Side by Side
That brief, spontaneous and altogether unremarkable interplay between two teammates would hardly have stirred notice, were it not for the athletes involved: Prince William (the Flubber) and Harry (the Decrier). Along the sidelines charmed spectators no doubt wondered if Harry, 16, had been encouraging William, 19 -- or seizing a rare public opportunity to rag on his older brother. As commentator Jim Hilston had quipped over a loudspeaker, "That Prince Harry sure likes to get into a tussle."
If so, all evidence of brotherly competition faded as soon as the boys -- playing publicly for the first time with their father, Prince Charles, 52 -- exited the field in triumph. Afterward, in William's VW Golf, they drifted naturally to their symbolic positions: William in the driver's seat (an attractive blonde female at his side), Harry relaxing in the rear.
Boys no more, the British princes are not only maturing gracefully into manhood, they seem to be growing into a comfortable and supportive relationship that erases the 27 months between them. "As they get older, the age difference diminishes and they get closer," says Peter Archer, royals reporter for Britain's Press Association. "They genuinely enjoy each other's company."
And perhaps each other's differences. Keenly aware of his place in the royal lineup, the shy and introspective William remains a classic first son, responsible, serious and controlled. "William very much plays up to being the older brother," says a friend. "He looks out for Harry." The more volatile Harry continues to be easygoing and carefree, often looking to William to take the lead. "I think Harry is quite happy being second," suggests another pal. Still, Harry's fiery side can flare when he feels overshadowed or put down by his big brother. "William might occasionally tell him not to be stupid or have a laugh at his expense," says a family friend. "Like all brothers, they do have cross words, but they are a good support for each other."
On Newsstands Now
- Kim's Delivery Room Drama!
- Katie: A Year After Split
- Princess Kate: Palace's Baby Plan Revealed
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine