Meghan Markle’s inner circle wants to set the record straight. Five of her close friends opted to speak with People off the record on the two years of persecution they say she’s faced in the press.
"Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths," a longtime friend and former costar told the magazine of the time since her engagement to Prince Harry was announced.
The conversation touched on a number of subjects.
Now that they’re expecting their first child together, "we worry about what this is doing to her and the baby," the costar says. "It’s wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they’re pregnant."
Her life with Harry at Kensington Palace’s Nottingham Cottage is totally normal, they insist. "We’ve all been to their cottage," says a close confidante. "It’s small and she’s made it cozy, but the perception of their lifestyle and the reality are two different things. Meg cooks for herself and Harry every single day."
Another says: "We had a couple of days together recently. Her husband was out of town on work. In the room she made up for me, there was a candle lit by the bed, slippers and a robe. We were the only two in the house. It was our time. She made the most lovely meals. She made tea every day. It was raining and muddy outside, so the dogs got all dirty, and she’s wiping them off with towels. How much she loves her animals, how much she loves her friends, how much she loves feeding you, taking care of you — none of that has changed."
Meghan has come under fire for her strained relationship with her father Thomas Markle and her half-sister Samantha who they say "were not a part of her life."
"He knows how to get in touch with her," adds the longtime friend. "He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super-painful."
They also insist she’s kind and warm, nothing like the dictator she has been painted to be (several staff defections and a rumored feud with sister-in-law Kate Middleton didn’t help).
"When you see her at walkabouts, when she crouches down to talk to the kids and genuinely has real conversations with people, that’s Meg," says the former costar. "That’s how she crouches down with our kids at home. That’s how she plays with them. That’s how she engages with people and how she always has."