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Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Really Feuding?

A look inside the widespread rumors about the royal in-laws.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / KARWAI TANG
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Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle really feuding? Do they speak to each other—do they hate each other? Has the relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry broken down completely? What’s really going on?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked these questions since discussion of this so-called feud began just over a week ago. I’ve been asked by friends, by family, by people I barely know, and by some I’ve only just met.

I’m not surprised people want to know the truth (well, some do—others just want to be entertained with the what ifs) but if I have learned one thing in covering the Royal Family for eight years, it is that getting to the bottom of anything that goes on behind closed Palace doors is a big challenge.


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace last July to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

What often starts as a nugget of information in one story (in this particular case, the suggestion in The Sun that there has been “tension” between the royal brothers as they broke the story that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor) is instantly multiplied as the same information is repeated again and again. Now people are paying attention so news organizations try to find out more. Enter the feature writers with the gift of composing 1,500 beautifully crafted words dancing around a theme.

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How many of us live next to, socialize, and work with our brothers and sisters-in-law well into our 30s?

The gaps are filled by the comment writers, some expressing outrage at the reporting of the very information they are amplifying. Finally, come the stories about the story itself; the stories by the media about the media and how it is creating a “storm." Eventually, many members of the public will conclude that “there’s no smoke without fire,” citing the volume of coverage as a reason it must be true.

There is rarely any comment from the royals themselves, though in this case, Kensington Palace was moved a couple of days ago to deny a report about Kate telling off Meghan about how she had spoken to the Duchess of Cambridge's staff. They have largely remained silent on other stories.

I can understand why the public finds it so hard to know what to believe—and why many choose not to believe anything.

However, here’s the paradox: Often with royal reporting, if something sticks, it’s for a reason. Kensington Palace is not a leaky place these days so reporters often start off with scraps of information, sometimes coupled with their intuition. As such, details may sometimes be debatable, but, usually, if the narrative sticks around, something about the gist of it is right.

The Royal Family may not be ordinary, but the people in it are human.

How many of us live next to, socialize, and work with our brothers and sisters-in-law well in our 30s? Some perhaps, but not most of us. And those of us who do can probably attest to a few arguments along the way.

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Will, Harry, Kate, and Meghan in November 2018

Over the last seven years, we have become accustomed to seeing Harry, Will, and Kate as the Three Musketeers. Harry attended event after event with William and Kate that we have developed a false sense that this is how things should be. Had William and Harry met their respective partners at the same time this might not have happened, but his years of being single while William was married with children has meant Harry tagged along with them instead of turning up at events all by himself.

The idea that anyone Prince Harry married would just slot right in, making three a cozy four, and things would carry on exactly as before was always a little unrealistic.

Palace aides say the reason for the move away from Kensington Palace is logistical, but Harry and Meghan wanting to strike out on their own is surely a normal part of any family life. As for disagreements, there undoubtedly have been some. Many people would agree that this, too, is part of family life, particularly when change occurs. (Not to mention the conflict-prone process of planning a large family wedding.)

Meghan had 34 years to cultivate a strong sense of who she is and what she believes in before she became swept up into Harry’s world and all that comes with being a royal girlfriend. Before marrying him she moved countries, gave up her career and committed herself to a life of duty in the public eye. Kate also made the same commitment, but many would argue that adjusting in your early 20s is different to rethinking your world—and moving permanently to a new country—in your mid-30s.

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Kate and Meghan at Wimbledon

Comparisons between the two women were inevitable from the beginning, and many may ask why the focus is so often on the dynamic between Meghan and Kate and not the brothers. Is it because new relationships are inherently more interesting than the established ones? If so, then why are we not all talking as much about how Meghan gets on with William?

The age-old narrative of female rivalry may prove irresistible for some, but I don't believe that is what's at play here. Rivalry is the last thing on the agenda for these two women, who are at very different places in their royal lives and have very different destinies. Kate’s open, natural response of delight when asked about Meghan’s pregnancy last week tells us that any disagreements are far from deep-rooted.

In hindsight, one of the most illuminating moments for observers of the William-Kate-Harry-and-Meghan dynamic came when the foursome was carrying out their first official engagement together at the Royal Foundation Forum in February.


Harry, Meghan, Kate, and Will at the Royal Foundation Forum in February 2018

Host Tina Daheley asked them “Do you ever have disagreements about things?” Cue laughter. Meghan looks down, Kate fiddles with her hair and William says: “Oh yes.”

I’m no body language expert but I don’t need to be because William says it himself—yes they do. Yes, they have. Yet there they were, all four of them, sitting together on a stage, laughing together and working together.

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“The last thing you disagreed on, how did you resolve it?” Daheley presses in an interview style that seems a lot bolder now than it did at the time.

“Is it resolved? We don’t know!” William said.

Sometimes the best answer is the one that was there all along.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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