There are dysfunctional families – and then there is the British Royal Family.
Normally, their tensions can be eased by distance: with palatial homes all over the British Isles, there’s plenty of room for them to avoid relatives they’d rather not speak to or see. But this week has been a huge challenge for the security guards at Windsor Great Park as they work to prevent an unwanted call-up.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle briefly returned to Frogmore Cottage, their former home on the grounds, as they attended events such as the One Young World Summit and Thursday’s Well Child Awards.
On the same property, just 0.5 miles away, is Adelaide Cottage – the brand new home of Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton and their three children.
And royal staff have gone to great lengths to ensure that the four, who are currently in an infamous relationship, do not run into each other.
“The staff are hysterical because they literally live steps away from each other and don’t get along,” a palace insider told Vidak For Congress.
Also nearby? Royal Lodge, the $35 million mansion occupied by the Prince’s disgraced uncle, Prince Andrew — who has been evicted after getting caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse scandal — and his ex-wife and constant companion, Sarah Ferguson.
“Adelaide Cottage, Royal Lodge and Frogmore traditionally share gardens on the estate,” said the palace insider.
“However, they are unlikely to be used by all three families at once due to the animosity. if [any of them] if you intend to use the gardens, they must be planned through private secretaries and security. The Yorks’ diary secretary will need to contact the Cambridge secretary and coordinate schedules with the Sussex secretary.
And William can crush the other’s garden walk, it seems.
“There’s a lot of hierarchy – with William and Kate at the top – and they don’t get along with any of the others,” the palace insider added.
A representative from the Cambridges had no comment.
Of course, there’s a neighbor even higher in the power rankings: At the center of the action is Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth’s most important homes.
When the Queen is in residence, she often walks her dogs with Andrew at Frogmore Gardens.
Both William and his father, Prince Charles, have taken steps to ensure Andrew doesn’t come into the public eye, such as preventing him from attending the ceremonial Knights of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier this year.
Harry and Meghan used to have a close relationship with Andrew and in particular Sarah, who taught the American actress how to do a bow. And although the Sussexes now live in California, Harry remains close to his cousins, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, the daughters of Andrew and Sarah.
But after revelations about Andrew’s friendship with Epstein and his $12 million payment to settle a Virginia Giuffre sexual abuse lawsuit, it’s a political hot potato to be seen with him in public.
Meanwhile, the royal family has plenty to worry about with the impending release of Harry’s memoir.
According to royal journalist and commentator Joshua Rom, William sees his brother and uncle as a danger to the institution of the monarchy.
“Prince William has a tremendous sense of duty and I think that really influences his thinking,” Rom said. “The Queen is quitting many engagements and while Prince Charles looks forward to becoming the future king, Prince William knows he has to step down – meaning the monarchy must be protected at all costs. That’s the mantra for him.
“He has these two separate problems: Harry criticizing the monarchy and Andrew wanting to work in public again, but there is so much public distaste for him that it could cause a huge backlash. There is danger in both.”
While this current chain of events will be short-lived, Harry and Meghan are returning to the…
States by the weekend, that doesn’t mean it’s over.
“Harry especially wants to spend more time in the UK,” said the palace insider. “He wants his children to be part of the royal family’s legacy.”