Meghan Markle looked like any other posh mom as she hit up a local farmers’ market near the $14.7 million Montecito, California, home she shares with husband Prince Harry and their children, Archie, 4, and 2-year-old Lilibet, in mid-July. Dressed in a tan maxidress and a white linen button-down shirt, the 41-year-old stopped to sample some honey, then grabbed some fresh pink and white flowers before heading off with one of her dogs — and a bodyguard — at her side.

On the surface, Meghan and Harry seem like they’re adjusting to their new life in the U.S. just fine. But a source tells In Touch that behind closed doors, the couple have reached their breaking point. As their popularity continues to plummet — and a number of failed ventures have left them stressed about money — they’ve become desperate to get back into the royal fold. “Harry and Meghan have secretly reached out to Harry’s brother, Prince William, to discuss the possibility of returning to the royal family,” says the source, adding, “This is something they both want very much.”

Harry, 38, and Meghan had big dreams of conquering Hollywood when they stepped down from their royal roles in early 2020. But after making a splash with a blockbuster TV interview in which they lit into the royal family, they’ve failed to do much more than repeat their original story. Meghan, for one, recognizes that a return to royal favor might be career saving. “It could put a new spin on their brand,” notes the insider. “It could help her and Harry to carry on their work informing others on how to make this a better world.” (Another upside, the source says, the former Suits star thinks it would be “lovely” for her kids to have English accents)

They could use the boost. In June, Spotify pulled the plug on their $20 million deal with the pair’s production company, Archewell Audio, and their $100 million Netflix deal is currently hanging on by a thread — in part due to the current writers strike. “The Spotify cancellation was bad enough,” says the source. “Now that their Netflix deal is in jeopardy, Harry and Meghan are freaking out about their finances.”

The fact is, their star power has failed them. “The Sussexes aren’t very popular in the U.S.,” points out the insider. “Whatever they do is constantly being ridiculed and misinterpreted.” In May, for example, they were mocked for claiming they’d been involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” for more than two hours with the paparazzi following an event in New York City. (The NYPD later declined to pursue any additional investigation.) And new reports allege that the pair’s attempts to win favor with President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have fallen flat. Afraid of ruffling royal feathers, the first family reportedly rejected the couple’s request to ride home from Queen Elizabeth II’s September 2022 funeral on Air Force One and Jill declined an invitation to Harry’s Invictus Games that April. “Harry and Meghan had wonderful plans for Archewell but they just haven’t materialized the way they expected,” says the insider. “They want to recharge their global brand and make a real difference in the world and they need something that will make them look relevant again.”

As the couple — who were stripped of their HRH titles by Queen Elizabeth — entered into top-secret negotiations, the future king is looking at the big picture. “William wants to put his feud with Harry behind them for the sake of the monarchy,” says the insider. However, he’s driving a hard bargain when it comes to his little brother’s hope to split his time between London and California. “He will agree to let Harry come back but not as a ‘part-time royal,’” says the source. “He says it wouldn’t be fair to the other working members of the royal family — and that if Harry expects to get back on the royal payroll he’ll have to make a clean break from his life in the U.S.” Backing him at the bargaining table is his wife, Kate Middleton, says the insider. “She’s privately counseling William to be firm and to not compromise his integrity.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle In Talks to Return to Royal Family: ‘Something They Both Want’
Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock

For his part, Harry wants assurances that his and Meghan’s complaints about her treatment by the royal family — which she says left her feeling suicidal — have been taken seriously. “They accused the royals of racism and stand by that claim,” says the insider. “They think implicit bias training would be a good thing for the royal family to invest in.” (William has insisted the royal family “is not racist.”) Harry is also adamant that they keep their Montecito pad. “Harry doesn’t want to become a prisoner of the palace,” explains the insider. “He and Meghan want to keep a sense of balance in their lives and their mental health intact.”

Still, the couple are willing to concede some points for the newly cost-conscious royal family. “He and Meghan are offering to rent an apartment at Kensington Palace and furnish it themselves,” reveals the insider. “He hopes that will please William and show that they’re serious about coming back.”

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