Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were "edged out" of the royal family because their "rock star" status became too great and threatened to "overshadow" the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, a royal expert has claimed.
Robert Lacey, royal expert and author of Battle of Brothers, a new book looking at the rift between Harry and William, claims the younger Prince was the victim of 'cruelty' from the royal family due to his role as the "spare heir".
Mr Lacey claimed in an interview with GMA this treatment had Prince Harry resenting the royal family, which was made worse when he and Meghan were being "edged out" who thought they took too much attention away from senior members of the family.
"The British royal system can be very cruel, and it's particularly cruel to the spare, Lacey said, adding: "Harry came to realize in his teens that he was typecast as the court jester, the number two."
He continued, saying the royal family has had a history of this kind of behaviour with the "heir and the spare", pointing out Princess Margaret, the Queen's younger sister, and Prince Andrew, whose older brother is Prince Charles.
"They start off in the public eye as playmates, as co-stars with the heir," Lacey said.
"And what's their destiny? To be pushed down the line of succession as babies come along, marriages come along.
"There was trouble with Margaret. There was trouble with Andrew. And now we have the same thing with Harry."
The royal expert suggests that Harry's unhappiness would have grown as he and William grew older and it became obvious that he was being given less attention and status.
When Harry met Meghan, however, things changed.
Lacey describes Meghan as a "megawatt woman" who "inspired" and "transformed" Harry, encouraging him to take control of his destiny, rather than living by tradition.
She and Harry became the "rock stars" of the royal family, which did not sit well with more senior members of the family, especially as the couple bucked so many royal traditions.
"I think Meghan's a force of nature that maybe Buckingham Palace hasn't worked out how to cope with. She is a woman of great conviction," Lacey said.
He added that there is a "clique" of aides and royals "who've got it in for Meghan" and wanted to suppress her star power.
Lacey believes smalls steps were taken to suppress the popularity of the couple with the first major sign being the Queen's annual Christmas speech.
She did not mention Harry and Meghan by name and while she mentioned the birth of her great grandson Archie, she also didn't name him.
While the pair were seen in the background in portraits during the 2018 speech, they were no where to be found in 2019.
Lacey said the message was "very clear", "These people are in the second rank. And the people who matter are, look, myself, the queen, Charles, William, and little Prince George."
A new portrait released soon after hammered home the message as it only featured the Queen and her heirs.
"I think the underlying message of that is, 'Just remember your place, Harry and Meghan. These are the people that really matter in the royal family. And you are the backup. And you're trying to play too prominent a role.'"
Harry grew more frustrated when Charles and William didn't "take [his concerns] seriously", rather than speaking with him, they asked him to put his feelings in writing, something he was not comfortable with in case it was leaked.
Harry "lost his cool" and decided to move forward with the launch of the Sussex Royal website without any warning to the royal family.
It was launched moments after Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back from royal duties, which had not been approved by the Queen or her aides.
Lacey claims the move made William furious and he refused to attend a lunch with the Queen and Harry to clear the air as he was worried he wouldn't be able to "keep his temper" in a casual setting.
The royal expert also claimed that Meghan may "pedal back" on some of her more "woke" speeches after realising it puts Harry's relationship with his family at risk.