Meghan "Was Never Satisfied" Being Second to Kate, Insiders Say
"She felt she was second place," a royal source says. "It all became unnecessarily tense."
Getting along with in-laws can be a challenge for anyone, but as Meghan Markle discovered, marrying into the Royal family can make it next-level difficult. According to a new biography, the Duchess of Sussex's resentment over being "second place" to Kate Middleton was a source of major tension. In fact, her belief (as well as Prince Harry's) that she was not given the same respect as the Duchess of Cambridge was a contributing factor to the couple's decision to give up their royal roles.
In his new book, Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle, Tom Quinn writes that Meghan's feelings of resentment over being treated as "second best" were there from the very beginning when she moved into Harry's home at Nottingham Cottage. Quinn notes that the two-bedroom home on the grounds of Kensington Palace "is actually quite small" compared to the Cambridge's 20-room apartment where they live with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. And Meghan took that as a sign that she was considered "second place" to Kate.
A Palace insider notes that was actually one of the reasons Queen Elizabeth gifted Frogmore Cottage to Meghan and Harry. "Her Majesty was willing to give the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a home that would make them happy," my source said. "They chose to move out of Kensington Palace, where they would have been given a large apartment, to live in Windsor. Nottingham Cottage was never meant to be their permanent residence." The $3 million renovations to Frogmore Cottage were paid for by the British taxpayers; under the terms of their exit agreement, Harry and Meghan have promised to repay the cost.
According to Quinn, another tense incident with the duchesses involved a member of Kate's staff. The author notes that Meghan "just lost it" when she felt the staffer was not affording her the appropriate level of attention she felt she deserved. The aide had declined to follow Meghan's instructions because she did not work for the Duchess of Sussex. "It was almost as if in that one encounter, it encapsulated for Meghan the problem that she had, that [Kate is] a princess and she's number two," reports Quinn, who also claims there were "raised voices and foot-stamping."
Quinn writes that Meghan felt she had been "put in her place because if you kind of assume when you ask [staff] to do something, they are going to do it."
A Palace source told me that Meghan's problems with Kate were largely because of one basic tenent of royal life that she simply would not accept. "Meghan Markle was very much a creation of the American meritocracy," said my insider. "By virtue of her ambition and self-belief, she enjoyed success in Hollywood and had established herself as an emerging figure as an activist. All of that was the polar opposite of her life as a royal where people behave towards you according to where you are in the line of succession. She was never going to be satisfied as long as she felt she was second place to Catherine."
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My insider went on to say that the criticism leveled at Kate recently in regards to Meghan has been unfair, especially in the new tell-all Finding Freedom, which was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durant with the cooperation of many of Meghan and Harry's closest friends (though the couple denies giving interviews for the book). The authors report that Meghan felt Kate did not do enough to make her feel welcome. In the book, they write, "The two duchesses' relationship had struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met." They also note that the relationship was hampered by the existing tensions that grew into a major rift between Harry and Prince William.
"Catherine was, in fact, quite welcoming to Meghan at the beginning," said my source. "It just was never enough. The Duchess of Cambridge has a full schedule of engagements and is the mother to three very young, very active children. The idea that she should have made the Duchess of Sussex's happiness a priority is ridiculous. When she did do something to express her support, such as sending flowers to the Duchess of Sussex for her birthday, the message came back that it was not 'enough.' Meghan was resentful of all of Catherine's positive press. It all became unnecessarily tense."
Now that Meghan and Harry have settled into their new $14.7 million home in California and have set out on a new path outside of the royal fishbowl, any of the Duchess of Sussex's feelings of insecurity or resentment towards Kate seem like a distant memory. "Meghan is now focused firmly on the future. She is back on familiar ground and is thrilled with the reception she and Harry have received since coming to California. They were not the stars of the royal show, but she wisely assessed that the sky is the limit in the States," said my source. "In her mind, she's won." And for more details about Meghan and Harry and the rest of the royals, check out 3 More Explosive Royal Tell-Alls That Shed New Light on Harry and Meghan.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.