Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton still in ‘an early stage’ of their relationship despite alleged feud, says royal expert

Despite reports insisting duchesses Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton are feuding, one royal expert insisted the two women are still getting to know each other.

“When [Prince] Harry met Meghan, [as] the relationship was progressing, he was really keen to get Kate’s stamp of approval,” Katie Nicholl told ETOnline Thursday. “He wanted them to be close as sisters-in-law. I think they’re still in an early stage of their relationship. They’re still really getting to know each other and there are many, many more years to come.”

Nicholl added there’s still hope for Markle and Middleton to bond, both in the public eye and behind closed doors.

“A firm friendship could well blossom,” she said. “I don’t think it’s out of the question. I think people forget these are still [the] early days and I think it’s a matter of all of them trying to find their feet as a foursome. For so long we had the royal trio — Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate. Now, of course, we’ve got Meghan.”

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Nicholl shared Markle, a former American actress, is different from the other British royals because she is “opinionated” and “a very strong woman.” In addition, Markle wasted no time “rolling up her sleeves” and “diving” into her new role.

“Yes, it’s ruffled the feathers of a few courtiers,” said Nicholl. “Possibly Kate does feel a little eclipsed by Meghan, who’s just come along to such huge media interests, public interests and being so successful from the start. But as I said, it is the early days … of course, the palace has tried to knock these rumors of attention between the four royals on the head.”

The celebrity news site noted the two 37-year-olds participated in royal engagements separately. While Markle spent some time at the Mayhew animal charity in North London – before taking in a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” in the evening – Middleton visited the Royal Opera House’s costume department and met with principal dancers from The Royal Ballet.

“I think there was a lot of worry about whether one would upstage the other,” said Nicholl. “That didn’t happen, but there does seem to be a little concern about the two women carrying out engagements on the same day. At least because the newspapers don’t seem to know who to put on their front page.”

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“I think what we’re going to see over the next couple of months are the couples living increasingly separate lives,” she continued. “Inevitably it’s going to mean that we see less of them working together and more of them striking out independently.”

The first signs of distress between the two women came in November 2018, when The Telegraph reported that Markle made Middleton cry over an argument involving bridesmaid dresses for the former “Suits” star’s wedding to Harry, 34. Markle said “I do” to Harry in May 2018.

The alleged tension between the two duchesses has been widely rumored as the reason behind the announcement of Markle and Harry moving out of London’s Kensington Palace, where Middleton resides with her husband and Harry’s older brother William, 36.

Royal expert Leslie Carroll, who recently published a book titled “American Princess: The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry,” told Fox News that at the time of the purported bridesmaid dresses incident, Middleton was still recovering from giving birth to her third child, Prince Louis, on April 23. Therefore, she would have naturally been in a more emotional state while Markle was attempting to navigate her new life leading up to the royal wedding.

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“Kate was postpartum at that time,” said Carroll. “She’s hormonal and sensitive. And the first thing anyone has ever said about Meghan was how kind she was. Her sorority sisters, her former teachers — the first word that came to anyone’s mind was ‘kind.’ So the fact that Meghan was not kind implies other things were going on… She had so much on her plate, it wouldn’t have been surprising if she did snap.”

Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, has been covering the royal family since the 1980s and has written over 20 books on the subject. Her latest one, “My Husband and I,” analyzes the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. She said she agrees with Carroll’s analysis.

“People forget Meghan is an LA girl,” explained Seward. “It’s very different for her to suddenly come here and marry into the royal family. It’s very, very difficult. I think Meghan thought she had an ally in Kate. But everything happened so quickly. Kate was pregnant and unwell. And then she had a new baby. So she couldn’t give Meghan the attention she expected. And I think that’s when things started to sour.”

“I’m afraid there is [some] truth in these stories,” added Seward. “I don’t think it’s so much of a rivalry as much as these are two very different women that just don’t have to be the best of friends. Why should they?”