NEWS & FEA­TURES Royal wed­dings It’s all-out war!

In­side the bit­ter cri­sis tear­ing the palace apart

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

Their long-held jeal­ousies and on­go­ing feuds are pub­lic knowl­edge, but never be­fore has Buck­ing­ham Palace seen such a tense show­down be­tween the next gen­er­a­tion of royal lead­ers.

All signs are point­ing to loved-up Prince Harry of­fi­cially an­nounc­ing an en­gage­ment to his girl­friend Meghan Markle any day now. But on the eve of what should be a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion for the en­tire Bri­tish royal fam­ily – and with Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s wed­ding tak­ing place this week­end – Woman’s Day has learnt palace aides are fran­ti­cally try­ing to bro­ker peace be­tween young roy­als caught up in a new bit­ter ri­valry – a race to the al­tar.

For most fam­i­lies, wed­dings are joy­ous events that bring peo­ple to­gether, but ten­sion over who’ll be the next to walk down the aisle in 2017 – and who’ll have the big­gest and best wed­ding – has be­come so toxic it’s tear­ing the House of Wind­sor apart. And with fran­tic dress fit­tings, squab­bles over guest lists and fierce com­pe­ti­tion for price­less jewels, the bat­tle to have the most daz­zling royal wed­ding of the year is get­ting vi­cious.

We’re told that at the cen­tre of the rift is Princess Eu­ge­nie’s deep re­sent­ment that, as she pre­pares to an­nounce her en­gage­ment to long-time part­ner Jack Brooks­bank, she’s likely to have the lime­light stolen by her cousin Harry and Meghan.

Late last year, Eu­ge­nie, 27, and Jack, 30, were thought to have asked per­mis­sion from the Queen to marry – but now it looks like Harry and his beau­ti­ful girl­friend will beat them to it. In­deed, with 35-year-old Suits star Meghan can­celling her ad­ver­tis­ing com­mit­ments and shut­ting down her per­sonal blog last month, royal watch­ers are tip­ping she and Harry, 32, will an­nounce their plans to wed within weeks.

But the princess is not go­ing down with­out a fight. “Eu­ge­nie would love to up­stage Meghan by an­nounc­ing her own en­gage­ment,” a palace aide tells Woman’s Day.

“Ideally, she’d like to rain on Meghan’s pa­rade by get­ting her in­vites out first and get­ting mar­ried just a few weeks be­fore Meghan mar­ries Harry.”

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that both Harry and Eu­ge­nie will be pipped at the post by the Duchess of Cam­bridge’s sis­ter Pippa, 33, who’ll wed stock­bro­ker James Matthews this Satur­day.

Pippa and her mum Carole’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to make her wed­ding a royal af­fair in its own right is only caus­ing more ten­sion. Des­per­ate not to be up­staged, Pippa even ini­ti­ated a “no ring, no bring” guest pol­icy to keep Meghan away from her wed­ding – though she has since bowed to pres­sure and ex­tended a last-minute wel­come to the ac­tress.

Eu­ge­nie and her sis­ter Princess Beatrice feel strongly that, as she’s not even part of the royal fam­ily, it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate for Pippa’s wed­ding to be over­shad­ow­ing Eu­ge­nie’s en­gage­ment. Pippa, con­versely, is of the opin­ion that first in, best dressed – she beat Harry and Eu­ge­nie fair and square.

‘Eu­ge­nie would love to up­stage Meghan by an­nounc­ing her own en­gage­ment’

It’s no sur­prise that Harry’s im­pend­ing en­gage­ment is hard for Eu­ge­nie to swal­low. She and Beatrice, 28, have long been re­sent­ful that they’re fre­quently over­looked in palace cir­cles.

Al­though Beatrice is sin­gle, hav­ing split from her boyfriend of a decade Dave Clark last year, it’s said she’s de­ter­mined her sis­ter should tri­umphantly walk down the aisle be­fore any other royal. “Eu­ge­nie and Beatrice spend their lives long­ing to be in the lime­light and they loathe be­ing up­staged by the glam­orous women who are mar­ry­ing into their fam­ily,” our source spills.

“It was bad enough when Wil­liam mar­ried Kate but now that Harry is about to an­nounce his en­gage­ment to a beau­ti­ful TV star, the princesses have had enough! What re­ally up­sets them is that the me­dia and the pub­lic adore Meghan – and they couldn’t care less about Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie.”

Caught up in the ten­sion is Kate, 35, who loves Harry and wants to cel­e­brate his en­gage­ment joy, but is also thrilled for her sis­ter and is do­ing ev­ery­thing she can to make Pippa’s wed­ding spe­cial – which in­cludes al­low­ing Prince Ge­orge, three, and Princess Char­lotte, two, to act as page boy and brides­maid.

It’s thought the duchess ini­tially at­tempted to play palace peace­maker, be­fore re­solv­ing to stay out of the dis­pute.

Now, with Eu­ge­nie re­fus­ing to back down, and the count­down to Pippa’s big day in full swing, the sit­u­a­tion at the palace is likely to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter.

“One thing is for sure,” adds our source. “This royal soap opera is about to boil over.”

Bat­tle of the brides! Pippa (far left) is in the lead, to the an­noy­ance of Eu­ge­nie and Beatrice, while Harry and Meghan (far right) are caught in the mid­dle.

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