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Who is Mark Dyer, and why does the British media think he can bring Princes Harry and William back together again?

The former Welsh Guard officer not only looked after the princes following the untimely death of their mother, Princess Diana, but he also became an important confidant during their teenage years. Despite showing a clear preference for the Duke of Sussex, he has not been shunned by the current heir to the throne

Mark Dyer
From left to right: Prince Harry, Mark Dyer and Prince William at a rugby match in 2005.Rebecca Naden (PA Images via Getty Images)

Negotiating peace between princes is not an easy task, but if anyone can do it, it is Mark Dyer, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph and the tabloid Daily Mail. The former describes the man who was King Charles III’s bodyguard and tutor to Prince William, 41, and Prince Henry, 39, during their childhood and adolescence as “fierce, but fair.” Not only did Dyer, 56, protect and care for the boys after the untimely death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, but he also earned their trust. In fact, Dyer was known as the young princes’ “second father,” indicating how close they are. Now, he is being called “the only one who could settle the feud between Harry and William.”

All eyes have been on the British monarchy since Monday, February 5, when news broke that King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer. The next day, attention turned to Harry, who immediately flew from Los Angeles to London to see his father. The visit was short; they saw each other for about 30 minutes at Clarence House in their first meeting in 17 months. The next day, Harry returned to the United States. The Duke of Sussex did not see his busy brother, Prince William, who has taken center stage in the royal family’s public activities now that his father is out of the spotlight. The two brothers are deeply estranged, especially since the publication of Harry’s incendiary memoir, Spare, in which he levels harsh charges against the future king, and the release of the Netflix documentary Henry and Meghan. But hopes of a reconciliation remain as long as the discreet Dyer continues to work his magic, or so the British press believes.

The former Welsh Guard officer, who served as the king’s squire in the 1990s, knows firsthand what may be going through King Charles III’s mind because Dyer himself has battled stomach cancer over the past two years. “Pleasant and shrewd,” as The Telegraph describes him, Dyer is now retired from royal service and in 2009 he successfully set up and ran a chain of pubs; eight years later, he sold them for more than £10 million ($12.6 million). Prince Harry served as an usher at Dyer’s 2010 wedding, and the royal returned the favor by inviting him to his 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. Similarly, Dyer named Harry the godfather of his son Jasper, and Harry followed suit by making Dyer the godfather of Archie, who was born in 2019.

Prince William And Prince Harry
Accompanied by Mark Dyer, Prince William (with a hand on his cheek) and Prince Harry visit Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk for the launch of the 16th Air Assault Brigade in 1999. Tim Graham (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The close relationship between Dyer and the princes goes back a long way. He was tasked with visiting William during his stay at Eton boarding school, which Harry later attended, and, according to British media, encouraged the latter’s love affairs by protecting him from the paparazzi. Dyer later accompanied Harry on his trips to Australia, Argentina and Lesotho during his gap year, prompting royal biographer Penny Junor to describe him as one of the “few people who can talk sense into [Harry].” As she wrote in her 2014 book Prince Harry Brother, Soldier, Son on the occasion of the prince’s 30th birthday, “Mark Dyer’s help had been immeasurable. He had done a magnificent job supporting and guiding both princes through their teenage years and showing them something of the world... The press thought he was a bad influence, but he did a good job for them. He had great integrity and was around when they needed advice that they didn’t get from their father.”

Harry himself praised Dyer, whom he refers to as Marko, in his memoir Spare. “Everyone appreciated Marko. Of all the staff that surrounded my father, by consensus, Marko was the best, the toughest, the strongest, the most handsome. A longtime member of the Welsh Guards. Anecdotal. A model of masculinity from head to toe,” the prince described him. He also recalls a moment when King Charles III commissioned Dyer to interrogate Harry to “find out the truth” about whether he had taken drugs, delegating the responsibility of broaching such sensitive subjects with his sons to Dyer. When Harry confessed that, yes, he smoked cannabis, Charles forced him to spend a day in a residential facility for drug users in South London. Once again, Marko was his companion.

Mark Dyer and Prince Harry at the Sentebale concert at Kensington Palace on June 28, 2016 in London.
Mark Dyer and Prince Harry at the Sentebale concert at Kensington Palace on June 28, 2016 in London.WPA Pool (Getty Images)

After Harry and Meghan relinquished their royal duties and departed for California in 2020, it seems that friends, courtiers and family have had to choose sides. They would quietly line up on Team Harry or Team William, The Telegraph notes, and those who choose to side with Harry, the paper claims, are ostracized by William. In contrast, Dyer — who has been friends with both princes for decades but is closer to Harry — seems to have dodged the Prince of Wales’ rejection. According to the British press, while there’s no direct communication between the brothers, Dyer is believed to serve as a kind of go-between for Harry to maintain contact with his former life in the U.K.

“Friend, father, survivor and confidant, only he can provide Harry with the perspective (wake-up call) he will need in the coming weeks and months as his father continues his cancer treatment,” the British media believe. Many are confident that their father’s illness, coupled with Mark Dyer’s stellar mediation skills, is the perfect opportunity for a reconciliation between the brothers that, for the moment, still seems far off.

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