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Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Marriage Has ‘Been Tested’

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In September 2012, Princess Kate and Prince William spent three days in Singapore during their Southeast Asia tour, which was Kate’s second overseas trip since becoming a royal. “It has been 11 years since Catherine and I enjoyed a memorable visit here,” William recalled shortly after he arrived in the country on November 6, revealing that his wife couldn’t join him this time because she’s helping their 10-year-old son, Prince George, with exams. “Catherine is very
sorry she can’t be here.”

Or was she? “William and Kate’s marriage has really been tested in the last year or so, and they’re cracking under the pressure,” a source tells In Touch exclusively of the pair. “They could use the time apart.” They’re dealing with raising three children, the fallout from Prince Harry’s scathing memoir, Spare, and the fact that their workload has been doubled as a result of Megxit and King Charles’ efforts to “slim down” the monarchy. Until now, William and Kate, both 41, had always faced adversity as a team. “But being forced to spend so much time together in the public eye has only added to the tension. Recently, things got so heated between them that they went two weeks without speaking to each other,” says the source. “It’s so bad behind the scenes, palace aides have been scheduling them more and more for separate engagements just so the two of them can cool off.”

Times have changed. “Kate and William’s joint appearances have always been wildly popular, but now they’re doing more on their own. Any married couple would feel the strain from working together all day, every day,” says the source. And just like his father was with his mother, Princess Diana, William “has begun to resent how much more beloved she is. He likes doing events on his own, because Kate draws all the spotlight when they’re together.”

At the few events they have attended together recently, his jealousy manifests in the occasional remark that cuts a little too deep, “like a dismissive comment about her cooking, or when he told her to ‘chop-chop’ to rush her along at a wedding over the summer,” notes the source. “Or he’ll simply ignore her, like in a podcast they did with Princess Anne in September, where Kate could barely get a word in edgewise.”

When they do talk, it’s often to argue. “They’ve definitely fought over work, but one of their biggest battles right now is their fundamental disagreement over their children’s education,” says the source. They brought George on a tour of William’s alma mater, Eton, over the summer, sparking speculation that his exams are for entrance into the posh boarding school. “Kate fought with him about this for years, but William seems to have won,” says the source, “and she’s upset that he’s ignoring her wishes.”

But she’s also guilty of doing the same to him. “William has wanted to extend an olive branch to Harry for a while now,” says the source, “but Kate is refusing to apologize. She’s still stewing over Meghan and Harry’s unflattering revelations about her, and William has even accused her of picking fights with Meghan.”

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It’s hard to blame Kate for resenting Meghan. In the more than two decades of being linked to William, Kate has never gotten so much negative press. First Meghan, 42, told the world that Kate made her cry over bridesmaids’ dresses at her wedding. Then, in Spare, Harry, 39, partially blamed William and Kate for his poor decision to wear a Nazi costume in 2005; detailed how Kate “grimaced” when Meghan asked to borrow her lip gloss at a joint event; and even accused his sister-in-law of being “on edge” once she realized she was “going to be compared to, and forced to compete with, Meg.”

And Kate is about to face more judgment. Meghan recently admitted she provided information, through a friend, for the royal exposé Finding Freedom — and now the same author’s new book, Endgame, “threatens to expose additional salacious details about the royals,” says the source. “Kate’s made it clear she’ll never forgive Meghan now, even though William is insisting they make peace for the greater good of the family.”

Overall, Kate is refusing to bow down to her husband’s demands. “She’s asserting her independence and starting to ignore a piece of heartfelt advice Queen Camilla gave her long before she wed William,” says the source, citing what royal biographer Robert Lacey wrote in his book Battle of Brothers: “Camilla confided to Kate the secret of hanging on to a busy prince: Fit your timetable — well, basically your whole life — around his.”

Still, Kate hasn’t defied him entirely. “William and Kate are both professionals,” says a source, pointing out that she went to engagements while he was in Singapore. “They’re committed to their duties.”

And their marriage. “Even when they’re at odds, William and Kate still love each other,” says the source. “And, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So when they do see each other after being apart, they tend to appreciate each other more.”

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