EXCLUSIVE Have the Beckhams been ‘Markled’? David and Victoria’s close friendship with Meghan and Harry is ‘over’ after being left ‘absolutely furious’ at claims they leaked stories about the royal couple – as Duchess cultivates new group of chums
- MAIL ON SUNDAY EXCLUSIVE
- The friendship between the Sussexes and the Beckhams seems to have died
Years ago when she was an actress, Meghan Markle often wrote in her blog The Tig about the group she called her ‘closest friends’. Some were soulmates, others were celebrities she met at showbiz events and parties. Gradually, that circle of chums broadened to include clothes designers, socialites and charity campaigners.
Among them were David and Victoria Beckham, who were guests at her wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor in 2018. However, their friendship seems to have died. Reciprocally, Meghan and Harry were not guests at the wedding of the Beckhams’ son Brooklyn to US heiress Nicola Peltz in April last year.
Nor were either of the Sussexes at one of the biggest celebrity events of the year, last weekend, when Argentina’s Lionel Messi made his debut for David’s Inter Miami football team as Kim Kardashian, tennis legend Serena Williams and a host of other big names partied in the VIP boxes.
Like many in Meghan’s world, the Beckhams appear to have been ‘Markled’. The word is cruelly used by critics of the one-time soap serial actress to describe how she is seemingly able to swiftly move on from some of those once closest to her.
Most notoriously ‘Markled’ has been her father Thomas, 79, after he sold paparazzi pictures of himself preparing for his daughter’s wedding.
Like many in Meghan’s world, the Beckhams appear to have been ‘Markled’. The word is cruelly used by critics to describe how she is seemingly able to swiftly move on from some of those once closest to her
David and Victoria Beckham were guests at Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor in 2018 (pictured)
Meghan now very rarely speaks to her childhood best friend Ninaki Priddy after they reportedly fell out over Meghan’s treatment of her first husband Trevor Engelson. Even stylist Jessica Mulroney, Meghan’s one-time ‘Best Friend Forever’, whose children were pageboys and a bridesmaid at the Sussexes’ wedding, may have fallen by the wayside. Ever since Mulroney became embroiled in a racism row with a social media influencer in 2020, she has not been photographed in public.
In the Beckhams’ case, there was a suspicion the couple may have leaked stories about the Sussexes, an accusation The Mail on Sunday has been told left David ‘absolutely bloody furious’. A source close to the Beckhams said: ‘David and Victoria went to Meghan and Harry’s wedding and were very supportive when Meghan arrived in the UK.’
The couples bonded because Izzy May, David Beckham’s communications director, was friends with Markus Anderson, chief membership officer for private social club Soho House, who helped arrange Meghan’s secret dates with Harry.
But the accusations, which The Mail on Sunday has been told came in a tense phone call, fractured the Beckham friendship. The source added: ‘Any making up now is so unlikely.’
Meghan has simply moved on.
She is now said to be ‘extremely close’ to cosmetics tycoon Victoria Jackson, a near neighbour at the Sussexes’ £11.5million Montecito, California, mansion, whose husband Bill Guthy spearheaded lucrative make-up brands launched by actress Jennifer Lopez and supermodel Cindy Crawford.
A source in Montecito said: ‘Victoria is a dynamic force. She’s someone who built a business but has also overcome adversity in her private life. She and Meghan bond on many levels. They are extremely close, they adore each other.’
Neither Meghan or Harry were at one of the biggest celebrity events of the year last weekend (pictured), when Argentina’s Lionel Messi made his debut for David’s Inter Miami football team
The Beckhams attended the sporting event last week while the Sussexes were absent
Meghan and Harry were not guests at the wedding of the Beckhams’ son Brooklyn to US heiress Nicola Peltz in April last year (pictured)
While Meghan and Harry’s ‘Archewell’ charity has yet to kick into high gear (the most recent publicly-available records show the charity raised £10.1million but distributed £2.3million), Jackson has raised millions through her Guthy-Jackson Foundation to help victims of autoimmune disorder Neuromyelitis Optica, from which Jackson’s daughter suffers. ‘Victoria knows all about building a brand but also about giving back,’ the source said. ‘She’s advising Meghan on many levels.’
Another new member of Meghan’s circle is hairdresser Amanda Leone whose salon in a shopping mall in Montecito is patronised by another Meghan buddie, television personality Ellen DeGeneres.
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Meghan was seen going into the salon the day before the Coronation on May 6, which Harry attended solo while his wife stayed home for their son Archie’s fourth birthday. A source said: ‘Meghan and Ellen are close and the word is that Ellen recommended the salon. Everyone in there loves Meghan.’ The Duchess has become close, too, to Hollywood power agent Ari Emanuel, head of William Morris Endeavor, which signed Meghan in April.
He is married to designer Sarah Staudinger, whose pink linen short suit Meghan wore to an LA Lakers basketball game.
A Hollywood agent said: ‘Ari and his wife are part of Meghan’s new friendship group. Meghan has a close-knit circle of friends who are very protective of her.’
She has been spotted at the exclusive San Vicente Bungalows, where all guests, no matter how famous, have to cover their phone cameras with a sticker.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem is a core member of Meghan’s new support group. ‘They talk regularly,’ said a friend of Steinem’s.
Steinem presented an award to Meghan in New York in May, an event overshadowed by the Duchess’s spokesperson claiming a ‘near fatal’ paparazzi car chase unfolded as the Sussexes and Meghan’s mother attempted to leave.
A loyal ally in what one Hollywood executive called Meghan’s ‘Montecito Mafia’ is photographer Misan Harriman. Other constants are Sarah Rafferty and Abigail Spencer, her co-stars from legal drama TV series Suits.
Meghan is now said to be ‘extremely close’ to cosmetics tycoon Victoria Jackson (left), a near neighbour at the Sussexes’ £11.5million Montecito, California, mansion, whose husband Bill Guthy (right) spearheaded lucrative make-up brands launched by actress Jennifer Lopez and supermodel Cindy Crawford
Stylist Jessica Mulroney (left), Meghan’s one-time ‘Best Friend Forever’, whose children were pageboys and a bridesmaid at the Sussexes’ wedding, may have fallen by the wayside. Ever since Mulroney became embroiled in a racism row with a social media influencer in 2020, she has not been photographed in public
Singer Katy Perry and her fiance, actor Orlando Bloom (pictured), their neighbours in Montecito, have also reportedly drifted from Meghan’s circle
The Obamas (pictured) have been less high-profile in support of the Sussexes, contrary to the consensus of opinion after the latter’s estrangement from the Royal Family
Designer Misha Nonoo, photographed holidaying with Meghan on the Duchess’s now-defunct blog The Tig, remains close, as does Lindsay Roth, a writer Meghan first met while a student at Northwestern University in Chicago.
‘Of course Oprah (Winfrey) and Gayle King [both US TV personalities] are tight with Meghan,’ the Montecito source said.
It has been rumoured that King hopes to do a big TV interview with the Duchess. But many friends from around the time of her Windsor Chapel wedding, including the Clooneys, are no longer believed to be in Meghan’s social circle. George Clooney was once asked how he knew Meghan. He replied: ‘I don’t.’
While Meghan was reportedly close to Clooney and his lawyer wife Amal, visiting them at their homes in LA and Oxfordshire, they are no longer ‘bosom buddies’. The Clooneys are more linked to King Charles, appearing at a Prince’s Trust event in London in May.
Singer Katy Perry and her fiance, actor Orlando Bloom, their neighbours in Montecito, have also reportedly drifted from Meghan’s circle. ‘Katy was close at one point but she has been travelling a lot so it’s been hard to sustain a close friendship,’ another source in LA said. ‘Katy performed at King Charles’ coronation concert, so perhaps she’s taken sides?’
Meghan has quietly been building friendships with members of the Kennedy political dynasty including Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert who was assassinated in 1968. She praised Meghan for her ‘heroic’ stance against ‘structural racism’ in the Royal Family.
For now, Meghan and Harry are focusing on the Invictus Games to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany, in September. Their documentary Heart of Invictus is set to air on Netflix next month
Meghan’s political aspirations have long been fodder for the gossip mill. Sources in Washington said Meghan and Harry tried in vain to catch a ride home from the Queen’s funeral on Air Force One.
A high-profile Democrat donor said: ‘Everyone thought Joe Biden’s wife Jill was close to Harry because she turned up at the Invictus Games, but, clearly, if this story was leaked by someone in the Biden camp, perhaps that’s not the case.’
The Obamas have been less high-profile in support of the Sussexes, contrary to the consensus of opinion after the latter’s estrangement from the Royal Family. ‘There was an expectation that we would see Meghan and Harry at events with the Obamas, but there has been nothing,’ the Democrat donor said.
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‘Everyone was initially talking about how the Obamas had taken the Sussexes under their wing. But if that was once the case, it doesn’t appear to be so now.’ California Governor Gavin Newsom failed to respond to repeated questions from The Mail on Sunday about whether he has ‘blocked’ Meghan, as has been reported in the US.
There were unsubstantiated reports she may have lobbied Newsom about a possible political role.
‘There has been a lot of talk about Meghan cosying up to the east coast Kennedys,’ the donor said.
Singer Mariah Carey is also reportedly off the friendship list. She called Meghan a ‘diva’ on the Duchess’s now-cancelled Spotify podcast. Courteney Cox, of Friends fame, was reportedly ‘upset’ when Harry revealed in his memoir Spare that he got high on magic mushrooms at her house.
Even Harry’s ghostwriter J R Moehringer is said to have suffered ‘tense moments’ with the couple, though he has not been ‘Markled’.
For now, Meghan and Harry are focusing on the Invictus Games to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany, in September. Their documentary Heart of Invictus is set to air on Netflix next month.
‘Meghan has been uncharacteristically quiet in the public domain,’ a showbiz PR expert said. ‘But she has powerful new friends, so don’t expect the silence to last long.’
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