In October, the couple revealed how the negative press attention has hurt their family for the ITV special “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” which follows their royal tour in southern Africa. It was then where Harry, 35, admitted that he and his older brother Prince William are “certainly on different paths at the moment.”
“There hasn’t been this complete 180,” a source close to the couple told People magazine for this week’s cover story. “Nothing has changed. They don’t speak, no one is checking in, no one is texting.”
The source claimed “eyes are open” about the emotional distress the pair is enduring, but the relationship between the couple and the rest of the royal family hasn’t grown closer following their candid revelations.
“As is often the case in any family, when one of your siblings gets married, there is always a period of readjustment,” said the source. “People have new priorities and different focuses.”
“Just on a human level, if you take everything else out of the equation, I don’t think they’re in a very good shape to deal with anything right now,” continued the pal. “Everyone is hoping that they will come back from this break stronger than ever, and maybe with some time out of the spotlight, they can figure out what path to take next.”
“They’re going to have to try to figure out how to be civil, but they are on different paths now,” added the source. “It’s just the reality of the situation.”
The source also told the outlet there’s no denying there’s been “a chill” between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton.
“Everyone was doing their duties, doing what they needed to do on behalf of the family — and that was that,” claimed the source. “But there is a divide between the four of them. It’s hard for people to digest because everyone wants them to be such a unit.”
According to the friend, William, 37, and Middleton, 37, are more focused on preparing for their future roles — that of king and queen consort.
“William is the future king,” said the source. “There is going to be some competitiveness between him and Harry. That already puts a rock in the relationship.”
Longtime royal historian Robert Lacey said it’s not surprising that, as Harry suggested, the brothers are embarking on separate paths.
“After the death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, the two brothers were thrown together by the tragedy of their childhood,” he explained. “But it’s inevitable, as they grow up and develop different personalities, that synchronicity won’t apply anymore.”
Kensington Palace had no comment concerning the couple speaking out to British journalist Tom Bradby for the ITV special.
Numerous sources have long insisted there were deep tensions between the brothers after Harry revealed to his family he wanted to marry the former American actress after less than a year of dating. When William cautioned Harry that the whirlwind romance was moving too quickly, Harry reportedly became angry and hurt.
William dated Middleton for about eight years before tying the knot in 2011.
After previously working together, the royal couples split their offices and charitable endeavors last June. Markle and Harry’s office moved out of Kensington Palace and into Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth II resides. Middleton and William’s office remains in Kensington Palace, where they live with their three children.
In the documentary, Markle got candid about coping with the intense media scrutiny after becoming a member of the British royal family when she married Harry in May 2018.
“I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a ‘stiff upper lip,’” explained Markle. “I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair,” continued Markle. “And that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile. If things were fair… If I’d done something wrong, I’d be the first one to go, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I would never do that.’ But when people are saying things that are just untrue and they are being told they’re untrue but they’re allowed to still say them — I don’t know anybody in the world who would feel like that’s OK.’”
Markle said before she tied the knot with Harry, some of her friends warned her that becoming a member of the royal family would mean being under the constant glare of the public spotlight and losing your privacy.
“In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand and hear,” said Markle. “But when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’”
“And I, very naively — I’m American,” continued Markle. “We don’t have that there — [I said], ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in any tabloids.’ I didn’t get it. So it’s been, yeah, it’s been complicated.”
Markle also got candid with Bradby about the negative attention she has received from the media during her pregnancy and first months with Archie.
“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,” said Markle. “And then when you have a newborn, you know ... and especially as a woman, it’s a lot.”
“So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed,” continued Markle while holding back tears. “It’s um… yeah. I guess, also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m OK. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”