The Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle, and the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, don’t particularly like each other. There, I said it.
This week many royal correspondents and commentators — the vast majority in the pocket of the PR teams for the royal households — tap-danced and tiptoed around the thorny issue, The Sun’s Dan Wootton writes.
But, as loyal readers know, I prefer to tell it straight and simply report the facts as they are, which is why I was the first to reveal this very royal feud.
On November 9, in an exclusive that was much discussed by royal watchers internationally, I reported that the fed up Queen (God bless her) warned Prince Harry over Meghan’s behaviour before their wedding.
The awkward conversation had been sparked by a dust up about which tiara Meghan wanted to wear on her big day. It prompted the monarch to tell her beloved grandson: “Meghan cannot have whatever she wants.”
The second revelation in the story was about a row between Meghan and Kate over an issue close to the heart of most royals: The treatment of their staff.
An impeccable royal insider told me: “Meghan can be difficult. She has very high standards and is used to working in a Hollywood environment.
“However, there’s a different degree of respect in the royal household and Kate has always been very careful about how she has acted around staff.”
In further conversations … I’ve learned Kate was particularly furious about the way Meghan had specifically spoken to members of the Cambridge’s staff.
The source explained: “Her and Kate fell out when she b*****ked Kate’s staff. Kate said, “That’s unacceptable, they’re my staff and I speak to them.’”
In that context you can understand why the revelation that Meghan’s assistant Melissa Touabti, who had previously worked for Robbie Williams and Ayda Field, had quit after just six months was a touch awkward.
But the further revelation this week in the royal-friendly Daily Telegraph UK that Meghan made Kate cry during Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting was monumentally bad PR.
All that said, are you meant to adore your sister-in-law? Not really. Does this row mean I am pointing the finger at Meghan for being a diva? Absolutely not.
In fact, there’s something exciting about a bold American newcomer to the family being anything other than shy and retiring. If any family needs shaking up, it’s the Windsor’s.
Just look at the impact of Princess Diana — who was also branded a diva and
difficult — in the Eighties. She reinvented the royals for ever.
The disagreement over staff tells us everything we need to know about why Meghan and Kate don’t get on — their backgrounds and how they ended up as princesses could not be more different.
Kate was devoted to Wills from the moment they met at St Andrew’s uni and wanted more than anything to be accepted into the royal family, even though she wasn’t from blue blood.
Her family supported her — there were no messy feuds and few embarrassing incidents.
Besides the time Kate went out in a slightly risqué outfit during her brief break from William, it’s been close to a royal fairytale on the surface.
And Kate never lived an adult life as anything other than a likely future royal. The same cannot be said for Meghan, whose journey into British royalty would have seemed farcical if it had been penned by a Hollywood writer.
A highly ambitious young actress with a messy family background, who posed in skimpy dresses on the American version of Deal or No Deal and shared her intimate thoughts in a secret Hollywood blog, is set up with her British prince who falls head over heels.
By contrast, Meghan was 36 by the time she officially became a royal — unfathomably the same age that Diana died.
She was a star in her own right. She had lived through one failed marriage. She worked on her own charity projects. And her eccentric family were not going to shut up and fall into line.
Meghan was never going to be the compliant princess like her sister-in-law and nor should she be. But somewhat obviously, the pair were never bosom buddies and their relationship hardened as Meghan expected Hollywood standards from the relatively down-to-Earth royal household.
Meghan soon realised she didn’t want to follow the benchmark set by Kate in terms of her duties and life, contributing to the decision to set-up their first family home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, rather than next door to the Cambridge’s.
Let’s not let the women take all the heat in this situation because Wills and Harry themselves have engaged in their own behind-the-scenes battle.
Particularly telling was the revelation by Prince Charles’ biographer Robert Jobson that William had purposely shown off his new buzz cut in order to push Harry and Meghan off the front page during their high profile first visit to Wales earlier this year. It worked.
Does this friction mean the royal Fab Four is forever over? No. This family is the best at papering over cracks in very awkward relationships to put their best foot forward in public — just look at Prince Charles and his prickly brother Prince Edward.
But have no doubt Meghan and Harry have ambitions to change the world — and don’t want to be limited by the constraints William has as the second-in-line to throne.
The drama over the next few years will be better than any episode of Suits.