Why Prince Harry Questioned Prince William's 'Concern for Meghan' Before They Got Married

William and Harry "had never hesitated to tell each other exactly what they thought and felt," historian Robert Lacey writes in his new book

Prince Harry and Prince William's already fractured relationship suffered more when Harry fell for Meghan Markle in 2016 — and William wasn't afraid to voice his reservations.

Historian Robert Lacey's new book Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, excerpted in this week's PEOPLE, explores the rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, including the mounting tensions that came with Harry and Meghan's whirlwind relationship.

"The fundamental conflict was between the two males who had known each other all their lives and had never hesitated to tell each other exactly what they thought and felt," Lacey wrote. "William worried that his brother was moving too fast in his courtship — and he did not shrink from saying as much when Harry started talking about getting hitched to Meghan quite soon."

The author added, "According to another source on this crucial and much-reported confrontation between the brothers that occurred sometime in late 2016 or early 2017, William couched his question in terms of apparent concern for Meghan."

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Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on Christmas Day in 2017. Chris Jackson/Getty

“'Waity William,' of course, took so long to commit to Kate for the sake of the monarchy. He had been auditioning her for a job all those years. So Harry could not help but wonder whether Wills was really concerned about his personal happiness—or whether he was, once again and as per usual, thinking about the makeup and fortunes of 'the Firm' whose boss he would become one day? The response from Harry was a brusque and offended pushback," Lacey writes.

Prince William and Prince Harry. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Following Harry and Meghan's May 2018 wedding, there was hope that the two couples would work together. Instead, they soon began to move in separate directions.

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"Here we have a couple of brothers who loved each other dearly — most profoundly and genuinely, in fact—but who could give as good as they got when it came to a clash over something that mattered intensely to them," Lacey said in the book. "For William it was the future state of his monarchy — his sacred trust; while for Harry it was the love of the complex and captivating woman who had finally made sense of his life."

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Stephanie Petit
Stephanie Petit

Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer/Reporter at PEOPLE. She has been with the brand since 2016 after graduating from The College of New Jersey and holding previous positions at Seventeen, CBS Radio and more. Follow the proud dog mom on Twitter at @stephpetit_ for the latest on Queen Elizabeth's corgis.

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