There’s dysfunctional families — and then there is the British royal family.
Normally, their tensions can be alleviated by distance: With palatial homes all over the British Isles, there is enough room for them to avoid relatives they’d rather not speak to or see. But this week has presented a huge challenge for the security detail at Windsor Great Park, as they work to avoid an unwanted run-in.
Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle have made a brief return to Frogmore Cottage, their former home on the property, while attending events such as the One Young World Summit and Thursday’s Well Child Awards.
On the same grounds, a mere 0.3 miles away, is Adelaide Cottage — the brand-new home of Prince William, his wife, Kate Middleton, and their three children.
And royal employees have gone to great lengths to make sure the four, who famously have a frosty relationship at the moment, don’t run into each other.
“Staff are in hysterics because they literally live a stone’s throw from each other and they don’t get along,” one palace insider told Page Six.
Also nearby? Royal Lodge, the $35 million mansion occupied by the princes’ disgraced uncle, Prince Andrew — who has been jettisoned from public view 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 within the estate,” the palace insider said.
“However, it is unlikely that they will be used by all three families at once due to the animosity. If [any of them] do plan on using the gardens, then they will need to be scheduled through private secretaries and security. The Yorks’ diary secretary will have to liaise with the Cambridges’ secretary and coordinate schedules with the Sussex secretary.”
And William can squash the others’ garden walk, it seems.
“There is very much a hierarchy — with William and Kate at the top — and they don’t get along with either of the others,” the palace insider added.
A representative for the Cambridges had no comment.
Of course, there is a neighbor who is even higher in the power rankings: At the center of the action is Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth’s main homes.
The Queen, when she is in residence, often walks her dogs with Andrew in Frogmore Gardens.
Both William and his father, Prince Charles, have been behind moves to ensure Andrew is not in the public spotlight — such as stopping him from attending the ceremonial Knights of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier this year.
Harry and Meghan used to be close to Andrew and, in particular, Sarah, who taught the American actress how to curtsey. And although the Sussexes now live in California, Harry remains close with his cousins Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, who are Andrew and Sarah’s daughters.
But following revelations of Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, and his payment of an estimated $12 million to settle a sex-abuse lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, being seen in public with him is a political hot potato.
According to royal journalist and commentator Joshua Rom, William sees both his brother and uncle as dangers to the institution of the monarchy.
“Prince William has an immense sense of duty and I think that is really impacting his mindset,” Rom said. “The Queen is stepping down from a lot of engagements and while Prince Charles looks forward to becoming the future king, Prince William knows he has to step up — which means protecting the monarchy at all costs. That is the mantra going forward for him.
“He has these two separate problems: Harry criticizing the monarchy and Andrew, who wants to be back on public duty, but there is so much public dislike of him that it could cause a huge backlash. There is danger in both.”
While this current situation will be short-lived, with Harry and Meghan returning to the
States by the weekend, that doesn’t mean it’s over.
“Harry is particularly keen on spending more time in the UK,” said the palace insider. “He wants his children to be part of the royal family’s legacy.”ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!