Any hopes of a new friendship between the parents of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been spectacularly dashed - with the in-laws already feuding ahead of the hugely anticipated royal wedding.
Prince Charles, 69, and Camilla, 70, are said to be locked in a bitter war with Meghan’s father Thomas Markle, 73, and mum Doria Radlan, 61, over a TV wedding deal, and the duchess’ ‘appalling’ treatment of the bride-to-be.
Tensions had been brewing for months over Camilla’s reluctance to accept Meghan, 36, into the royal fold, but it's Tom's recent deal to pocket $50,000 traveling to the royal wedding via-a cruise as part of a 'tacky' endorsement deal that has senior royals seeing red.
It’s believed Meghan’s father and half-sister Samantha, 53 – who’s come under fire in the past for labelling her sibling a ‘shallow social climber’ – have signed a lucrative agreement to be filmed travelling from the US to London for the wedding via a cruise as part of a TV special.
Sources say the pair will pocket a fat pay cheque for the deal, brokered by Samantha. And the move has caused such tension in the palace that Prince Harry, 33, and his bride-to-be have fled London to France to escape the drama. ‘To say that Prince Charles is appalled by Meghan’s family using the wedding and the royal family as away to make money off a tacky TV special is an understatement,’ says a palace source.
'This is exactly the type of exploitation that Charles and his mother hate, and it’s caused all sorts of tension. Charles spoke to Tom directly and said that he was already bringing shame and embarrassment to his daughter – it wasn’t a pleasant conversation.’
But sources close to Samantha and Tom have defended the deal, telling New Idea that they thought the experience sounded like a lovely way for the father and daughter to spend time together ahead of the hectic royal wedding.
‘When Sam was approached about doing this, she thought it was a great way to get over to England for the wedding and spend some time with her father,’ says the source, revealing that the cruise will depart from Miami a few weeks before the May 19 nuptials.
‘Samantha has done some work with a TV company before. She has now been offered $50,000 to go on the cruise. And then at least she will be in the country when the wedding happens. Tom is very easygoing and he would love to see his daughters get along and share in this joyous occasion together.
‘I am sure he is really excited about everything, but this has also been a bit overwhelming for him the last few weeks.’
The cruise blow-up comes after Meghan’s mum Doria voiced her disapproval over Camilla’s reportedly poor behaviour towards her future daughter-in-law.
It’s been claimed Camilla has been opposed to Harry and Meghan’s relationship from the start, believing she’s not ‘regal enough’ to join the royal family.
‘Doria is outraged and has told Meghan that she’s not going to let anyone push her or their family around – especially Camilla,’ says a family source.
And, while there’s still no word on whether Meghan’s half-sister Samantha will be invited to the wedding after her questionable comments in the past, she’s still hopeful.
‘Of course she would love to go to the wedding,’ a Markle family source tells New Idea. ‘She knows that some of the things she has said in that past about Meghan may not have been seen as very kind.
‘But she feels she has put that behind her now, and she wants to be supportive.
‘At the end of the day, family is important and it isn’t every day your half-sister marries royalty.’
However, Samantha’s chances will have significantly dwindled after she slammed Harry for describing his loved ones as ‘the family she [Meghan] never had’.
‘Actually, she has a large family who were always there with her and for her,’ Samantha lashed out. ‘No-one was estranged, she was just too busy.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!