Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton's relationship "struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met."
Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's new book, Finding Freedom, details what familial relations between the Cambridges and Sussexes were really like.
Meghan and Kate are described as having a "cordial but distant rapport."
BAZAAR's Royal Editor at Large, Omid Scobie, has co-authored a book with fellow royal correspondent, Carolyn Durand, called Finding Freedom. This weekend, The Times is sharing excerpts from the forthcoming publication, which delves into the true story behind Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's departure from the royal family.
In the first extract, Meghan's friendship with Kate Middleton is touched upon. While a plethora of news reports have previously mused on whether there was friction between the fellow duchesses, Finding Freedom reveals the extent of their relationship.
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Per Scobie and Durand, "The two duchesses’ relationship had struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met. Their cordial but distant rapport was apparent when the pair appeared alongside each other at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day the previous summer." Royal fans likely remember the photos of the pair being released, with Duchess Meghan and baby Archie seemingly staying fairly separate from Duchess Kate and her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Scobie and Durand continued, "While the doting mothers were photographed next to each other with their children, the two appeared to barely exchange a word." But, importantly, the royal experts revealed that any distance between Kate and Meghan was indicative of a larger issue within the royal family, and not a feud between the two women.
An excerpt from Finding Freedom continued, "The state of affairs between the two women was just an offshoot of the real issue at hand: the conflict between Harry and the institution."
It's also important to note that there was a seemingly frosty interaction between the two couples at the Commonwealth Day Service, when Meghan and Harry returned to England in March to wrap up their royal duties. And according to Scobie and Durand, there was much going on behind-the-scenes that onlookers weren't aware of.
Per the royal correspondents, "Although they had been part of the procession of senior royals who entered the church with the Queen in previous years, this year they discovered they had been removed from the line-up. The decision had been made without their consultation, and they were informed long after the 2,000 orders of service had been printed for guests, with their names notably absent."
The excerpt continued, "This year it would just be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall walking through the abbey with the Queen. It felt intentional." And as for the awkward interaction between the Sussexes and Cambridges when Kate and William took their seats in front of Meghan and Harry, relations became even more strained.
Per Finding Freedom, "To smooth things over, the Cambridges agreed to take their seats at the same time as the Sussexes and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. But if looks were anything to go by, the Cambridges were unhappy with the decision. While Harry and Meghan both greeted William and Kate with smiles, the Cambridges showed little response."
"It was the first time the two couples had seen each other since January. 'Harry,' William nodded, ignoring Meghan," Scobie and Durand continued. "For the minutes before the Queen’s arrival, William and Kate sat with their backs to the couple, only turning around to chat with Prince Edward and Sophie, next to the Sussexes. Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her." Sadly, it would seem that relations between the two couples had fallen into disrepair.
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