Images have emerged of Meghan Markle visiting a second women’s charity in Canada yesterday, as Prince Harry prepares to return to royal duties to conduct the Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace this morning.
It comes as Harry’s friends expressed concern after he ‘cut off’ contact with them while Meghan was pregnant, with many ‘no longer having his phone number’, according to People Magazine in the US.
The Duke of Sussex stopped contacting many of his old friends some six months into his wife’s pregnancy, creating a feeling of ‘resentment’ among the group, a royal source has claimed.
However, he is believed to still be in touch with Charlie van Straubenzee, his old prep school companion and now godfather to his son, Archie, and they both attended each other’s weddings just months apart in 2018.
New photos of a beaming Meghan visiting the Justice for Girls group in Canada yesterday have been posted online, where she discussed climate justice for women and the rights of Indigenous people. The Duchess of Sussex previously visited the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center in Vancouver on the same day.
According to the website of Justice for Girls, climate change is an ‘urgent human rights matter’ that it says disproportionately affects girls, particularly Indigenous girls.
The group adds that climate change is a threat to the lives and cultural rights of these girls and the charity is campaigning to stop the continued use and development of fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, another source told People magazine that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex felt they had to step back from their official roles because of ‘bad blood’ in the Royal Family.
A friend of the couple said their decision to stand down as senior royals became ‘inevitable’ as they felt increasingly ostracised.
They say Meghan was also hurt by ‘negative press’ and what she considered was her ‘outsider status as a bi-racial American’.
The source spoke to the US magazine, which has also previously run a story defending Meghan which it said came from five of her close friends.
Meghan Markle visiting the Justice for Girls group in Canada yesterday, after she was previously seen visiting another women’s rights group in Vancouver
The Duchess of Sussex enjoys coffee and makes notes as she meets with the Justice for Girls group in Canada yesterday
The Duchess also made a surprise visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center in Vancouver yesterday to ‘offer support’ and to ‘boost the staff’s spirits’
Earlier, it was revealed Harry will not be flying back to join Meghan and Archie in Canada just yet, as he continues to thrash out the details of the ‘Megxit’ deal after it was confirmed the Sussexes would be stepping down as senior royals.
But Harry broke cover for the first time last night in a video on the ‘Sussex Royal’ Instagram page to reveal the power his Invictus Games had to ‘heal families’ after the Queen confirmed the split in the Royal Family on Monday.
Meghan was also spotted on Tuesday, making a surprise visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center in Vancouver to ‘offer support’ and to ‘boost the staff’s spirits’. She was later spotted at a second event with the Justice For Girls group.
Meanwhile, Prince William spoke yesterday about accepting ‘challenges’ and the ‘need to move forward’ as he and Kate made a spirited first appearance since Harry and Meghan’s decision to quit.
The Duke of Cambridge was speaking to Near Neighbours – a group which brings together people of different religions and ethnicities – and said: ‘It’s sometimes trying to get people to understand that’s it’s OK to have these challenges.
‘We just need to deal with them and we need to move forward rather than just be stuck in paralysis and pretend they don’t happen, which is no good.’
The split in the family and a breakdown in his relationship with brother William have led to concern for Harry, with the US People Magazine report now suggesting that some of his friendships have also soured.
Prince Harry released a video on the ‘Sussex Royal’ Instagram to reveal the power his Invictus Games had to ‘heal families’, just days after he and Meghan announced they were leaving their roles as senior royals. He is understood to be remaining in the UK until at least early next week to meet with officials to help thrash out the details
The release of the video comes as a source told People Magazine in the US that Harry had lost contact with many of his old friends
‘Most no longer even have his cell number,’ the unnamed source said. ‘They totally understand that men often drift from their friends after marriage, but there’s still a lot of resentment because they had been so close for so long.’
Discussing their split from the royal family, another source told the magazine: ‘This is not how they wanted to handle this but Meghan and Harry’s hand was forced,’ the magazine quoted a friend as saying yesterday. There is so much bad blood in that family – it’s toxic. If relationships had been better, things would have been different.’
The friend gives credence to the claim that Harry was offended by his elder brother William warning him about moving too fast in his relationship with actress Meghan.
The source added: ‘Meghan and Harry didn’t feel they got enough comfort or solace from them [the royals].’
Previous reports have emerged over recent years that suggest Harry and Meghan have slowly weakened ties with the prince’s old crowd of drinking buddies as they drew closer to the likes of Serena Williams and George and Amal Clooney.
An article published in the May 2019 issue of Tatler magazine claimed Harry had ‘banished’ childhood friend Mr Inskip, affectionately known as ‘Skippy’.
The article stated: ‘Hang out with the Clooney/Beckham/Soho House set and be assailed for being too Hollywood, for forcing your hen-pecked husband to abandon his old, country-set muckers – including Tom “Skippy” Inskip, the ultra-loyal, tight-lipped Harry pal, who, it’s said, advised Harry not to marry Meghan and has paid the price: banishment.’
A separate report in the Daily Express in October 2018 claimed that Mr Inksip, along with PR guru Astrid Harbord, another former friend of Harry, had been ‘airbrushed out’.
Prince William spoke about ‘challenges’ and the ‘need to move forward’ during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first joint engagement since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit as senior royals
The Duke of Cambridge was speaking to Near Neighbours – a group which brings together people of different religions and ethnicities – and said: ‘It’s sometimes trying to get people to understand that’s it’s OK to have these challenges (pictured: Kate looks lovingly at William as they help make Kulfi milkshakes at MyLahores flagship restaurant in Bradford)
Kate is handed white roses in Centenary Square in Bradford today as crowds went wild for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today
William used a blender to make some traditional drinks while his wife laughs uproariously at his expense
Kate was giggling as she helped make kulfi milkshakes at MyLahore restaurant, which has taken inspiration from Lahore, considered the food capital of Pakistan
The article stated: ‘Like several others who were considered a questionable influence on Harry during his bad old bachelor days, Tom has been dropped, even though he himself now has a lovely wife, Lara.’
Banker Mr Inskip, who knows Harry from Eton, was with the prince during his infamous trip to Las Vegas in 2012, when the prince was photographed naked during a game of ‘strip billiards’.
Tom also partied with Harry during a trip to Croatia the previous year, when they were photographed jumping into a pool fully-clothed at a nightclub.
The source added to the Express: ‘It’s all part of Meghan’s quiet airbrushing out of Harry’s old posse. She doesn’t want temptation – of any sort – being put in his way while they concentrate on starting a family.’
Other rumours suggest Harry has drawn away from nightclub entrepreneur Guy Pelly, who is Prince Louis’ godfather.
However both men were invited to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in May 2018, attending with their wives.
Prince Harry had a key role at Tom’s wedding in Jamaica in 2017, which marked one of Meghan’s first appearances with the royal in public.
The Duke of Sussex’s relationship with Prince William is also believed to be at an ‘all-time low’, according to sources.
Meghan is seen for the first time since ‘Megxit’ in Vancouver on Tuesday boarding a sea plane. There was speculation Meghan was barred from dialling in on Monday’s Sandringham summit for security reasons, however Palace sources have said the Sussexes thought ‘it wasn’t necessary for the duchess to join’
Rumours of strife between the brothers circled for much of last year, before Harry finally addressed them in his and Meghan’s ITV documentary with journalist Tom Bradby.
Asked to comment on rumours of a rift, Harry said: ‘Part of this role, part of this job and this family being under the pressure it is under, inevitably stuff happens.
‘But look, we are brothers, we will always be brothers. We are certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him and, as I know, he will always be there for me.’
He added: ‘We don’t see as much as we used to because we are so busy but I love him dearly and the majority of stuff is created out of nothing. As brothers, you have good days, you have bad days.’
The Duke of Cambridge has also spoken of his sadness at the broken bond with Harry. ‘I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,’ he told a friend according to The Sunday Times.
‘I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the same team.’
Meghan, 38, meanwhile, is regularly seen meeting her old friends, including longtime companion Jessica Mulroney, whose three children served as page boys and a flower girl at her wedding.
Mulroney also reportedly babysat Archie in Canada while Harry and Meghan returned to London to discuss their decision to step back from their senior royal positions.
A 2018 report suggested that PR guru Astrid Harbord, a former friend of the prince had been ‘airbrushed out’ of the royal’s life. Pictured, Astrid at the Cartier Queen’s Cup Polo Final 2019
Other rumours suggest Harry has drawn away from nightclub entrepreneur Guy Pelly, who is Prince Louis’ godfather. However Mr Pelly also attended the royal wedding with his wife
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have invested time into their friends in North America, including actress Abigail Spencer, whom they spent time with over their winter sabbatical. Pictured, Abigail with actress Priyanka Chopra at the Sussexes’ wedding in May 2018
Meghan’s Suits co-star Abigail Spencer has also recently spent time with the couple, having been spotted with them during a New Year’s Day hike in Canada.
As the Sussexes move forward with their plan to split time between Britain and Canada, both Mulroney and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland are expected to play a more active role in raising Archie.
Harry broke cover for the first time after the Queen announced she would be allowing him and Meghan to quit the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex posted a video about the Invictus Games today to announce that the ‘story continues’ with Dusseldorf in Germany hosting his charity sports competition for wounded veterans in 2022.
Harry’s appearance follows the first sighting of Meghan since the crisis talks at Sandringham on Monday. The Duchess, who was absent from the meeting, was seen smiling as she boarded a sea plane on Vancouver Island in Canada yesterday.
On Monday, the Queen revealed in a deeply personal statement that she had agreed for Harry and Meghan to begin a ‘new life’ as an ‘independent’ family, a move which Meghan is understood to have pushed for just 20 months after their wedding.
Prince Harry is expected to remain in the UK into early next week to hammer out the details of this unprecedented arrangement with officials at Buckingham Palace before heading back to join Meghan and Archie in Canada.
Prince Harry is also facing rumours of strife between him and his brother Prince William – something he didn’t deny in an interview with ITV journalist Tom Brady
Ahead of the Sandringham summit it was reported that Prince Harry and his wife had feld ‘bullied’ by Prince William, a claim which was strenuously denied by the brothers in a joint statement (pictured: the Sussexes and the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in 2018)
Tomorrow the Duke of Sussex will appear for perhaps the final time as a fully fledged royal when he hosts the draws for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup from the palace.
The Queen is said to have pressed for her officials find a solution within days, however, royal experts say it will take far longer.
‘These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.’ Her Majesty wrote in her statement.
The extraordinary meeting convened by the Queen was attended by Prince Charles and Prince William, while Meghan was in Canada with Archie.
There was speculation she had been barred from dialling in on the meeting from Vancouver for security reasons, however Palace sources have said the Sussexes thought ‘it wasn’t necessary for the duchess to join.’
Following the summit, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Sussexes were to have a ‘transition period’ and split their time between the UK and Canada.
It is not clear how long this period will last, not least because of the complexities involved in their living ‘independent’ of the public purse.
The security bill alone for the Sussexes is estimated at around £1million per annum, meanwhile Harry is thought to draw a salary somewhere in the region of £2.3million each year from his father’s estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
The estranged father of the Duchess of Sussex is expected to be called as a key witness for the defence in a court case she has brought against a newspaper (pictured: Meghan Markle as a youngster, with her father Thomas Markle)
Samantha Markle, who is Thomas Markle’s daughter from his first marriage, is pictured on US TV show Inside Edition on January 9. She said of Mr Markle today: ‘If he is called, he will come’
It also emerged yesterday that Meghan’s father could be a ‘star witness’ when the Duchess takes on Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, at the High Court.
Today Meghan’s half-sister Samantha said their father Thomas was ready for what has been dubbed ‘the trial of the century.’
Samantha Markle, 55, who is Mr Markle’s daughter from his first marriage, told the BBC: ‘If he is called, he will come.’
It comes after defence papers revealed yesterday that Associated Newspapers, the Mail on Sunday’s publisher, could call Mr Markle, 75, as its star witness.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers for publishing a letter she wrote to her father in August 2018 in which chastised him for speaking to the press and how he had ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.
Ms Markle has previously been highly critical in interviews about Meghan’s character, including calling her a ‘social climber with a soft spot for gingers’.
And last week she branded Meghan and Harry’s decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family as a ‘slap in the face’.
Mr Markle has given lawyers previously unseen text messages sent in the build-up to Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry that reveal the breakdown of the relationship between father and daughter.