After 16 days and 76 official engagements, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's tour of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific finally drew to a close last week.
By all accounts, it was one of the most successful royal tours in recent memory. Meghan, in particular, was widely praised after she gave an empowering speech on female suffrage in New Zealand (during which she refrained from using notes and spoke Māori). Then, in a moving moment, the Duchess was seen having a surprise meeting with a 20-year-old student who she had once counselled on Instagram (way before she met Prince Harry).
But despite the positive headlines on tour, which also saw Meghan navigate the early stages of pregnancy, the pair returned home to a slew of less-than-favourable stories about their extended family. And for once, they weren't about Meghan's father. Just days before the tour ended, news erupted of an explosive new biography about Prince Charles (Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes And Dreams) by royal commentator and Grazia contributor Robert Jobson.
He followed the Prince of Wales and his closest associates around the world for 18 months to gather information for the book. Among his claims was the revelation that there has long been a 'froideur' between Princes William and Harry and their father. According to sources, that distance has only recently come to an end thanks to the arrival of Meghan (more on which later).
"To this day," Robert writes in the biography, "Charles admits he often finds it difficult to gauge either of his sons' occasionally unpredictable moods. Both boys blame Charles for being absent through much of their childhood."
In an exclusive interview with Grazia last week, the royal writer said, "The sons have had difficulties with Charles, which the public may be surprised to know. In particular, I know that he was upset and wounded when he wasn't mentioned as someone who had raised his children in a documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy last year. There were also tensions over Diana, with the way that the boys' mother has been perceived to have been treated."
Yet, say experts, the princes' relationship with their father has finally thawed. So much so that Prince Harry gave a moving and warm speech on his father's 70th birthday this year – to the surprise of many. The reason? Meghan, who is said to have 'transformed' the prince's relationship with Charles and finally brought the pair closer together.
"Meghan has certainly helped," said Robert. "She is someone who has been divorced, and who has had family issues herself. She has made Harry look at things from a different perspective, and has shown him that relationships aren't always black and white with parents or family. Plus, she gets on very well with the Prince of Wales. She has improved the relationship and built bridges between them. In a way, she has been a peacemaker."
According to a second source, Meghan's impact on Harry's character has also helped heal divisions. "Meghan has really changed Harry," said the royal insider.
"In the short time that they've been together, she's made him far more emotional and open about his feelings. She actively indulges in the idea that he's a boy who grew up without a mother and that attitude helps."
Via our sister site Grazia.
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