Kate and Meghan at war
Inside the bitter feud that’s tearing the princes apart
They were once so close, there were whispers Meghan Markle would invite the Duchess of Cambridge to be her matron of honour when she walked down the aisle to marry Prince Harry.
But it seems the once-blossoming friendship between the Duchess of Sussex and her sister-in-law Kate has soured, with the pregnant former Suits star and her husband now set to leave Kensington Palace to start a new life in Windsor amid rumours of a growing feud that threatens to tear the entire royal family apart.
“While everyone was clinging on to the hope Kate and Meghan would be forever best buddies, the fairytale has very much come to an abrupt end,” reveals a well-placed palace insider, speaking exclusively to Woman’sDay. “Tensions have reached an all-time high, and it’s not only causing problems between William and Harry, but it’s also having a knock-on effect on the entire family.
“With everyone taking sides, it’s gotten so fractious behind the scenes that there are now deeprooted fears that this could drive
a long-lasting wedge through The Firm.”
Prince Charles has allegedly been acting as a mediator between Prince William, 36, and his more popular younger brother, urging them not to fall out over their wives’ differences and insisting they have to stop fighting over “petty” issues.
Meanwhile, we’re told Kate, 36, and Meghan’s mutual friend Mischa Nonoo, a US-based fashion designer, has attempted to stage an intervention between the two warring women, but it’s done little to soothe the strain.
Reports of a royal rift first emerged last week, when it was revealed Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, who are expecting their first child in April, will move from their current home at Kensington Palace, two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage, to the Windsor Estate’s two-storey Frogmore Cottage.
The news came as a surprise to many courtiers as it was expected the newlyweds would soon be shifting into the 21-room Apartment 1 in Kensington, right next-door to William and Kate’s home, with its current residents, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, having already made plans to move out early in the new year to make way for Harry and Meghan.
While some claimed the prince and his new wife simply didn’t want to bring up their child in the “goldfish bowl” of the London palace, multiple stories surfaced of a feud between the two duchesses.
“The clear reason behind the move is for Meghan to distance herself from Kate,” claims our insider. “The pair have had numerous spats over Meghan’s strong opinions and the girls’ differences have been majorly highlighted. Their honeymoon period, so to speak, is well and truly over.”
A royal expert adds, “Whereas in the old days, Diana and Fergie got on famously, there is little common ground between Meghan and Kate. Both are fiercely protective of their husbands and their relationship is polite rather than close.”
In perhaps the most shocking story, mum-of-three Kate was reportedly left in tears by Meghan’s strict instructions at the fitting for Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress three weeks before the royal wedding in May.
The Californian-born beauty insisted on “the very best” for her big day, but the fitting didn’t go to plan and became rather “stressful”, leaving Kate shaken and crying, a royal source claims. “Kate had only just given birth to her third child, Prince Louis, and was feeling quite emotional.”
A second source alleges, “Kate was in charge of the bridesmaids, which was no easy task as it is, let alone the fact she had just given birth to Louis only weeks before and was doing it on no sleep. Meghan did not factor that in at all, and was very bossy and demanding of Kate, the little girls and the staff.
The source adds, “Kate’s always been very careful about how she speaks to their staffers and seeing Meghan acting like a Hollywood diva towards everyone was all too much. She’s mortified to have burst into tears over it and has never quite forgiven Meghan.”
And apparently Kate’s not the only one taken aback by Meghan’s brash demeanour, which has allegedly seen her nicknamed “Meghan the Menace” by courtiers who are appalled at her disregard for protocol, including her 5am text messages to employees.
After the departure of three of her and Harry’s assistants in the past five months, a spy tells, “Staff are dropping like flies due to their hectic and demanding schedules. There are even whispers that working for Meghan is like a scene from The Devil Wears Prada. Her diva demands are rubbing certain family members and employees the wrong way.” Yet Harry has supported his wife the whole way, telling staff, “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.” It’s something that has left the Queen unamused, with Her Majesty forced to step in to stop the duchess wearing an inappropriate tiara for the royal wedding.
And William isn’t impressed by Harry’s behaviour either, with one aide saying that the redheaded royal has become “rather dictatorial” since meeting Meghan and this is one of the reasons the brothers’ courts are set to split.
This is confirmed by a source close to William, who describes Harry as having become “difficult and assertive” in the past year, adding, “This has incensed William, who was seen as head of their joint household. Rumour has that he’s the one who suggested Meghan and Harry consider moving to Frogmore Cottage at Windsor, rather than into the space next door at Kensington, even though that was the original plan.”
A mutual friend of the princes adds, “The idea of them as ‘the boys’, the brothers doing everything together and living in each other’s pockets, has been pushed with good intentions but hasn’t really existed for some time. There has been a stepping back.”
Already, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, as well as Zara Tindall, have taken Kate’s side, upset that Meghan is pushing their beloved cousin Harry away from the family. Eugenie is especially wounded by the fact he and Meghan skipped her wedding reception to arrive early in Australia for their South Pacific tour.
However, the Queen and Charles have both formed strong bonds with Meghan, as witnessed by the Prince of Wales walking his daughterin-law down the aisle in May. They’ve reportedly given the new duchess some leeway when it comes to the royal rulebook, acknowledging it takes time to get used to the pecking order and allowing the biracial beauty to bask in the limelight more than her sister-in-law ever did.
Our insider says, “They’ve shown some favour towards her, which has been extremely
hurtful to Kate given how loyal she’s been to the family. She feels like she’s been pushed out by Meghan.”
In response, while the new duchess has been upping the glamour factor, ignoring dress codes with her designer gowns, Kate has made an effort to look more regal, sporting a notably more sombre wardrobe of late.
A longtime friend of Kate’s tells us, “She’s happy that Harry has found love and, in some ways, she’s pleased to have Meghan sharing the spotlight as it takes the pressure off her. But Kate is slightly envious that Meghan always looks so amazing and effortlessly sexy. Kate still regards herself as something of a frumpy schoolgirl.”
The pal acknowledges the two duchesses “don’t have much of a friendship”, adding that “Kate has found it a little bit difficult getting used to having Meghan around” because she shared such a close bond with Harry until the actress arrived on the scene.
“The biggest adjustment for Kate is not seeing Harry much. He used to pop round for a chat and grab a beer from the fridge. But now she’ll go weeks without speaking to him, and he and William seem to have drifted apart.
“It’s difficult because Harry’s married and has a baby on the way, and she doesn’t want to be seen as interfering. But she misses having Harry around, and it’s going to get worse when he and Meghan move.”
In an effort to smooth things over, Kate and William reportedly invited Harry and Meghan along on a trip to Mustique with the Middleton family early next year, but the newlyweds politely declined, claiming they had other plans.
“The next few months and how they navigate through this is going to be crucial for not only the couples, but for the family as a whole,” concludes our palace insider. “But one thing’s for sure – they’re going to continue plastering on smiles in public and doing everything they can to put on a united display in a desperate bid to soften the rumour mill.”
While Meghan continues to dress in modern frocks and higher hemlines, Kate keeps it classy in designs befitting her royal position.
The fab four put on a united front (far left) at an RAF event in July and (left) for a Remembrance Day service at Westminster Abbey.
THE RIFT IS TOO BIG! Kate gives Meghan the cold shoulder at Trooping the Colour in June. Now mutual pal Mischa (far left), the Queen and Prince Charles (below inset) are trying to calm the situation.