Sleek in a flowing maxiskirt over a spaghetti-strap bodysuit, Meghan Markle beamed next to her husband, Prince Harry, dressed down in an open-collar shirt and jacket. The two had jetted to Jamaica for the January 23 premiere of the biopic Bob Marley: One Love, about the late reggae legend, at the Carib Theatre. After the screening, the pair — who famously stepped down from royal duties and moved to the U.S. in 2020 — shared their thoughts about the film with the gathered luminaries, including the island’s prime minister, Andrew Holness. “It’s amazing,” Meghan gushed, according to an onlooker, calling the film “perfect.”
The timing, not so much. The glam premiere coincided with a dual health crisis that has shaken the royal family, with King Charles III, 75, undergoing a prostate procedure and 42-year-old Princess Kate facing a long recovery period after abdominal surgery. But an insider says Harry and Meghan, estranged from Charles, Kate and her husband, Prince William, after repeatedly criticizing the monarchy, are keeping their distance from their ailing relatives. “They sent messages of goodwill, wishing them all the best for a speedy recovery,” an insider tells In Touch. “They didn’t feel compelled to do more, in part because of the frosty relationship they currently have with the royals.”
Of course, some saw the Jamaica jaunt — and cozying up to Holness — as sending a different kind of message to the Prince and Princess of Wales. After all, the prime minister is an advocate for transitioning the former British colony into a republic and ousting King Charles as the head of state. In March 2022, the Wales’ tour of Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica was deemed a disaster. Instead of drumming up support for the crown, the couple repeatedly faced crowds protesting the royal family’s connection to the island’s slave-holding past. Ultimately, William, 41, expressed his “profound sorrow,” saying, “Slavery was abhorrent and it never should have happened.” The tour was widely considered an embarrassment for the royal family. (“There was no responsibility taken!” one group declared. “No call out to centuries of British bloody conquest and plunder.”) Harry, 39, and biracial American Meghan, 42, on the other hand, were welcomed with open arms. Says the insider, “They were happy to offer a counterpoint following William and Kate’s disastrous trip to the region.”
The visit didn’t go unnoticed 4,695 miles away in London. “They had to know they were effectively sending an anti-royalist message,” says the insider. “That’s a big slap in the face to Charles and the other royals.” William, in particular, was not pleased. “It’s a red rag to a bull when it comes to William,” adds the insider. “He undoubtedly sees it as another move to undermine the royal family.”
Of course, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s journey wasn’t all about clapping back at the royal family. The pair were hosted by Paramount boss Brian Robbins, leading some to speculate that the parents of two are in search of a new moneymaking deal. After all, they lost their $19 million Spotify contract last spring, and their $100 million Netflix deal ends next year. The Archewell founders have been criticized for not producing enough content to merit their huge paydays. “The upshot is they’re still hugely ambitious,” says the insider, adding, “They’re working overtime to land deals.”
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