Since stepping down as a senior royal, Meghan Markle's relationship with the rest of the royals has strained. This has reportedly spilled on to Markle's kids, who barely get to see their great-grandma.
Amid the prevailing tension between the Sussexes and the royal family, the royals have found common ground, at least when the kids are involved.
In June 2022, the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, finally met Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's daughter, Lilibet Mountbatten Windsor, for the first time.
Duchess Meghan and Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018, in Widnes, England. | Source: Getty Images
The long-anticipated meeting happened after Harry and Markle, who reside in the US, flew to London in honor of the monarch's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Royal commentator Omid Scobie described the great-grandmother-great-granddaughter meeting as "very much private," adding that the Queen had been looking forward to it.
According to the author, several factors, like the pandemic, have hindered their meeting since Lilibet's birth in June 2021. This made the encounter very special for the family, who opted to keep photographic details of that meeting out of the public.
This delayed meeting, just days before Lilith's first birthday, directly contrasts with Prince Harry's first meeting with his grandmother. Notably, Archie met his grandmother just days after his birth in May 2019, with photos from the memorable encounter becoming major headliners.
Although the royals finally got a chance to reconnect, they only had limited time to spend in each other's company before the Sussexes returned to the US. This distal difference makes it difficult for the Queen to see Archie and Lilibet as often as she'd like.
MEGHAN ONCE REFUSED TO BRING ARCHIE TO VISIT THE QUEEN
Aside from a distance separating the Queen from her grandchildren, the underlying tension between Markle and the other royals has contributed significantly.
In his book, "Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between The Windsors," royal biographer Tom Boyer claimed the Duchess of Sussex once denied Archie a chance to visit his great-grandmother.
According to him, Markle insisted her then-three-month-old son was too young to board the plane to Scotland for a break at the Queen's private residence in Balmoral.
Despite her refusal to honor the Queen's invitation on the grounds of her son's young age, the "Suits" alum and her husband flew to Ibiza that summer to spend the holidays with Archie.
Boyer claimed the Duchess did so in revenge after the Cambridges "scorned" her family by boarding a low-budget airline on their trip to Balmoral just days after the media scrutinized the Sussex's use of private jets, invariably bringing their carbon footprints into question. The author continued:
"In revenge, Meghan promptly announced that her family would not, after all, follow the Cambridges to Balmoral."
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. | Source: Getty Images
The Sussexes eventually went on other trips that summer, including a family vacation in Ibiza, a trip to New York to watch Serena Williams play in the US Open, and a visit to Rome to attend a wedding.
DID THE QUEEN INVITE HARRY AND MEGHAN TO BALMORAL?
Traditionally, the Queen spends the summer in Balmoral, often joined by other royal family members. This tradition has prevailed for decades, eagerly honored by the royals.
However, in recent years, the family has been forced to put the tradition aside amid the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the Sussexes have been unable to make the trip since their scandalous step-down from their roles as senior royals and subsequent move to the US.
Duchess Meghan, Prince Harry, and Queen Elizabeth II at the Queen's Young Leaders Award Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
However, sources claim the Queen has extended an olive branch to the Sussex royals, inviting Harry, Meghan, and their two kids to visit Balmoral in the summer of 2022. A source disclosed:
"Staff have been told to expect the full list of royals including Harry, Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet."
Another source confirmed the staff at Balmoral were making plans to welcome Markle and Harry, saying "they are preparing for the Sussexes." Despite the reported preparations, a royal insider claimed they would be stunned if the Sussexes honored the invitation.
Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry at the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on June 3, 2022, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Another insider believes if the Sussexes eventually turned up, they would not spend time with the other senior royals. This defeats the whole point of a vacation, as Balmoral was intended to serve as the perfect place to spend a little bit of quality time with the Queen and bond as a family.
Going by these assertions, a royal reconciliation was unlikely. Multiple insiders have refuted claims that the Sussexes were invited to Balmoral to visit the monarch. Instead, they would remain in the US, where Prince Harry was set to launch his long-anticipated memoir.
HARRY AND MEGHAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CAMBRIDGES
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex attending Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. | Source: Getty Images
Since the Sussexes' step-down as senior royals, and their subsequent dust-raising interview with Oprah Winfrey, there seemed to be heightened tension between royal brothers Prince William and Prince Harry and their respective spouses.
During their last appearance in London, while celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the Sussexes and the Cambridges never interacted. This denied the public a chance to speculate about the nature of their relationship.
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF 100th anniversary flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
According to a royal insider, this lack of interaction was an intentional move to deflect the attention from them and make the festivities all about the Queen. The source divulged:
"It was meant to be all about the Queen, and it didn't give people the chance to speculate about their relationship."
While the family gave the public little to hold on to with respect to the relationship between the royal brothers, previous occurrences suggest a rift between them.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry walk through a trench during the commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2017 in Lille, France. | Source: Getty Images
Since their explosive Oprah interview, William and his wife have reportedly harbored a "lack of trust" towards the Sussexes. According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, the couple fears that whatever they do or say to Harry and Markle will be leaked to the media.
Hopefully, the past year has managed to mend the purported rift between Prince Harry and his brother and, ultimately, the rest of the royals. Time would tell!
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