When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their positions in the royal family, they did so with the expectation that they would be enjoying greater privacy and greater protection from the prying eyes of the tabloid media.
Unfortunately, recent events may have resulted in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex feeling that they're more exposed than ever before.
In the past month alone, three separate developments made it clear that the media scrutiny of Harry and Meghan would not be letting up simply because the couple relocated to California.
First, Meghan's former friend, makeup artist Jessica Mulroney, became embroiled in a race scandal as a result of inappropriate comments she made to a Black influencer on Instagram.
Shortly thereafter, Meghan and Harry sued a photographer, alleging that he had somehow snapped a photo of their 1-year-old son while he was inside the family home.
On top of all that, a new tell-all about the Sussexes has reportedly done further damage to their relationship with Harry's family.
After all of those events transpired in rapid succession, Meghan was probably hoping to ride out the remainder of the pandemic (however long that might be) with no further invasions of her carefully-guarded private life.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Earlier this week, UK tabloid the Express published an interview with a former friend of Meghan's named Ninaki Priddy.
Priddy says she's not surprised that Meghan ended her friendship with Mulroney when it became inconvenient.
In fact, she says that sort of thing is in keeping with the Duchess' well-established behavioral patterns.
Priddy compares the situation to the end of Meghan's first marriage, to film producer Trevor Engelson.
"The person I knew is not there anymore," she said of the Duchess' recent behavior.
"Meg used to tell me she couldn’t imagine a life without Trevor. She said if anything were to happen to him she wouldn’t be able to go on," Priddy recalled.
"He cherished her, too. You should have seen the way he used to hold her face in his hands. We all felt he was her eternal love."
Priddy says the end of the marriage came as a shock to everyone -- including Trevor.
"It was such a shock when she told me they were getting divorced," she said.
"After about three seasons of Suits, she called me and said she wanted me to know because it was going to come out in the papers."
Though Meghan was spending much of her year in Toronto filming Suits, and Trevor was living on the West Coast, Priddy says everyone who knew the couple figured they would have no trouble overcoming the obstacle of distance.
"I knew they fought sometimes, but it wasn’t anything huge," she recalled.
"The only obstacle was the distance because she was living in Toronto and Trevor was based in LA."
Concerned as to how he was affected by being dumped in such a brutal fashion, Priddy went and visited Engelson:
"A month after the divorce, I wanted to see how Trevor was doing," she told the Express.
"We met and talked. It’s not up to me to speak for Trevor, but I know he was travelling to Toronto every few weeks and would have walked the Earth to make their marriage work," Priddy recalled.
"I don’t believe she gave him enough of an opportunity. I think there was an element of 'out of sight, out of mind,'" she added.
"The way she handled it, Trevor definitely had the rug pulled out from under him. He was hurt."
It was just a few months later that Meghan started dating Cory Vitiello, a Toronto-based chef.
Priddy says everyone who knew Meghan was shocked by how quickly she moved on from her marriage.
"I tried to get details from her, but she wouldn’t tell me. What came to light after Trevor and I spoke ended my friendship with Meghan," she said.
"I think everybody who knew them both was in shock," Priddy recalled.
"All I can say now is that I think Meghan was calculated — very calculated — in the way she handled people and relationships."
Priddy said that Meghan tends to be shockingly void of emotions in her dealings with other people -- and that's a part of her that Harry may not have seen yet:
"She is very strategic in the way she cultivates circles of friends. Once she decides you’re not part of her life, she can be very cold," Priddy told the Express.
"It’s this shutdown mechanism she has. There’s nothing to negotiate."
Cold? Calculating? Willing to cut people off due to the slightest offense?
If that's really how Meghan is, she should have fit right in with the royal family!