On Friday, news broke that Kate Middleton had a private birthday party ahead of her actual birthday at Anmer Hall for her close friends—many of whom were godparents for her and Prince William’s children. Outlets picked up that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry did not attend that party, with some speculating that it means the alleged Kate-Meghan feud tabloids dreamt up really could be on.
But the real reason for Meghan and Harry’s absence wasn’t because of any dramatic emotional rift. It was more about scheduling conflicts than anything else. A royal source told ELLE.com that after spending Christmas and Boxing Day at Sandringham, Meghan and Harry left Norfolk and returned to their Cotswold country home in Oxfordshire to take some time off.
Their break in Oxfordshire came before the two would return to London last week for what would be one of Meghan’s biggest weeks as a duchess: Her first four patronages were announced, and she made her first official visit to one of them, Smart Works, that Thursday.
Despite reports in certain British tabloids, the source said, Meghan and Harry were never intended to be in Sandringham, where Kate and William’s home and party venue Anmer Hall is, that day.
The source also made clear that while Meghan and Kate are friendly and supportive of each other—no war, no feud—they simply have different interests and friends. Many of Kate’s closest friends are from her years at Marlborough College, the boarding school she attended, and the University of St. Andrews, the college she attended with William. Many of Meghan’s closest friends, on the other hand, are from Northwestern University (where Meghan went to school), the U.S., and Canada from her career shooting Suits in Toronto. Given their different backgrounds, it’s perfectly normal that they don’t have the same social circle. So they aren’t best friends, but there were no snubs or drama behind Meghan and Harry’s absence at Kate’s party.
A separate royal source previously told ELLE.com that “the stories of the two duchesses having a major ongoing feud are just overblown. They have enormous respect for each other and are both devoted to representing Her Majesty in the humanitarian and charitable work they do.”