Duchesses Kate & Meghan

The truth about the duchesses’ con­flict, views and friend­ship

WHO - - Contents - By Jen­nie Noo­nan

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.

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