A book on the greatest schism to face the royal family in a generation has claimed there was no feud between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex – they simply had nothing in common.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down from royal duties prompted speculation about the ease with which the American had managed to settle into royal life – with much scrutiny applied to her relationship with Prince William’s partner, Kate Middleton.
However, the authors of Finding Freedom, which is being serialised in The Times and The Sunday Times, have said that any suggestion of duelling duchesses causing chaos behind the scenes was a media myth.
The press was apparently too quick to blame the Sussexes’ decision to move to Windsor – removing themselves from the Kensington Palace umbrella - on the “duelling duchesses”, the authors say, when it was Harry who felt suffocated by his brother.
The authors, Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, write: “The truth was that Meghan and Kate just didn’t know each other that well.”
They claim the duchesses’ relationship had not really progressed from when they had first met, and that Meghan was disappointed by Kate’s lack of support during her roughest times with the press.
But rumours that Meghan made Kate cry during a bridesmaid’s dress fitting for Princess Charlotte are false, the book insists.
Reports that Meghan’s “strict demands” had left Kate in tears “puzzled” those who were present. A source who was there said: “Some of the children weren’t co-operating, and there was a lot going on.
“Everyone tried to help where they could, but it’s never easy with kids at fittings. There were no tears from anyone.
“And in the end, the fitting was fine. Kate and Meghan were both a little stressed but professional in the room, and there were other people there.”
The Sussexes say they did not contribute to the book; Mr Scobie and Ms Durand’s reporting is based on conversations with friends of the couple and other sources.
Alongside the debunking the book is reported to contain a number of claims about the couple’s growing bitterness towards the establishment that surrounded them.
Among them is the allegation Prince William feared his brother had been “blindsided by lust” in his haste to wed the then-Ms Markle.
The authors claim Harry took umbrage at his brother’s apparently “snobbish” response, and was offended by William’s advice to “take as much time as you need to get to know this girl”.
According to the pair, William was happy for his brother, but “just wanted to make sure that Harry wasn’t blindsided by lust”.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes said the couple did not contribute to the book, but did not deny the content of the extracts.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom”, the spokesperson said.
“This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”
Additional reporting by Press Association