- Katie Nicholl's book, "The New Royals," gives an in-depth look at King Charles as a parent.
- The monarch wasn't "present" with his sons when they were teens, according to one of his former aides.
- Prince William and Prince Harry often couldn't get in touch with their dad, Nicholl wrote.
Prince William and Prince Harry got into trouble as teens because King Charles didn't pay enough attention to them, according to a new royal book.
The royal reporter Katie Nicholl released "The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth's Legacy and the Future of the Crown" on October 4, and it details what Prince William and Prince Harry's upbringing was like through conversations with former palace staff members.
According to the book, the princes were often left to their own devices when they were teenagers following Princess Diana's death, as King Charles was "busy." Princess Diana died in 1997, when William was 15 and Harry was 12.
"With a busy work and Camilla now very much a priority in his private diary, Charles placed too much trust in William and Harry to look after themselves," Nicholl wrote of the king's approach to parenting his teenage sons.
William and Harry attended Eton College, an elite boarding school, as teenagers, but they also spent time at their father's home, Highgrove House, throughout their adolescence — and the king often wasn't there with them, as one of Charles' former aides told Nicholl.
"The boys wanted their independence and they probably had too much of it," the unnamed former aide told Nicholl. "Often when they wanted to speak to their father, he wasn't around, and because he didn't carry a cell phone with him they would get frustrated that they couldn't get ahold of him. If they needed him they'd end up calling his protection officers so they could talk to him, which wasn't ideal."
"They wanted to speak to their dad, but Charles doesn't do calls on the hoof or texting; he likes to make time for considered conversations," the aide also said to Nicholl.
Nicholl also wrote in her book that Charles relied on close family friends to help raise his sons, and William and Harry spent a lot of time at the family homes of their nanny, Tiggey Legge-Bourke, and their friends, the Van Cutsems.
The surrogate families provided William and Harry with support, but the princes still got into mischief when they weren't supervised, as Queen Elizabeth's cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, who died in November 2020, told Nicholl in a series of interviews before her death.
"At Highgrove on weekends, the boys could be at a loose end because Charles wasn't always around," she told Nicholl.
For instance, William and Harry started "Club H" at Highgrove, where they held parties for their friends, and in 2001 when Harry was just 17, he was drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes at an inn near the house, according to Nicholl.
"Those who knew turned a blind eye, but when an aide recognized the unmistakable smell of marijuana emanating from Club H, the young prince was busted," Nicholl wrote.
The fallout from the incident led to Harry and William's first rift, as only Harry got in trouble even though William was with him at the time, according to Nicholl.