Opening the lines of communication. Prince Harry and Prince William reconnected over the holidays despite their physical distance as the brothers take steps to repair their relationship following their rift.

“There were phone and video calls over the Christmas and New Year holiday and the Sussexes sent presents to the Cambridges and vice versa,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Friday, January 8. “It was an opportunity in an otherwise very busy and chaotic year for both of the families to come together and connect, albeit virtually.”

The Duke of Cambridge,  38, and the Duke of Sussex, 36, have had a falling out that dated back to 2018. Tensions grew between the sons of the late Princess Diana when Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced they would be stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family on January 8, 2020. Their announcement led to a meeting between the British royal family, which has since been dubbed the “Sandringham Summit” — and that’s when things boiled over. But putting some distance between the brothers seems to have done wonders for their relationship.

“Things are a lot better between William and Harry. If you go back a year at that stage, these brothers were barely on talking terms,” Nicholl recalled. “When William went to the Sandringham Summit, he was so angry with his brother. He couldn’t even face going to that lunch with the Queen. He only went for the meetings, such was his frustration and feeling of disappointment about what his brother had done and how Harry was handling the situation.”

Harry and Meghan, 39, agreed to finish out their previously scheduled royal engagements and their final appearance as members of the royal family was on March 9, 2020, at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. Four months after their departure, an insider exclusively revealed to In Touch that William and his wife, Duchess Kate, respected Harry and Meghan‘s “right” to a new life, but they still did not approve of “the way he’s gone about it.”

Since then, Harry and Meghan moved to Montecito, California, where they plan to raise their son, 20-month-old Archie. Following their exit from the royal family and moving across the Atlantic, the couple also suffered a devastating miscarriage in July 2020. But everything they’ve been through over the past year has “brought them closer together,” a source told Us Weekly in early January. “[It’s] made them a stronger couple.”

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