Meghan Markle now faces the difficult job of raising her child in the public eye while maintaining a sense of privacy

By Stephanie PetitMichelle TauberErin Hill and Simon Perry
July 18, 2019 08:00 AM
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As an actress, Meghan Markle grew accustomed to the spotlight. However, her royal status took being in the public eye to new — and often difficult to manage — heights.

“Meghan has struggled with the intensity of the spotlight,” a source close to the royal household tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Although she is a former actress, this is on a different level.”

That pressure is even more intensified now that she’s a new mother. Meghan and Prince Harry welcomed son Archie on May 6, and they have already made decisions based on their desire to protect their baby’s privacy. Instead of the fanfare that surrounded the christenings of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s three children, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opted for a ceremony at the Queen’s private chapel inside Windsor Castle.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

They released just two photos — a black and white shot of the parents with their son as well as a family portrait — and did not reveal the names of Archie’s chosen godparents.

Meghan Markle, Archie and Prince Harry
CHRIS ALLERTON/AFP/Getty Images

Despite being at different stages in their lives when Meghan and Harry’s romance first began to blossom in fall 2016, the arrival of Archie has created a new bond for Meghan and Kate. And no one understands the pressure that Meghan is under better than her sister-in-law.

“It is an isolated existence,” says the insider.

Kate has also acknowledged that motherhood can be “lonely at times, and you do feel quite isolated. But so many other mothers are going through exactly what you are going through.”

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle
Press Association via AP Images
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“Babies are a great leveler,” says royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, whose dad Dickie Arbiter was a press secretary for Queen Elizabeth. “The minute you’re bonding over your stories and sleepless nights, suddenly all the stuff that mattered before doesn’t matter anymore.”