Inside Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Tensions with William and Kate: 'A Lot of Damage Has Been Done'
Prince William reportedly told his brother, "Don’t feel like you need to rush this," about his relationship with Meghan
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their last official royal appearance in March as they joined Kate Middleton, Prince William and the rest of the royal family for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey — but it was clear the mood between the two couples was tense.
As William and Kate made their way to their seats in the front row, Meghan gave them a little wave from the second row as she and Harry smiled and said hello to the couple, but they were met with little response.
Now, the new book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family claims that Meghan and Prince Harry felt snubbed at the service.
"A lot of damage has been done," co-author Omid Scobie tells PEOPLE of tensions between the couples.
From the start, it seemed that Kate and Prince William had a strained relationship with Meghan.
"Though it was not necessarily her responsibility, Kate did little to bridge the divide,” write authors Scobie and Carolyn Durand, who went on to note that despite being pitted against one another by the press, the women "were not at war with each other." Although, there were some "awkward moments," the authors explain.
Kate and Meghan first met during a visit to Kate and Prince William's Kensington Palace home, but Kate is an "extremely guarded person" who keeps a tight group of friends, a friend explains in the book. Tensions were eased by a birthday gift Meghan gave to Kate, a soft leather Smythson notebook, and Meghan's adoration for Princess Charlotte.
Prince William cautioned his younger brother against moving too fast in his relationship with Meghan, provoking hard feelings.
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"Don’t feel like you need to rush this," William told Harry, according to sources in Finding Freedom. "Take as much time as you need to get to know this girl" — and Prince Harry reportedly took offense to William calling Meghan "this girl."
"Harry was pissed off," another source said. "Pissed off that his brother would ask such a thing. Some felt it was an overreaction. But then, this totally sums them up as people—William the calm and rational one, and Harry, who can’t help but take things far too personally."
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Finding Freedom explores the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's journey, starting from the early days of their fast-moving romance and culminating in their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family and move to Los Angeles with son Archie.
A spokesperson for Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, previously said in a statement, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."