As we’ve known for months now, the real problem was never really between the Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge. I think they probably did rub each other the wrong way when they first met, and I also think Kate was shocked and surprised by how quickly Meghan was assimilated into the royal family, just as Kate and William were both surprised by how quickly Meghan was embraced by the general public. But beyond that, the beef was always between the brothers and Kate and Meghan have spent months doing the heavy lifting of keeping up appearances and trying to show the world that get along. They don’t have to be BFFs or sisters – they are work colleagues and that’s how they should view each other, and that’s fine. All they have to do is get along well enough for family gatherings and joint appearances. But People Magazine still wants the story to be that Kate and Meghan are getting closer and there’s a BFF-situation on the way:
Just one year ago, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton were in dramatically different places in their lives. As Meghan navigated her new royal world, Kate juggled the demands of three young children. Now they both share in the bond of motherhood — and their connection is putting reports of a royal rift behind them.
“There is a sense of [Meghan and Kate’s] relationship strengthening,” a royal source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. Attending Wimbledon together last weekend, Meghan and Kate “were genuine and sweet together,” says an insider. When Meghan’s friend Serena Williams lost the match, “Kate put her hand out and rubbed Meghan’s back to console her,” says a close observer.
“It illustrated a warm relationship between these women who have young babies and are in similar situations in their lives,” says royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, whose father Dickie Arbiter was a press spokesman for Queen Elizabeth.
Just three days earlier the sisters-in-law had teamed up for an inaugural playdate—the first time Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1, had all been together with their 2-month-old cousin Archie. “They’re each a little more relaxed,” says the insider. “They have more in common now.”
What’s more, Meghan and Prince Harry’s move out of Kensington Palace — where Kate and Prince William live with their children, has provided distance that has helped them reconnect, “allowing them more time to be like family” rather than colleagues, a royal source says. Palace sources emphasize that there is room in the public space for Kate and Meghan’s distinct strengths and interests to shine. “Coming from different backgrounds, I think, they have more the makings of a team than people imagined,” says longtime royals author Robert Lacey. “And they have a common interest as partners to these two men who are so crucial to the monarchy, along with their children.”
As Meghan adjusts to new motherhood, no one understands the pressure Meghan faces under the royal spotlight more than Kate, who has said that it can be “lonely” and “isolating” at times. “Babies are a great leveler,” adds Arbiter. “The minute you’re bonding over your stories and sleepless nights, suddenly all the stuff that mattered before doesn’t matter anymore.”
The move “has provided distance that has helped them reconnect, ‘allowing them more time to be like family’ rather than colleagues, a royal source says.” Hard disagree on that interpretation. The Sussexes’ move from Kensington Palace into their own office space provided them the much-needed distance so they weren’t stepping on each other’s newscycles and the Cambridges weren’t passive-aggressively working against the Sussexes. And the goal really isn’t “Kate and Meghan need to see each other as sisters.” They are colleagues and it’s perfectly fine to see each other that way.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.