A year ago, tensions were running high between the monarchy and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for their somewhat clumsy exit as senior royals. This year, things are looking up as the relationship between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appears to be healing after a tumultuous time, with Meghan and Harry leading the way by honoring Kate Middleton on her 39th birthday.
But this isn’t a sign they’ve been friendly all along — the move was actually completely unexpected by Kate. The stateside couple sent a birthday card and several gifts to mark the celebratory occasion, which “was a nice surprise,” a source told Us Weekly. “Kate wasn’t expecting anything from the couple.”
This kind gesture comes after the two families made an effort to reconnect over the holiday season via video phone calls — it’s a big deal considering the brothers were barely speaking to each other last year.
“There were phone and video calls over the Christmas and New Year holiday and the Sussexes sent presents to the Cambridges and vice versa,” royal expert Katie Nicholl revealed to Entertainment Tonight. “It was an opportunity in an otherwise very busy and chaotic year for both of the families to come together and connect, albeit virtually.”
While Prince William has been harder on his younger brother for leaving the royal family, it’s Kate and Meghan who have been speeding up the reconciliation. The Duchess of Cambridge is said to be “desperate to spend face time” and have the two families together soon. With the annual Trooping the Colour celebration coming in June, the two couples hope that the event will be their first opportunity to reunite.
Even though Kate’s birthday celebration on Saturday was a low-key affair, including a tea party thrown by Prince William and their three kids, Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, the Sussexes’ thoughtful gifts made a big impact. The families are living two different lives, but coming together as a united front appears to be on both of their agendas.
Click here to see the 100 best photos of the royal family from the past 20 years.