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Kate and Meghan Are "Relieved Their Lives Are Totally Separate Now"

"Meghan never wanted to be Kate and vice versa," an insider says. Now, "both of them are more relaxed."

When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018, Palace insiders hoped that she and Kate Middleton would join forces to bring new excitement and relevancy to the British monarchy. Dubbed the "Fab Four" by the British media, it was believed a friendship between Meghan, Harry, Kate, and Prince William would result in a formidable PR bonanza for the monarchy. Instead, a tidal wave of coverage of a very different sort surfaced almost immediately after the Sussexes' wedding, with reports of discord between the brothers and a strained relationship between their wives. "Both couples had very different visions and hopes for the future," said one royal insider. "It quickly became clear their goals would only pull them part." Now, less than two years after it all began, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decamped to Los Angeles, having stepped away from royal life. And according to an inside source, Kate and Meghan are "relieved their lives are totally separate now."

"Catherine and Meghan are no longer held back by unrealistic expectations and are much more comfortable now that they are free to define their royal roles independent from each other and avoid inevitable comparisons," my source said. "It's clear both of them are more relaxed and happier without having to put up a good front."

In truth, a close friendship between Meghan and Kate was never going to happen. A royal insider previously told me, "They are two very different women who have always been on two totally different paths. It's now quite clear that they did what they had to do to keep up appearances, but there was nothing else beyond that between them."

Ironically, both women now find themselves under even more pressure with greater media scrutiny focused on how Kate and Meghan are coping with their redefined roles.

London, UK, 14th July 2018: Catherine Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visiting the men's semifinal at day 12 at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2018 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London.
Frank Molter/Alamy Live News

In the wake of Harry and Meghan's departure, there's been endless speculation about how Kate and William have been dealing with their increased number of official engagements. On top of that, there's the Cambridges' added responsibility of being the most visible representatives of the royal family during the pandemic. As a result, Kate has been thrust into the spotlight in a way she hadn't been before. "Catherine has never sought out the spotlight," my source said. "She has always been content to play a supporting role within the family. She's by nature a shy person, so this has been a time where she has grown tremendously and as a result, gained a newfound confidence befitting her role as future Queen."

In January—before the drama surrounding "Megxit" stunned the royal family and after so many reputations were tarnished in the scandal-plagued 2019—a royal insider told me, "Catherine has quietly and consistently grown more comfortable in her royal role." My source added, "At a time of so much upheaval and controversy within the family, the Duchess of Cambridge has become one of its greatest assets for her ability to be both an accessible and aspirational figure. She's become Princess Diana without the drama."

But the most recent issue of Tatler magazine offered a very different point of view in their cover story entitled "Catherine the Great," which claimed that Kate felt stressed and overwhelmed by the vacuum resulting from Harry and Meghan's exit. The magazine went so far as to say she was "furious" about her increased responsibilities. The Palace's response was surprisingly swift and strong. In a rare statement, Kensington Palace promptly blasted the story's "inaccuracies" and threatened legal action against the publication, reportedly demanding the story be removed from the magazine's website.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle holding their son Archie
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Meanwhile, Meghan's new non-royal life has not been without its unforeseen difficulties. She and Harry moved to Los Angeles with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, in March, fleeing the borrowed oceanfront compound they'd been staying at on Vancouver Island in Canada. According to The Sun, the couple decided to move up their plans to decamp to Meghan's hometown when the coronavirus outbreak threatened to shut down non-essential travel to the States for an indeterminate length of time. "That was the plan all long," a royal source told me. "Meghan was eager to get back and had already begun talking to her team about opportunities in Hollywood. Harry agreed it would be the best place to put all their new plans into motion."

But the pandemic changed all that. Meghan and Harry's plans to rebrand themselves as international celebrities and launch their new charitable entity, Archewell, are on hold indefinitely as COVID-19 continues to spread in the States. The Telegraph reported there will be no Archewell initiatives until 2021. For now, the couple remains at Tyler Perry's mansion in Los Angeles with their son and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, who is reported to have moved in.

Just this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom reported the state of California is dealing with a a surge of new infections, leading to a mandatory face mask requirement statewide. "It's been terribly frustrating and frightening," said an insider. "In light of everything that has happened, Harry and Meghan have shifted their priorities to support efforts of organizations battling the pandemic and have begun thinking about how they can support the Black Live Matter cause. Everything else is on hold."

To that end, Meghan gave an emotional speech via video to the graduating class of her former high school earlier this month in the wake of the protests that erupted in response to the murder of George Floyd. She condemned "senseless acts of racism," telling the graduates, "The only wrong thing is to say nothing." She also expressed some concern that her remarks would be "picked apart." This week, she and Harry visited Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles charity that focuses on gang intervention, and helped prepare meals for local seniors and children in the midst of the pandemic. The charity posted pictures on Twitter and Instagram.

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"Meghan is much happier now that she is out of the royal fishbowl and back in the States where she knows she can support the causes she chooses and not be hampered by royal protocol or the pecking order that puts William and Kate first," said an insider. "Meghan never wanted to be Kate and vice versa. This is really the best outcome for everyone." And for more on the Cambridge family, check out 8 Things Kate and William Have Done to Give Their Kids a "Normal Life."

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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