Kate and Meghan at war

In­side the bit­ter feud that’s tear­ing the princes apart

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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.

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