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Meghan Markle’s friend Lainey Lui may be source of rift claims

A gossip columnist friend of the Duchess of Sussex has emerged as the possible source of a book’s claims about deep rifts in the Royal Family.

Lainey Lui uses her website to share thoughts on the royals and has made no secret of her admiration for Meghan.

Some of the Canadian’s comments bear a striking resemblance to passages in Finding Freedom, the controversial biography of the Sussexes.

Miss Lui was a friend of Meghan before she started dating Prince Harry. They were pictured on a night out with the actress’s best friend Jess Mulroney and her husband Ben.

Miss Lui, who for 15 years worked on TV show Etalk with Mr Mulroney, son of a former Canadian prime minister, runs the Lainey Gossip website on which she regularly posts in support of Meghan.

One of the articles from May uses the phrase ‘viper courtiers’ in reference to palace staff she claims leaked information to the UK tabloids.

In Finding Freedom, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand write about how a friend of the couple referred to the ‘old guard’ as ‘the vipers’.

Miss Lui, 46, shared an anecdote about a famous woman being snubbed on a shopping trip. Meghan isn’t named but the account is almost identical to one in the book.

She wrote: ‘You’ve been staying with him, and he’s really serious about you, the most serious he’s been about anyone.

‘He lives in the same complex with someone he’s very close to. And the person he’s close to has a partner too. You and she don’t know each other well.

‘But since you’ve been staying there, you run into each other one day. And you tell her you’re going shopping and where. She says she’s going shopping too and leaves in the car. You head out on foot. Turns out, she went shopping exactly where you went shopping. And she knew that’s where you were going. But she didn’t offer you a ride.’

In the book, the authors tell a similar tale about an ‘awkward moment’ between Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge, when both were heading to the same street but Kate went alone in her Range Rover.

Miss Lui, who regularly reposts tweets by Mr Scobie, also attacked the British press over its coverage of Meghan and told how she hoped Finding Freedom would offer a ‘pro-Sussex version’ on events.

She failed to respond to the Mail’s request for comment. She has not linked herself to the book and has not suggested she spoke to its authors.

Mr Scobie and Miss Durand say they have spoken to more than 100 sources, including ‘close friends of Harry and Meghan, royal aides and palace staff (past and present)’.

A spokesman said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not contribute to the book. Meghan has been said in the past to permit friends to speak to the press on her behalf.

The book’s revelations have led to suggestions that there is no way back for the couple, who have moved to California with their one-year-old son Archie after stepping back from royal duties in January.

Harry was so determined for a clean break from the Royal Family that he initially refused the offer to review the arrangement after a year, it has emerged. The ‘probationary’ period was designed to give the family breathing space while allowing Harry and Meghan to return to the royal fold if they changed their minds.

But a source told The Times: ‘He was adamantly opposed to the review process.’ The source said that ‘under no circumstances would they ever admit this was a big mistake’.

Harry and Meghan are said to be ‘very unlikely’ to join the Queen at Balmoral this summer, despite reportedly receiving an invitation.

The Queen, 94, who has been self-isolating at Windsor Castle since March, is due to travel with Prince Philip, 99, to Scotland next month. They will be joined there by other royals.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying Balmoral arrangements are private.

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