Prince Harry of UK and his wife Meghan must be “struggling” to cope as their royal rift is played out in a legal battle, a relative has claimed.
In documents lodged at the High Court this week, the Duchess of Sussex has insisted she was left “unprotected” by the Royal Family while pregnant with son Archie.
It’s the latest salvo fired in her continuing fight with a newspaper over published extracts of a letter she sent to dad Thomas.
And the stress of their new life is also said to be taking its toll on Harry who is missing the close bond he once had with his brother Prince William.
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The relative of Meghan, who does not want to be named, told the Sunday Mirror: “She has gone very quiet. I think she is likely to be feeling extremely low and probably struggling.
“The legal battle and the increased tension it’s created with the royals due to the information that’s coming out has to be putting a lot of strain on them both.
“Meghan’s been a lot more distant and introverted over the last few weeks – her family is worried. And Harry must be tormented by his fractured family ties.
"He was particularly down on William’s birthday on June 21.”
This week it emerged 37-year-old Meghan has named in court papers five friends who gave an interview to US People magazine defending her and criticising her father.
But she denies authorising them to do it.
She insisted her friends spoke to the magazine only because they were worried for her.
Meghan also claimed she had been the subject of numerous damaging and distressing articles, with Kensington Palace ordering her to say nothing but “no comment”.
Her legal document stated: “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”
The couple quit as frontline royals in January to move to Canada before settling in Los Angeles. Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts from the handwritten letter she sent to her father Thomas, 75, in August 2018.
It was written three months after he was unable to walk her down the aisle following a heart attack. The former Suits actress claims the letter was private.
The newspaper says Mr Markle wanted its content published to correct any false impression her friends had given about what it contained when they gave their magazine interviews.
Meghan has identified one of her five pals, Friend A, as the person who told People magazine the letter said: “Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father.
“Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship.”
In court documents Meghan claimed this was an “unfortunately inaccurate” portrayal of her letter, insisting many times she had known nothing of her closest friends’ decision to go public.
Her friends now face the prospect of having to testify on oath in the High Court that this is true.
Meghan is also believed to have been hit hard by her spat with long-time pal Jessica Mulroney who was caught up in a race row last month.
Meghan has distanced herself from the stylist after Ms Mulroney, 40, threatened to sue black influencer Sasha Exeter when the pair got into a dispute over white privilege on Instagram.
The relative added: “Meghan’s fallout with Jessica has hit her really hard and she’s not even been speaking to some of her closest friends.
“She’s shut down – and they think she’s at a loss over who to even trust any longer.”