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When Meghan Markle made her debut on the arm of Prince Harry, it was a lovely surprise. Not only did Harry finally find a woman who was willing to embark on the wacky royal ride, but also someone equal to the task when it came to humanitarian and philanthropic efforts. But, as with everything else, there’s bad that comes with the good. And, boy, did it quickly turn dark. There’s the racism and sexism, to start, which came not only from unsubstantiated haters but also the media who love to spark rumours and spin tall tales (or, perhaps, since we’ve heard nothing official, totally true but unconfirmed stories) of royal feuds, not to mention give a voice to some of Meghan’s unsavoury family members.

Nutshell? The last two years have been a LOT. And her friends are sick and tired of it.

Five women who “form an essential part of Meghan’s inner circle” have united to take on the cynics and told People magazine they are standing up “against the global bullying we are seeing and speak the truth about our friend.”

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The women requested anonymity because they want to protect their private friendships (and, more than likely, they don’t want the press stalking them and setting up camp outside their homes), but they set the record straight on everything from the kind of friend Meghan is to the real truth behind her “relationship” with the Markles.

“Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths,” said her former co-star, who added that with Meghan’s and Harry’s first child on the way, “we worry about what this is doing to her and the baby. It’s wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they’re pregnant.”

The person who Meghan was is who she continues to be, according to her pals, some of whom she still talks to every day. She’s a good listener who is interested in people and passionate about her work. Simple as that. Pfft, like we doubted it for a second.

“If I’m thrown some kind of curveball, I always think, ‘I gotta talk to Meg,'” said a former colleague. “We talk daily. And the first thing out of her mouth is, ‘How are the kids? How are you?’ I’m not even allowed to ask about her until she finds out about me.”

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Meghan’s former co-star added: “When you see her at walkabouts, when she crouches down to talk to the kids and genuinely has real conversations with people, that’s Meg. That’s how she crouches down with our kids at home. That’s how she plays with them. That’s how she engages with people and how she always has.”

Another friend, who described Meghan’s energy and her and Harry’s relationship as a whole as “calm,” revealed what Meg’s daily home life is like.

“We’ve all been to their cottage,” the friend said. “It’s small and she’s made it cozy, but the perception of their lifestyle and the reality are two different things. Meg cooks for herself and Harry every single day.”

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An L.A. pal who recently spent a couple of days at the cottage, described what the visit was like, and it’s pretty much what we expected. Harry was away for work, but Meghan was the perfect host.

“In the room she made up for me, there was a candle lit by the bed, slippers and a robe,” she detailed. “We were the only two in the house. It was our time. She made the most lovely meals. She made tea every day. It was raining and muddy outside, so the dogs got all dirty, and she’s wiping them off with towels. How much she loves her animals, how much she loves her friends, how much she loves feeding you, taking care of you — none of that has changed.”

What also hasn’t changed? Meg’s so-called relationships with her father, Thomas Markle, and half-siblings.

“They have been made to appear as siblings who had this falling out, and that’s not the truth at all,” a longtime friend said of Samantha and Thomas Jr. “They were not a part of her life.”

And despite Meghan’s dad’s numerous claims that he has no way to reach his daughter, the longtime pal scoffed, “He knows how to get in touch with her. He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super-painful.”

This. Changes. Everything. Guess it just depends on who you believe is lying. We like to think that Meghan would never completely cut her dad out of her life and has always left a line of communication open in some way, though some might argue that Thomas has nothing to gain by talking about being unable to connect with Meg. You know, nothing but attention and money and a certain level of infamy. Huh. Everything Meghan’s pals have said is what many of us have believed all along. Hopefully this makes the doubters think twice.

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