Feuding Duchesses? Why Meghan Markle Skipped Sister-In-Law Kate Middleton's Birthday Parties
Was Meghan Markle's absence from the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday celebrations indisputable evidence of a feud between them, or simply due to a conflict in schedule?
Fortunately for royalists and Meghan and Kate's collective fan bases, it's the latter. Rumors about soured relations between the two royal women remain unfounded, and in truth, there really isn't solid proof to suggest that Meghan and Kate are waging a silent war with each other. (Phew!)
So why the absence of Meghan in the special occasions honoring her sister-in-law?
It's simple: the former American actress and her husband, Prince Harry, needed a break from royal engagements and went on a brief holiday before their next series of trips. Royals get tired too, lest we forget! Add to the mix that Meghan and Harry are welcoming a child very soon (Meghan is due to give birth in the spring), and it becomes even more understandable that the parents-to-be preferred a little downtime.
To break down what really went on during Kate's birthday week—and to put out the fire fueling Meghan vs. Kate gossip for good—we'll take you through what really happened:
Kate's real birthday is on the 9th, but it was discovered that she had planned a surprise pre-birthday get-together on the 6th. It was unusual for the Duchess of Cambridge to do so, but also totally within royal protocol. The low-key and private party, which was really more like a tame afternoon of tea and light snacks, was held at her and Prince William's countryside home, Anmer Hall, outside of London.
She didn't make a big deal of the party, and if reports are to be believed, less than 12 guests were present. In fact, no other royals were in attendance (no Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, no in-laws from William's side of the family, and not even Kate's very own sister Pippa was there), which means reports of Meghan's absence have been overblown.
The only people who made it were a handful of Kate and William's secondary school and university pals, several of whom are also godparents to the royal couple's children.
But what about Kate's "official" birthday on the 9th? Well, to put it simply, this is when it was assumed that Meghan had chosen to take a step back from public engagements and catch her breath.
After all, Kate's Buckingham Palace-hosted party (which was, by all means, still very private and only involved immediate members of the royal family), coincided with the announcement of Meghan's newest set of responsibilities.
The Queen bestowed Meghan patronages to two non-profit organizations that she herself had overseen for over 30 years in addition to two other charities that Meghan will also be a patron of. The Duchess of Sussex prepared for her first visit to one of them during Kate's birthday week.
And as a patron of charities herself, Kate must have understood the weight of the social responsibility, rather than take it against her sister-in-law.
And in case you were wondering how rumors about a crack in Meghan and Kate's relationship began, it all started in the days leading up to Meghan's wedding last May.
An unverified story about Meghan reducing Kate to tears after a heated disagreement about what little Prince Charlotte would wear to her wedding made its rounds on the Internet. Those eager to spot any discord between the ladies of elegance were quick to inject any form of negativity in the stories about them that followed, and there was one in particular that caught the world's attention.
Six months after Meghan married Harry, the pair unexpectedly moved out of their first residence, which was literally next door to Kate and Harry, and into Frogmore Cottage (a.k.a. the beautiful venue of their pre-wedding photo shoot).
Everyone deemed it to be the ultimate non-verbal way of Meghan saying she wanted to live as far away from Kate as possible, yet no one considered that the move also happened a month after announcing that she was expecting.
It's known that their former residence was truly more of a home built for two, and a larger space would be needed to raise a child.
Besides, those focused on sowing seeds of conflict failed to mention that Christmastime (the period between the beginning of the rumors and Kate's birthday parties) was spent as one happy family for Kate and Meghan.
They were photographed chatting and smiling, together with their husbands, as they accompanied the Queen during all the royal family's holiday traditions without issue.
Royal experts Ingrid Seward and Leslie Carroll further hypothesize that Meghan and Kate are simply two very different women of two very different backgrounds, which means that although they'll have mutual respect for the other, they won't necessarily be the best of friends.
So let that put the lid on it—Kate and Meghan hold no ill will towards the other, and are absolutely, one hundred percent grudge-free!
Photos from @kensingtonpalace