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Prince William called meghan merciless & bloody woman Harry's PALS say she can be a 500% nightMARE

Pictured: Prince William walks next to Prince Harry and Meghan in 2018

For nearly three years, the small circle of friends close to both Prince William and Prince Harry have been despairing over the searing animosity — the sheer uncompromising, bloody-minded anger — between the two Princes.

But, in April, the sad news of Prince Philip's death seemed to offer a glimmer of hope.

The family gathering for their grandfather's funeral would bring the warring brothers together in an atmosphere of reflection.

Might this be the chance for some healing to develop, wondered a few of their chums?

So, without being too obvious about it, that theme of healing became an element in their friendly chats with their royal mates in the days that followed.

Their friends' gentle nudges seemed to have had some effect that solemn Saturday afternoon as the two princes walked out of St George's Chapel to cross the courtyard side by side — subtly brought together by Kate, who then left the pair to the brotherly exchange of words seen on camera.

Some inching towards reconciliation seemed in progress, their watching friends dared to dream — as did the whole world.

But those hopes were dashed within minutes of the siblings getting inside the castle and beyond camera vision. They started quarrelling again.

'There they were, at each other's throats as fiercely as ever,' relates one long-time friend with a tired and helpless shrug.

'The rage and anger between those two has grown so incredibly deep. Too many harsh and wounding things have been said.'

So, sadly no. There was no reconciliation, and no brotherly sit-down or 'mini summit' following Prince Philip's funeral on April 17 — as was incorrectly reported by one newspaper.

William and Kate did the family rounds and said goodbye to the Queen and Prince Charles — then went home to their children.

So there's the bad news. The conflict between Diana's two bitterly divided sons does not seem likely to end any time soon.

But here are the happier tidings. The oh-so-unforgiving and unforgetting brothers are surrounded by a network of devoted friends and a few family members who are working seriously to ease the path to a truce.

And their efforts are matched by deliberate and constructive initiatives being think-tanked inside the Palace.

There is a peace plan in action — several plans, in fact.

But will the obstinately warring brothers take those up when they reunite next Thursday for the unveiling of their mother's statue? It will be an almost private event, we now know.

Will William and Harry start seeing sense and pay more heed to the advice of the friends they have built up over the years?

This discreet but concerned support system is made up of a blend of schoolmates, playmates, fellow revellers at 'Club H' (the brothers' discotheque in the basement at Highgrove), companions from the Armed forces, royal mentors and aides who have earned special confidence over the years — plus a few older pillars of wisdom and advice among Diana's friends.

This is the sort of web of trust and affinity that we all weave around ourselves as we progress through life — with a crucial difference.

If you study the guest lists of the grand 2011 and 2018 royal weddings, you cannot help but be struck by how many of the same names recur, for the two brothers' social and working lives were always, until recently, exceptionally close.

Their friends made up a particularly tightly knit network until the moment of Meghan's arrival — and when the fraternal split followed, for all its depth and bitterness, the circle of friends did not, in fact, take rival sides.

So, this offers some grounds for hope — we are not looking here at a raging, modern War of the Roses.

Obviously, people have gravitated supportively to one brother or the other, and they have listened sympathetically to their particular royal chum.

But I have not come across any evidence of friends aggravating the hostilities.

Quite the contrary. All the mutual friends I have encountered find themselves seeing both points of view — William's defensiveness of the monarchy as he sees it, and Harry's defensiveness of his wife.

Love versus duty. This is what makes it so painful. The friends commiserate with each other over the tragedy they are witnessing, and they frequently discuss how to heal the breach — though with an increasing sense of despair.

Sussex supporters have noted the bizarre combination of self-promotion and self-pity that characterises Meghan, and can see why it has infuriated William.

'Meghan can be a 500 per cent nightmare,' some close friends of Harry are among the first to admit. 'The never-ending PR. She's just so . . . American!'

On the opposite side, friends of William and Kate are willing to concede the jealousy the Cambridges once felt at being overshadowed by the megawatt younger brother and his wife.

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