LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attending the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 21, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Did Prince William express his doubts about Meghan Markle to his brother, Prince Harry, before the couple wed earlier this year?
According to a new report in the Daily Mail, he did, following a "ghastly row" last Christmas between members of the royal family, which points to even deeper-seated than previously thought.
The outlet reported on Sunday that Meghan and Harry's visit to William and Kate's country home called Anmer Hall was engineered by Prince Charles, who is quite fond of the former "Suits" actress, in an attempt to "smooth things over." A royal aide told the Daily Mail that the future Duchess of Sussex was thought to be "downright rude" during the visit, which prompted Kate to pull her aside for "a quiet word."
"It escalated rapidly after Meghan complained to Harry that she had been 'told off' by Kate," the source said. "He took her side, while William defended Kate, who was five months pregnant with Louis and certainly didn’t want this sort of confrontation."
As a result of the "poisonous" tension and the clashing of styles between Meghan and Kate, Harry's brother reportedly spoke with him about his fiancée, expressing concern over the speed at which their relationship had progressed.
"The problem is that the Cambridges felt things had moved very quickly between Harry and Meghan," the aide said. "Wills particularly was worried and felt close enough to Harry to voice his thoughts."
That didn't go over well, which could be another factor in the brothers' increasingly tense relationship. Though they grew up incredibly close, as they leaned on one another amid intense media scrutiny in the absence of their mother, Princess Diana, their paths are beginning to diverge. Part of the division is, of course, natural, though royals experts are hoping it doesn't go too deep.
"The brothers have leant on each other and looked after each other since their mother died," a source told The Sunday Times. "But now [that] they have their own families, they no longer rely on each other as before."
"They are rare in that they live together and work together, but there has been a stepping back," The Daily Beast added of the brothers. "They are still incredibly close, closer than most siblings, but now Harry has married and is about to become a father, so it's a good time for him to be planning his own future."
That being said, the Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly worried that Prince Harry is "changing."
"She and Harry have always had a very close relationship, but she said things were different," a friend of Kate's told the Daily Mail, noting that "Meghan’s a strong character and so is Kate, so it doesn’t surprise me there have been clashes."
All of this comes amid rumors that Will and Kate will forgo Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royals -- including Harry and Meghan -- to instead spend the holiday with Kate's parents, sister Pippa and her new son with James Matthews, Arthur. This, in addition to the the Sussexes impending move from Kensington Palace to Windsor Castle, could provide some much-needed space between the foursome.
Here's to hoping that's all it takes for this to be water under the bridge.