Kate & Meghan: FAKING IT FOR THE CAMERAS?
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle put on a united front for Christmas, but not everyone is buying it
They laughed. They chatted amicably. At one point, Meghan Markle even gave sister-in-law Kate Middleton a friendly pat on the back as they walked from Sandringham, the royal residence in Norfolk, to St. Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day, where a crowd of spectators gathered to watch their interaction amid rumors of a bitter feud. But the uncharacteristic public displays of affection were mostly intended for one person: Queen Elizabeth II, who (not-socoincidentally) issued a call for unity in her televised Christmas address that very same day. “Even with the most deeply held differences,” the monarch lectured, “treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.” But the competitive duchesses’ behavior wasn’t so much a first step toward understanding as a shrewd move. “The pair could’ve won an Oscar for their performance — they know full well how to put on a happy front for the cameras when it’s a completely different story behind closed doors,” says an insider, noting that Kate, 36, and Meghan, 37, wanted to appease their 92-year-old grandmother-in-law following a slew of December reports of their frosty relationship, stemming from a supposed argument before Meghan’s May wedding that left Kate in tears. “The queen has reached her limit over all the drama,” says the insider. “She desperately wants them to make up — and grow up!”
Both women had been dreading spending the holidays together. But the three days away in Norfolk weren’t as bad as either had feared — especially since they weren’t sleeping in the same quarters. While Kate, Prince William, 36, and their three kids, George, 5, Charlotte, 3, and 8-month-old Louis, stayed at their extensively remodeled manor on the Sandringham Estate, Anmer Hall, they didn’t invite Prince Harry, 34, and pregnant Meghan to stay with them as they did last year. Instead, the newlyweds bunked in the cramped quarters of the queen’s main house. “It allowed both couples to have some breathing space,” says the insider. “However, there was no escaping each other during the day when all the royals gathered under one roof to celebrate the festivities.” In those moments, Meghan and Kate had to grin and bear it. “All hell would’ve broken loose if they’d caused a scene or were caught giving death stares at each other,” says another source. “They were forced to make polite conversation.” But bad blood still boils beneath the surface. “They’re complete opposites,” says the insider, noting that reserved, people-pleaser Kate still bristles at the outspoken American actress’ attention-seeking ways and diva attitude. “There will always be some form of competition between the two of them.”