to failure. It’s just not going to work and the spare is only going to end up feeling trod upon.
One of the things I hadn’t realized, for example, is that when the Queen Mother, until I wrote this book, that the Queen Mother when she met with William and Harry – would talk to William but Harry literally sat in a corner, in a distant corner. Because of the sense that here is the future monarch and we’re dealing with him in a different way but these are children… you know? So it’s going to leave a mark, right? I would think. And I think we’re still seeing the result of that.
KS: Yeah, and it feels like every spare… because they didn’t have that path, that clear path… Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew they all kind of went awry because there wasn’t that picture… why can’t they give them a role?
CA: Right. Edward is kind of the exception, isn’t he? But I mean, look at the other ones. Even Anne. Her life, her personal life sort of was a dumpster fire like everyone else in the royal family. They haven’t done well with the marriages. And by the way, I have to say this too, I’m preassociating. The thing that I find fascinating about everything that’s happened in the royal family is that Charles made it all happen. You know, he’s the person who caused the chaos. He made this choice, in love with Camilla, Camilla’s the love of his life. Well, of course, if you’ve read my books – even while he’s having an affair with Camilla he’s having affairs with other women during his marriage to Diana so this guy who’s going to become King, probably not that far into the future, you know, a lot of the chaos one can kind of lay at his doorstep because I think he bridges these generations in kind of a 19th-century personality there just trying to get pulled in the 21st-century. So, it will be interesting to see what happens when he becomes King.
KS: OMG. I love that you said that because I have this written down… I can’t remember because I recently read again The Day Diana Died, now you talked about, I think in that book, maybe even in this book, that upon marrying her they said to the public that she will not become Queen, she’s going to be Princess Consort. This is years ago that you wrote this! Now all of a sudden they are saying, ‘She might be! We don’t know if she’s going to become Queen!’ Can they get away with that?
CA: I’ve said before, that was a lie! That, of course, he always intended for her to be Queen and in fact, she is now Princess of Wales. Now, this is kind of a shell game they’re playing, kind of smoke and mirrors because nobody wants to offend sensibilities. Diana will forever be Princess of Wales as far as people are concerned. Camilla, Queen? Of course, she’s going to be Queen. She will automatically become Queen when he’s King and do you think he’s going to have a coronation and say you’re going to be the first Queen Consort in modern history to just be ignored? Of course not! He’s going to crown her. He’s always intended to and he really needed Harry up there… and Meghan to help sell the public. Not only on his, you know, he’s not the most popular guy, never was. Not only on his monarchy but, you know, to sell Camilla as Queen and now he’s lost really, a major component, I think, in that equation.
KS: Wow! That’s fascinating to think about that. You talk about ‘this girl’ which is so interesting because so much was made about ‘this girl’ as if Prince William was just saying ‘Whatever! [Meghan’s] nobody!’ almost. You brought up a brilliant point that ‘this girl’ is not Prince William’s go-to. That’s actually something Prince Harry said initially.
CA: That’s right! Prince Harry is on record as having referred to Meghan as ‘this girl!’ So there’s a little hypocrisy there, I mean, there’s a lot of hypocrisy there. When I look at a lot of the statements and convenient half-truths. I don’t mean to be too critical but, for example, when they say they could never get therapy. Well, they all had therapy! Now, not as children. Yes, William and Harry were denied the help they needed at a crucial time but as adults, they’ve all been in and out of therapy. They’ve helped each other get in and out of therapy. So, when someone says, ‘At a certain point, well, this person finally got me the help I needed.’ They had said that several times in the past. I mean, Harry had credited William repeatedly since 2012 with getting him help, you know? The palace won’t help me, that I don’t understand. Celebrities sometimes are very interesting in that they often believe their own PR and I don’t think if you sat them down that they really know the facts of their own life that well, you know?
KS: I think that’s a sweet and innocent… I would rather think that than we’re being blatantly lied to.
CA: Well, there’s that too! There’s no question about that.
KS: Did anything not make it in the book?
CA: Oh Gosh, there’s so much and there’s so many avenues one could go down! Of course, we’re talking about Prince Andrew. There’s a whole other thing right there! Fergie… WOW! Trainwreck. What an interesting personal life. Yeah, I think, sure there’s a lot there. I call them the longest-running soap opera because they really provide all those elements… sex, scandal, tragedy, history. What else does to this extent? Continuously. Sometimes I wish they would just sit down and let me write because I’m constantly updating these books, as you know, and trying to make them as current as you can make it.
KS: With Fergie, I think she is a great example of forgiveness because she came to the states. She was selling blenders, Weight Watchers. Really, almost, just humiliating the royal family and now she’s basically living under the Queen’s nose. I don’t know many exes that have that kind of access to their mother-in-law so I feel like there is hope for Harry and Meghan when I look at Fergie.
CA: Right. But there’s Beatrice, Eugenie, and of course, Andrew. Don’t forget Andrew is this other part of this. In the Queen’s eyes, he can almost do no wrong. He’s pushing it to the limit right now.
KS: Almost! So, I saw on Dan Wootton‘s show, he asked Thomas Markle to respond to Prince Charles, perhaps, being the person that said… you never accuse him of being the ‘royal racist’ in the book, it’s never positioned that way, but of course, media outlets jumped on that. Thomas Markle came out to defend Prince Charles and said, ‘I think it’s just a really innocent comment. People said the same thing to Doria and I. I’ve always felt that way. That somebody manipulated that comment. Is that how you took it?
CA: Totally! That’s what it was all about. It was an innocent non… I don’t believe there’s racism within the senior ranks of the royal family at all. Look, I’m a grandfather and I can tell you that you do speculate on these things. Even as a father, you know, are your kids going to have dark hair, brown eyes, blue eyes, whatever. And the skin tone thing… here’s this beautiful bi-racial woman married the world’s, are we allowed to say ginger? I’ve been told that’s not allowed but anyway, the world’s most famous ginger. C’mon. Of course, people wonder. In an innocent way and I think in a positive way, really! I don’t think there’s any question of that but of course, the palace has a tendency to, you know the guys behind the scenes, spin things in that game of telephone they play and by the time it’s finished – or the time it got to Harry – it was something more sinister-sounding and that caused yet another problem. William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan have not spoken up about this issue and I would like to see that at some point.
KS: I love that you said telephone because while watching the Oprah interview that’s what I kept thinking. I don’t think that Harry is communicating things correctly or they are so sensitive because they feel so alone that certain comments are not… and I’m not blaming them. I actually really do feel sympathy for them in a lot of this chaos… of course, sometimes I’m like, ‘Did we really need to do Ellen?!’ But I do feel a lot of sympathy for them.
CA: What did you think about that, by the way? I’m curious.
KS: I thought it was really uncomfortable and I wanted to like it but I feel like you are who you associate with and if you go sit down with somebody that’s been associated as being a bully in the middle of an investigation about you being a bully… it feels… a little…
KS: Yeah. It also felt like something Princess Diana would never do. Something Grace Kelly would never do.
CA: By the way, they were playful people. Princess Diana would go down the flume ride at Disney World. Of course! But would she play these games? Take direction? It’s kind of unbecoming. There’s a sense of dignity still… there’s a line that they never really crossed… I don’t think. Except Fergie selling the blenders.
KS: Agree! Agree. What do you think about Meghan Markle’s family because that is one place where I sympathize with Meghan. I sympathize with her because I love my father so immensely and I talk to him so regularly and I sympathize with her because he would never do some of this stuff to me.
CA: It’s unthinkable! It’s very hurtful. Yeah. I don’t get it either. There are some complicated families. A lot of those people seem awfully familiar to me. Not that they are in my family! But I mean! Well, wild card!
KS: It reminds me of Lindsay Lohan‘s family when they were all coming out and talking about what was going on in her life. It’s too tabloidy. At what point are you like, ‘Common sense says that I should shut up right now?!’
CA: Right. Right. And let’s face it, she did extend an olive branch. Harry was on the phone to him constantly trying to make amends and it didn’t happen. It was very bizarre. And you have to give Charles credit for stepping up… especially for his relationship with Doria Ragland, being so kind to Meghan’s Mom. Being attentive to her. That’s another sign, I think, along with the fact that he was always very accepting of Meghan, that Charles wouldn’t be making a ‘racist’ comment about her.
KS: No. No. I have two more questions. Thank you so much! I am loving this. I recently on my Instagram posted a photo of a People Magazine with Britney Spears on it that said, ‘E-mailing with Prince William!’ How crazy is it that Britney Spears was talking to Prince William? At the time he was the hottest young man in the world and she was the hottest young woman in the world. Is that not hilarious?
CA: Hilarious! And they tried to get together. They really tried to get together for Valentine’s Day. I think she, of course, would have liked that for a variety of publicity reasons and other things! His favorite pinup as a teenager was Britney Spears and Harry’s was Halle Berry. So, that was predictive of something! Prophetic! You know, William also had kind of a cyber relationship with Lauren Bush, the model who was George Bush’s niece. All that stuff, how these things come around, especially given Britney’s current…
KS: Britney constantly compares herself to Princess Diana, which I think is so interesting.
CA: I don’t quite see the comparison but you know… not that I’m not a fan. She’s fun.
KS: Maybe it’s the paparazzi following her?
CA: That could be it! Yeah! I think it still strikes people as unbelievable that Kevin Costner almost roped her into doing The Bodyguard sequel.
KS: And the nude scene! The nude scene! We don’t want to see that!
CA: No, no! I don’t think she would have done it but I do think the fact that the script landed on his desk the day she died… as they say, you can’t make this stuff up! Unbelievable!
KS: No! It’s crazy. Alright, this is something I’d never heard before from your book. That Kate, kind of really aggressively, reached out to Meghan after the birth of Lili and was denied. I had no clue about that but it didn’t surprise me, I thought, ‘Well, of course Kate did that. So sweet.’
CA: Yes, and she’s a very kind person. You always get this from people who have encountered her, worked with her, know her. She’s kind and she gets a bum wrap as being kind of a cold fish, I think. I think people think she’s so controlled and frankly, a lot of women have told me they consider her to be ‘awfully thin.’ She has this little tight-knit group of people around her, maybe half a dozen people at the most and she doesn’t let people in that much. When Lili was born, she could connect to Meghan in that way, as well. Unfortunately, nobody in the royal family has met her yet. That speaks volumes, I think.
KS: What has been the biggest takeaway from the book so far?
CA: I, personally, I find the PTSD story to be really very telling because they are still grappling with the impact and the grief that they felt over their mother’s death. You could say, you would think the defining moment would be the time when they learned of their mother’s death. I think the defining moment was walking behind her casket. And hearing that little girl in the crowd saying, ‘Look mummy, it’s the princess in the box.’ Talk about a macabre position to put these little kids in. Also, the suicide. Everyone is taking that very lightly but Diana tried. I mean, is it that bad?! Is it that bad that it would force these women, who are very strong-willed women, to mysteriously attempt… I mean, Diana threw herself down the stairs when she was three months pregnant with William. It must be… I just think, the pressure must be phenomenal and it’s hard to understand it or see it because everyone just thinks ‘Oh, charmed lives and wealth, glamour, palaces,’ and all this but no. I don’t think it’s worth it to be honest with you.
Christopher Andersen’s Brothers and Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan is available to purchase now!
Thanks so much to Christopher Andersen for talking to us. Dream come true!
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