Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton are heading towards a tense public reunion at a time when their husbands' relationship is going through a rough patch.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have not been seen with Kate Middleton and Prince William since March last year, when the British royal family attended the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London. The engagement, which took place just days ahead of the Sussexes' official exit from the royal family, was filled with awkward hellos and smiles between the royal couples.

In videos from the event, Harry and Meghan were seen seated when William and Kate approached their seats in the front row. It led to one of the most awkward royal greetings. The footage showed Harry smiling and greeting his brother when he saw him and Kate approaching. Meghan meanwhile, said "hi," then waved at the couple, and then said "hello" once again.

In response, William made a brief eye contact with his brother and sister-in-law and nodded, while Kate did not appear to acknowledge them at all, even though the Cambridges properly greeted Prince Edward and Countess Sophie who were seated beside the Sussexes.

A similar cold meeting can be expected at the unveiling of a statue of the late Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in July this year, as there are still several "unresolved issues" between the couples. However, royal expert Katie Nicholl explains that things have greatly improved since the last time.

Speaking on True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat, Katie said: "There is no suggestion that this friendship or relationship is what it once was, it's come under unbearable strain. This time last year they weren't talking to one and another. William was so angry with Harry that he didn't go to that lunch ahead of the Sandringham Summit, that's how bad things were."

"If you fast forward a year and look at now, yes they spent the holiday season in touch and presents were exchanged, they were on Zoom calls. There is an ocean between them, there is a big time difference. There is a distance between them. Things are better. There are still things to overcome but I think they all realise that for the greater good, you do have to move on in life," she added.

Nicholl believes that the unveiling of their mother's statue might be just the thing that reunites the royal siblings, as well as the Royal "Fab Four." She said: "I think the intention is that the four of them will be together."

Princess Diana's statue will sit in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, where she lived before her death in 1997. The statue was first announced in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death, but its installation was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. It will now be unveiled on July 1 this year, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

The British royals
Rumours that all was not well with the Sussexes surfaced in October when Harry, sixth in line to the throne, admitted that he and William were "on different paths" and had good and bad days in their relationship. Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS