Tensions between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle emerged early on in their relationship in an ominous sign of the split that has engulfed the Royal Family.
Reports of a supposed rift between the sister-in-laws have circulated for years, with the Duchess of Sussex claiming to Oprah Winfrey in March that she was left in "tears" by a comment Kate made before marrying Harry.
Now, in a new programme to mark Meghan's 40th birthday, royal expert Emily Andrews suggested the former Suits actress had hoped for a strong bond with her counterpart – but cracks soon showed.
“Here were two women, both outsiders, marrying into the Royal Family, living on the same complex at Kensington Palace – of course they’d be besties,” she claimed on Channel 5's Meghan at 40.
"And actually, that’s what Meghan felt. She confided in a number of her friends that she hoped Kate would help her adjust to royal life, but the cracks started to show pretty early on.
"Behind the scenes, Meghan was feeling a bit rebuffed. I’m not sure whether Kate ever realised.
“William had said to Harry before they got engaged: ‘No need to rush this. You’ve got all the time in the world. You don’t know her that well,’ and I think that set the seeds.”
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The duchesses first met at Kensington Palace in early 2017, but by the next year the rumours of a split had already started to emerge.
Author Tom Quinn said: “Meghan and Kate initially got on very well but they are very, very different.
“Kate wants to do things quietly, she wants to obey the rules, she takes advice – Meghan is a much more strident character who wanted to do things her way, so this caused a rift.”
By October 2018, after Harry and Meghan's tour of the South Pacific, the couples decided to split their royal households and the Sussexes moved out of Kensington Palace. They also set up their own charitable foundation after leaving the joint Royal Foundation they’d been part of with William and Kate.
Relations became further strained in the run-up to Harry and Meghan’s wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
At the time, it was rumoured that Meghan had made Kate cry in a row about flower-girl dresses – but Meghan sensationally claimed in her Oprah Winfrey interview earlier this year that the opposite had happened, and that she had been reduced to tears by Kate.
In the Oprah interview, Meghan said: “The issue was correct about flower-girl dresses, and it made me cry and it really hurt my feelings, and I thought in the context of everything else that was going on in those days leading to the wedding that it didn’t make sense to not be just doing what everyone else was doing, which was try to be supportive, knowing what was going on with my dad and whatnot.”
She added: “I don’t think it’s fair to [Kate] to get into the details of that because she apologised and I’ve forgiven her.”
The allegedly broken relationship between the Cambridges and the Sussexes shows no sign of being mended in the foreseeable future.
William and Harry have been reunited a couple of times this year – at Prince Philip’s funeral and then again during the unveiling of a statue to their mum, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace on what would have been her 60th birthday.
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