The newest member of the British royal family has brought some peace to the palace, where life wasn’t always so blissful for former American actress Meghan Markle and her in-laws.
A friend of Princes William and Harry told royal expert and author Katie Nicholl that the arrival of Markle’s firstborn, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, has further healed relations between the siblings.
Markle, 37 and her husband Harry, 34, welcomed baby Archie on May 6.
“There was, however, a genuine rift between the princes that had been brewing since Harry’s engagement to Meghan [in late 2017],” Nicholl recently shared to Vanity Fair. “According to a friend of the brothers, they fell out after William voiced his concerns that Harry’s relationship with Meghan was moving too quickly.
“’William had concerns and Harry resented that,’ says the friend,” continued Nicholl. “’Harry also felt that William and Kate hadn’t made enough effort with Meghan. At one stage the situation between Harry and William was so strained that they were not on speaking terms, but things have been ‘much better’ since Archie’s arrival.”
Nicholl shared things are moving in a much more positive direction since the Duchess of Sussex became an official member of the royal family when she married Harry in May 2018.
“At Kensington Palace, the duchess earned a reputation among some courtiers for being difficult and demanding,” claimed Nicholl to the outlet. “Her habit of sending 5 a.m. emails to staff saw her nicknamed ‘Hurricane Meghan,’ and there was an unusually high turnover of palace staff — five to date since Meghan’s arrival, including two private assistants who allegedly quit under the pressures of the job, and the duchess’s head of security, a woman whose name has never been released by Kensington Palace.
“The couple’s interim private secretary, Samantha Cohen, is due to leave imminently, while assistant private secretary Amy Pickerill left the royal household on amicable terms shortly before Archie’s birth.”
If that weren’t enough, Markle’s paternal side of her family, including estranged father Thomas Markle, has frequently spoken out to the press.
Despite the rocky transition, Nicholl said courtiers told her Markle has kept a positive attitude “by not reading any press, good or bad,” as well as leaning on her husband, “who is 100 percent devoted.”
“The papers like to use the word ‘difficult,’” a source who works closely with the former “Suits” star told Nicholl. “I’d say ‘different.’ It was hard for her. She didn’t have a support structure in place and she was getting used to living in a new country and being part of a very unique institution.”
But these days, Markle is gearing up to become a British citizen and has already “adopted Britishism” along the way.
“She says ‘pants’ less, and I’ve heard her say ‘bits and bob,’” a source told Nicholl.
As for Harry, marriage and fatherhood have also been a welcoming change.
“Once a royal rebel, he now starts his mornings with a green juice (blended by Meghan) and practices meditation,” claimed Nicholl. “He has quit smoking and rarely drinks alcohol. Their life at Frogmore is one of domestic bliss, amazingly ordinary.”
According to Nicholl, Frogmore Cottage has also received a royal makeover for the family of three.
“Until recently, the cottage was used as staff accommodation,” explained Nicholl. “However, it was converted into a five-bedroom house for the Sussexes following an extensive, taxpayer-funded 3 million pounds sterling renovation. They moved in just weeks before Archie was born.
“The rebuild includes eco-friendly heating and water systems, new fireplaces (Meghan adores log fires) and staircases, as well as the yoga studio with a spring floor and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Harry, who is into gadgets, has had the nursery — said to be painted in gray and white tones, with vegan paints — kitted out with a state-of-the-art sound system. An adjoining room is for their nanny, who is one of just a handful of staff… While they have hired a housekeeper and have two assistants to help them out, as well as the shared service of two palace orderlies, their entourage is low-key compared to other senior royals.”
A member of Markle’s team also told Nicholl the couple does not have a chef as Markle prefers to cook. After her birth, Markle chose to get back in shape by doing yoga with her mother Doria Ragland, a certified yogi, as well as going on long walks with Archie and Harry.
“For the most part they are self-sufficient,” said a source about the royal couple. “Meghan doesn’t have a stylist. She does most of it.”
The source added Markle also does all of the grocery shopping online.
Still, there’s no doubt Archie will enjoy a privileged life. Nicholl told Vanity Fair that as Archie gets older, he will swim at the indoor pool at Windsor Castle and learn to ride on the queen’s horses. Harry is also keen to enroll his son in one of the elite local polo clubs.
“… Tea at Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon with the queen will likely become a weekly ritual, as it did for Harry when he was a boy,” said Nicholl.
Markle, along with Harry and Archie, will soon be packing up for their royal tour this fall. The family’s official Instagram account confirmed they will be heading to South Africa.
“The Duke and Duchess are really looking forward to meeting so many of you on the ground and continuing to raise awareness of the high impact work local communities are doing across the commonwealth and beyond,” the couple captioned an older photo of them, adding, "This will be their first official tour as a family!"
Africa is a special place for the royal couple, as they traveled there together several times. In 2016, Harry invited Markle to come to Botswana with him after they had just met, and again in 2017 to celebrate her 36th birthday.
In honor of his mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, Harry co-founded a charity, Sentebale, to help children in Lesotho, Malawi and Botswana who suffer from HIV/AIDS or have parents that died from the virus.
Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.