Duchesses Kate & Meghan
The truth about the duchesses’ conflict, views and friendship
During her visit with husband Prince William to Leicester University on Nov. 28, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was asked by a fan about her three children – Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 7-month-old Prince Louis. “They’re doing well, thank you,” she said in a video shared on Instagram. “They’re getting excited for Christmas time because they’ve started all their Christmas songs and the Christmas trees are going up.”
The fan followed up by asking if she was excited about Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby on the way. Kate, 36, immediately responded: “Absolutely! It’s such a special time to have little kiddies,” she shared. “And a cousin for George and Charlotte, as well … and Louis. It’ll be really special.”
The warm exchange saw Kate stand by Meghan, amid claims of strained relationships as the Cambridges and Sussexes head into their first holiday season as official in-laws.
Last year, “They really loved Christmas and all had a wonderful time,” a source tells WHO. “I think the two women got on – they are definitely not best friends, but it was a really special time for them all to spend together.”
Yet according to a report in the UK’S Daily Mail on Dec. 2, last Christmas was marred by tensions between the two couples, prompting sources to suggest that Harry and Meghan would celebrate with the Queen and Prince Philip in Norfolk, while William and Kate would turn down the traditional Royal Christmas and join the Middleton clan at Bucklebury Manor in the Berkshire countryside.
Giving a glimpse into what a Middleton family Christmas looks like, Kate’s mum Carole, 63, described Christmas trees in each of the grandchildren’s rooms (“so they can decorate it themselves,” she reasons), visiting church on Christmas Day, followed by a walk, then smoked salmon and Champagne for lunch before the main meal in the evening. “With young grandchildren,” she noted in her interview with The Telegraph, “maybe we’ll move that forward and have it at lunchtime.”
But contrary to these reports, WHO can confirm that the couples will be spending the holidays together as a sign of solidarity. A royal source told Daily Mail Australia “Reports regarding Christmas are wrong. Everyone is in Norfolk this year.”
Whatever the case, it all seems more peaceful, perhaps, than last year’s festivities. According to the UK’S Mail on Sunday, after Meghan complained she wasn’t feeling welcomed by her future family, Prince Charles attempted to smooth things over by engineering William and Kate’s hosting of Meghan and Harry at Anmer Hall – the Cambridges’ country home near Sandringham – which didn’t go to plan.
A “well-placed source” is quoted describing a “ghastly row” between the couples with a senior royal aide revealing that the atmosphere at Anmer soured shortly after Harry and his then-fiancée had arrived and Meghan was deemed to be “downright rude … Kate had a quiet word with Meghan,” the aide is quoted as saying. “It escalated rapidly after Meghan complained to Harry that she had been ‘told off’. He took her side, while William defended Kate, who was five months pregnant with Louis and certainly didn’t want this sort of confrontation.”
Kate is also reported to have said to friends that she felt, since being with Meghan, Harry was “changing … She and Harry have always had a very close relationship,” a friend told The Mail on Sunday. “But she said things were different.” Kensington Palace took the rare step of refuting another report in The Sun that claimed the two women had had an “explosive row” after a “furious” Kate allegedly scolded Meghan for berating members of her staff. “That’s unacceptable,”
“Reports regarding Christmas are wrong” —Palace insider
Kate allegedly told Meghan, “They’re my staff, and I speak to them.”
These claims were immediately quashed. “This never happened,” a Palace rep told The Sun.
According to a separate and widely reported incident, things came to a head again when Kate was said to be “left in tears” after a fitting for Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress in preparation for Meghan and Harry’s May wedding. A source told veteran royals reporter Camilla Tominey of the UK’S Daily Telegraph, “Kate had only just given birth to Prince Louis and was feeling quite emotional” – though just what upset her is unclear.
Several insiders have told WHO that there was a notable amount of “stress” surrounding those involved in the wedding. Still, a royal wedding guest previously confirmed to WHO that Prince William “was in a jokey, wonderful mood” at Meghan and Prince Harry’s evening reception — and that Kate was in “great form” – once again shutting down claims of a royal feud.
Although the new sisters-in-law have made several joint appearances as part of the royal ‘Fab Four’ – as well as attending Wimbledon for a girls’ day without their husbands in July – they’re “very different women, despite their similar circumstances,” a source told The Telegraph. “Meghan is an extrovert, whereas Kate is quite shy.”
Now, more changes are in store, with Harry and Meghan moving into Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage, and out of Kensington Palace, where William and Kate live. “Harry feels very imprisoned at Kensington Palace,” royal biographer Ingrid Seward, author of My Husband and I, tells WHO —and he’s told friends as much. “He can’t wait to get out.”
The two couples are also planning to split their business offices in the coming months. Although the changes have sparked rumours of more tensions, insiders point to a natural evolution of the brothers’ dynamic now that they are both married with their own families.
“Harry will want to establish himself and come out of the shadows,” says one insider. “They want to do their own thing and create their own style. And to do that you need to be away sometimes.” As for their wives, “It’s a tricky situation,” says another source. “They are determined to maintain a positive relationship even though they are obviously very different in their approach.”
Amid reports of tension, Kate’s mother has spoken out in her first-ever interview.
The Fab Four stood united during the Trooping of the Colour in June.
Pregnant Meghan is getting ready to move into Frogmore Cottage with Harry.
Meghan has been keeping up her public displays of kindness, visiting London’s Hubb Community Kitchen on Nov. 21.
The royals always appear friendly and civil at public events, such as at Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. Kate, Charlotte, George and William on Christmas Day, 2016.
Meghan and Harry will attend the Queen’s Christmas lunch along with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. The duo attended Wimbledon in July.