Jubilee Series: William and Harry

Brotherly differences: a study in duty and discipline, freedom and emotion

Jubilee Series: William and Harry

We’ve spoken about relationships previously and how it is difficult, near impossible to glimpse the reality of other peoples’ interactions, this especially so if they have grown up and matured together as two brothers. But, if we look at William and Harry’s personality types, do we get a sense of where there could be misalignment and even some conflict? Probably. William, it tends to be agreed, is an ESFJ whilst Harry projects more as an ISFP, which we can see in his need for personal freedom, a more emotionally led, sensitive side and alignment to the causes that capture his heart. Because of this we have seen him struggle with the discipline of royal obligations, but in doing so he has endeared himself to a different demographic. William, on the other hand, has been the model of ESFJ loyalty to the cause, dutiful, with Catherine keeping the family business, the royal brand, on message. So, why do we think this has occurred?


Well, firstly, an ESFJ will have a single point of obligation to fulfil the responsibilities and expectations that come with his position, for the family and the country, and so for William it will be important to keep his emotions in check and focus on duty and doing a good job. He speaks openly about mental health issues, even about his own struggles after the death of his mother, but it is an open, factual, discussion of such issues, not an outpouring of feelings and, to use modern parlance, actually ‘emoting.’ Harry, on the other hand, an ISFP, tends to display his reactions to his feelings. Neither, of course, are wrong but it can make Harry more vulnerable, drawing both public interest and empathy, but also leaving him more open to criticism. William walks a straighter line, plays his role well and is as such a doyen of the press, and his family, he is very unlikely to rock the royal yacht. In a 2017 interview with Bryony Gordon in the Daily Telegraph, Harry opened up about his emotions, including how his dutiful brother had tried to help him: “You need to find the right person to talk to as well and that’s been one of my biggest frustrations…how hard it is to find the right person, the right remedy.” He felt he’d had “two years of total chaos,” and was grateful to his brother: “My brother, bless him, he was a huge support to me, he kept saying, ‘this is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk to someone about stuff, it’s OK.’”


Even then, as Harry explained in 2021 to the Apple Broadcast, ‘The me you can’t see,’ it was still a struggle, perhaps the reason he relinquished some of his royal duties: “Every time I put a suit and tie on…having to do the whole role and go, ‘right, game face,’ look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s go.’ Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat.” To his credit, these are incredibly candid public admissions, and they illustrate the personality differences between the two brothers and how they manifest themselves, one more ‘buttoned up,’ one more open with his emotions. Critics of William and Catherine have called them, “The Duke and Duchess of Dull,” but this is perhaps unfair as they are an integral part of an institutional family, and so they walk the straight line, all about duty and tradition, but bringing an ever more human touch than was the case in the past.


A US investment banker recalled how at a hospice charity event hosted by William, one of the major donors, in whose house the event was being held, was in bed too ill to come down to join the event. William, he noted, took a pot of tea and two biscuits up to her, and she was delighted. So, that is dutiful, not dull, but incredibly human, something he did not have to do.



The basic differences are there, William really is built for the responsibility that goes with the job, and takes it very seriously, and selflessly. Harry’s need for freedom to follow his heart and impulses has taken him down a different route, feeling that the obligations of royal life are perhaps unfair, he has focused on more global issues and being open about wanting to change some aspects of the world. William is changing the royal’s world, but slowly, gently and in keeping with the traditions.