Kate, the Princess of Wales, reportedly tried to ease tensions between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and other members of the Royal Family before the Sussexes eventually left behind their duties. The olive branch came during Harry and Meghan’s last royal engagement at the Commonwealth Day Service in 2020.
At the time, it had been widely reported that the Sussexes were not happy with life in the royal fold and that there had been disagreements with other family members.
Harry and Meghan were said to be “upset and emotional” after being informed they would not be part of the Queen’s procession at the start of the service.
The couple were instead shown to their seats with the rest of the guests.
But, according to the Daily Mail, Kate and Prince William offered to join Harry and Meghan and also miss the procession.
However, this never materialised, and the tension between the Sussexes and the Cambridges was clear for all to see.
Harry and Meghan arrived first, and took their seats in the second row. They did not stand to greet Kate and Willian when they arrived.
At the 2019 service, Meghan and Kate exchanged a kiss on the cheek, indicating that their relationship was in a better place than it would be a year later.
Royal author Tom Bower wrote in his book, ‘Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War between the Windsors’ that a “monumental argument” took place after “Palace officials … decided to publicly humiliate [Harry and Meghan]”.
He said: “Reality hit two days later, on 9th March. A monumental argument blew up after Harry was told that he and Meghan could not join the family’s procession through Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day Service.
“Although the order of service listed Harry and Meghan walking behind the Queen, Palace officials had revised their decision. Suspicious about the Sussexes they decided to publicly humiliate them.
“Harry was told that having stepped down from royal duties, he and Meghan would sit and wait with the congregation. The prospect of the televised image of their isolation in the Abbey appalled them.
“By then they were keenly aware of Kate and William’s antagonism. William had not offered a brotherly welcome and Kate was outright distant towards her sister-in-law.
“Eventually, to end the dispute, William and Kate agreed they too would wait with Harry and Meghan. As the members of the Royal Family filed into the Abbey, the frayed relationships could not be concealed.
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“Kate had blanked the Sussexes and William’s greeting was cold. Harry looked strained. Meghan’s face showed bemusement.”
Harry admitted that the 2020 service made him anxious as this was the first time he was seeing his family since he and Meghan had made clear their plans to leave behind royal duties.
In the Sussexes’ Netflix series, he said: “The first time that we saw the other members of the family was in Westminster Abbey.
“We were nervous seeing the family because all the TV cameras and everybody watching at home and everybody watching in the audience. It’s like living through a soap opera where everybody else views you as entertainment.
“I felt really distant from the rest of my family, which was interesting because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like, rather than what it feels like. And it looked cold. But it also felt cold.”