Rumours have long swirled of a row between the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle at the former actress’ wedding to Prince Harry two years ago, in May 2018.
Then, society bible Tatler claimed the spat centred on whether Princess Charlotte and the other young bridesmaids should wear tights.
In a profile of Kate, 38, titled Catherine the Great, it quotes one unnamed friend who claims she wanted to follow ‘protocol’, with the bridesmaids, including Charlotte, then three, wearing tights – but Meghan disagreed.
Pictures from the wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, appear to show the six bridesmaids with bare legs, while photographs from Prince William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011 show bridesmaids wearing tights.
However, Kensington Palace distanced itself from the lengthy article and said: ‘This story contains a swathe of inaccuracies and false misrepresentations which were not put to Kensington Palace prior to publication.’
Royal reporter Katie Nicholl claimed sources close to the brothers said they had a falling out around Christmas 2017, when Harry reportedly told William he wasn’t making enough of an effort to include Meghan in The Firm.
‘Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so,’ her source claimed. ‘They had a bit of a fall-out, which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort.
‘That’s when the Cambridges invited the Sussexes to spend Christmas with them.’
In a TLC documentary – Kate v. Meghan: Princesses at War, Katie Nicholl said Harry had taken offence to a comment William made about his relationship with Meghan.
‘William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly,’ she said. ‘And being close to Harry, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, “This seems to be moving quickly, are you sure?”
‘I think what was meant as well-intended brotherly advice just riled Harry. Harry is hugely protective of Meghan. He saw that as criticism. He interpreted that as his brother not really being behind this marriage, this union, and I don’t think things have been quite right ever since.’
In the same documentary, royal correspondent Emily Andrews claimed Harry ‘went ballistic’ and accused William of ‘trying to wreck this relationship before it’s even started’.
Royal filmmaker Nick Bullen told Fox News that there was never a feud between Kate and Meghan – instead, ‘William and Harry have had a rift’.
‘All brothers fall out. All families fall out. Their fall-out at the moment is becoming public,’ he said.
Prince Harry attended an Easter service at St George’s Chapel – which happened to fall on the Queen’s birthday. He arrived alone alongside Peter Philips and his then wife Autumn.
While he was seen chatting to his cousin Zara Tindall and Kate, he didn’t appear to speak to William.
Following the Easter service, Kate allegedly advised Harry to offer William ‘an olive branch’ to repair their fractured relationship and the ‘complete and utter breakdown of communication’ between them, The Mirror reported.
It was her suggestion that led the Sussexes to invite the Cambridges to Frogmore Cottage, where they had tea and chatted for half an hour.
Meghan and Harry officially split from The Royal Foundation – the joint charity they shared with William and Kate.
An official statement read: ‘The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex has today announced the conclusions of a review into its structure, and how it will best support Their Royal Highnesses with future charitable activity.
‘Later this year, The Royal Foundation will become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will establish their own new charitable foundation with transitional operating support from The Royal Foundation. In addition, both couples will continue to work together on projects in the future, including on The Foundation’s mental health program, Heads Together.’
Prince William and Kate attended Archie’s Christening and posed for a group photo. However, a source told Us Weekly that the Cambridges ‘weren’t happy’ about the Sussexes’ decision to keep the celebration private.
They reportedly said: ‘William thinks his brother is going overboard keeping Archie out of the spotlight’ and ‘blames Meghan’.
But in the same month, it appeared that Meghan and Kate were today determined to put feud rumours to bed with a truce at the tennis.
The pair seemed to be getting on famously as they chatted and smiled in the Royal Box, after taking their seats to watch Meghan’s good friend Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
In an ITV documentary, Prince Harry refused to deny there was a rift between him and his brother.
Speaking to Tom Bradby in Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Harry said: ‘Part of this role and part of this job, and this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably, you know, stuff happens.
‘But look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. And we’re certainly on different paths at the moment, but I’ll always be there for him, as I know he’ll always be there for me.’
He added: ‘We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy, but you know, I love him dearly. The majority of this stuff [in the press] is created out of nothing, but you know, as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.’
The Sussexes announced they would be spending Christmas with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, rather than at Sandringham with the Queen. While the decision was said to have the monarch’s support, one source told Us Weekly that the ‘rift’ between William and Harry was ‘one of the main reasons behind their decision’.
Meanwhile a source told People: ‘William is the future king. There is going to be some competitiveness between him and Harry… That already puts a rock in the relationship.’
Tom Bradby told Good Morning Britain that the brothers are hoping to rebuild their relationship. He said: ‘There are lots of people who would love there to be, including, I think, the brothers themselves, love them to be closer again. And with any luck, that will happen. But with families, we all know stuff happens, things are said.’
But later that month, Harry and Meghan announced they were quitting as senior members of the Royal Family, which ‘blindsided’ William, according to an Us Weekly source.
However, a royal source told The Sun that, following the official Sandringham summit, William and Harry ‘spent time together privately’ to ‘work on their relationship and discuss their future’.
‘It has been groundbreaking in terms of saving their bond as brothers and has been totally driven by them,’ the source added.
‘But Kate and Meghan, who was in Canada, did join in with some of the talks on more than one occasion – which is another sign of a real thaw in their relationship. Things are better.’
The Commonwealth Day service – Meghan and Harry’s final official engagement – was ‘not exactly the warm reunion we were hoping for’, according to body language expert Judi James.
She said Harry’s ‘tension was palpable’ as William seemingly failed to greet his brother.
Towards the end of the month, when the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Dailymail.com reported that Meghan had confided in friends that her husband felt ‘helpless’ and was ‘concerned’ about the Queen and his father Prince Charles catching coronavirus.
The friend added: ‘Meghan told her inner circle of friends that Harry has been communicating with Prince William and the Queen on a pretty consistent basis.
‘She said this world crisis has actually brought them all closer together, especially Harry and his brother.
‘Harry has made it very clear to them that he will do whatever he can to help from Canada. Meghan said they are grateful, especially Harry, that they could spend time with his family before all this insanity began.’