Prince Harry and Prince William Issue Rare Joint Statement Denying That 'Bullying' Caused Rift in Their Relationship

Prince Harry and older brother Prince William are doing their best to nip the latest Royal Family drama in the bud, releasing a rare joint statement together that denies that "bullying" caused the rift in their relationship. The princes' spokespeople told CNN on Monday that "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a U.K. newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge."

"For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful," the statement continued.

The response came after a British news outlet published a story that claimed William's "bullying attitude" led Harry and wife Meghan Markle to step down from their roles in the British royal family. The report also alleged that William, 37, was unwelcoming toward Markle, 38, before her wedding to Harry, 35, in May 2018, and that Harry and Markle were "constantly being told their place."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked the world and reportedly "disappointed" the rest of the royal family last week when they announced they would be stepping back from their official duties to pursue private interests, adding that they wanted to work toward becoming financially independent.

Following the announcement, in which Harry and Markle said they'd start splitting their time between the U.K. and North America, Markle returned to Canada with their 8-month-old son Archie as Harry remained behind in the U.K. to deal with the fallout of their announcement. Harry is reportedly expected to join his wife and son within the next few days.

Harry and Markle's decision reportedly came as a shock to other members of the British household, including Queen Elizabeth II, who said in a statement that "these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."

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Royal sources told CNN that the timing of Harry and Markle's decision left senior members of the family feeling hurt, and that the queen had expressly asked Harry to hold off releasing any statements regarding the couple's future.

The royal family is set to hold a summit Monday to discuss plans for Harry and Markle's future, a source told CNN on Saturday. The meeting will be at Sandringham, the queen's country estate in rural Norfolk (about 100 miles north of London) and will be attended by the queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry.