After six months, the world watched on in anticipation as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined forces once more the historic British military event Trooping the Colour in London.
Dubbed the ‘fab four’ the couples appeared to shrug off rumours of a royal feud and were all smiles as they stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside Her Majesty to watch the RAF fly-past.
However, New Idea can now reveal that not all was as it seemed and that their 'united front' was simply just for show.
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Royal insiders say tension between the Cambridges and Sussexes has reached breaking point after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle abruptly pulled out of the Royal Foundation last week - a joint charity initiative Prince William and Harry founded together in 2009.
“You could cut the tension with a knife,” reveals our well-placed source of the foursome’s recent encounter, adding that away from the cameras, Harry and Meghan barely uttered two words to William and Kate."
However, as Trooping the Colour is a centuries-old tradition which celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday, the modern royals are said to have been given a stern warning from Her Majesty about a potential showdown before stepping out in front of the public.
“Now that the Queen is 93, every year that she is alive seems so precious and important,” the insider continues.
“The royal family unity on the balcony is imperative and the Queen holds the whole thing together.
"While the Queen does not like to lecture her family, she will have a word if she feels she has to. And they will listen."
"Neither family wants to let the Queen down so they will appear together in public, as they did as Trooping, and say the right things. But away from prying eyes, they are seeing less and less of each other.”
Just five weeks after giving birth to her and Harry’s royal baby Archie Harrison, Meghan was due to take time off from her maternity leave to attend the spectacular ceremony, which attracts thousands of spectators annually.
“During her first attendance at Trooping last year, Meghan stayed in the background,” our source adds.
“But she is now a proud mum and an integral member of the royal family.”
However, some have gone as far as to suggest that the American-born, media-savvy Duchess of Sussex knew that the event would be ‘her time to shine’ and by attending she would overshadow her sister-in-law Kate Middleton who she has long been rumoured to be at loggerheads with.
Meghan and Kate have never really seen eye-to-eye. And of course there’s an element of jealousy there,” says our insider.
“Harry and Meghan are obviously determined to make their own way and concentrate on what suits them. The fact that they have left the Royal Foundation which they ran with William and Kate shows they are set on a separate course.”
Meanwhile, royal author Phil Dampier, who has been writing about the royal family for over 30 years, has also expressed his concerns.
"The decision to split their offices is a mistake,” Phil says, of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to break from Kensington Palace.
“Harry and Meghan want to use Instagram and other social media to get their messages across, and in that sense, they are in tune with the younger generations.
“But they mustn’t neglect older people in their haste to appeal to younger people.
“Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have more than 1500 patronages between them.
“Who is going to take them all on? The last thing the Queen wants is for her life’s work to fall apart after she’s gone.”
Phil says if the Sussexes continue down this path, they could face dire consequences.
“I expect Harry and Meghan to break away even more in the next couple of years but I hope in time they co-operate more with other royals.
“It would be dangerous if they were just seen as celebrities and almost a separate entity.
“As someone who has seen Prince William and Prince Harry grow up and support each other through thick and thin, particularly when their mother Princess Diana died, it is sad to see tension between them.”
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