A tribute for Prince William on his 40th birthday needlessly turned into a scathing attack against Prince Harry. According to a royal author, friends were open in their criticism of the Duke of Sussex because they received permission to do so from the celebrant himself.

In his piece for Yahoo, Omid Scobie criticised the "intimate portrait" of the Duke of Cambridge that the Daily Mail editor Rebecca English wrote. In it, unnamed friends were given the liberty to talk about the duke's feelings about his sibling. One said that the future king is "really, really angry about what his brother has done" while another claimed that Prince William grieves the loss of the person "who understands this strange life of theirs."

The co-author of "Finding Freedom" lamented that these "friends" of Prince William used their interview with English to dwell on the royal's grievances against Prince Harry.

"Without doubt, it was the relationship with Harry that was front and centre. And when royal aides and off-the-record friends turn coverage of the prince's birthday into a list of familial complaints about brother Prince Harry, I was left scratching my head at the bizarre direction they chose to take things. And the opportunity that was missed," Scobie wrote.

He said that these friends of Prince William would not have dared to speak on his behalf if they had not gotten his permission. He shared that experiences have taught him that the Duke of Cambridge's "tight circle of friends will only talk after a nod from the man himself" and those "who haven't received such authorisation have found themselves in deep trouble."

He continued, "It's true that the situation between the brothers continues to be grave, but I can't help but feel this assortment of sanctioned mouthpieces are doing William a huge disservice here."

Scobie claimed that instead of reading about how Prince William is preparing for his biggest job yet, "readers were presented with the hypocritical story of how awful it is for Harry to speak publicly about his experiences... told via Kensington Palace sources appearing to share the private and personal opinions of William to Britain's most-read tabloid."

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Prince William
Prince Harry said in 2019 that he had grown apart from his older brother William Photo: AFP / Tolga AKMEN