"There were phone and video calls over the Christmas and New Year holiday and the Sussexes sent presents to the Cambridges and vice versa," royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET. "It was an opportunity in an otherwise very busy and chaotic year for both of the families to come together and connect, albeit virtually."
"Things are a lot better between William and Harry. If you go back a year at that stage, these brothers were barely on talking terms," she recalls. "When William went to the Sandringham Summit, he was so angry with his brother. He couldn't even face going to that lunch with the Queen. He only went for the meetings, such was his frustration and feeling of disappointment about what his brother had done and how Harry was handling the situation."
"Fast forward to today, the relationship is much better than it was. For a start, they are on talking terms, and not only on talking terms, they do speak relatively regularly. They were very much in touch over the holidays," Nicholl explains. "But there is an ocean between them, there is a time difference and as Harry [has] said… they are two brothers on different paths."
The brothers are now "much better" than they previously were, with Nicholl noting that it's questionable if William and Harry's relationship "will ever be as close" as it was before.
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Prince William Reportedly 'Happy' Harry and Meghan Markle Left the UK (Exclusive)
Harry, meanwhile, has also been in contact with his father, Prince Charles. He also is "in close contact with the Queen [Elizabeth II], they certainly talk on a regular basis," Nicholl adds, saying the Queen "is always delighted to see Archie on video calls and it's very important to her that she touches base with Harry."
"The Queen has kept in close contact with Harry and Meghan for the past year," she says. "She's in touch with them, she knows what's going on in their lives, they discuss their plans with her. Harry has always seen his grandmother as a mentor and while he might be in L.A., that hasn't changed."
Meghan and Harry are currently living in Montecito, California, raising their 1-year-old son, Archie. They had previously lived in Canada and in Los Angeles before buying their $14 million mansion.
"A big reason for wanting to leave Britain, I think certainly for Prince Harry, was wanting to shelter and protect Archie. He didn't want Archie growing up in the glare of the spotlight as he did when he was a little boy," Nicholl shares. "In California, they have freedom, they have space. I know that they want Archie surrounded by nature."
At the end of last year, Meghan revealed that she suffered a miscarriage. Nicholl adds that the couple "would love a sibling for Archie" and "that they are trying" to have another child.
As for plans to return to the U.K., it's all COVID-19 permitting. The royal family hopes to be able to gather in June for the Trooping the Colour celebrations. That same month, Prince Philip will also be celebrating a milestone birthday, turning 100. Additionally, the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue is scheduled to take place in July.
"The much-awaited statue tribute to Princess Diana will be unveiled in Kensington Palace gardens on what would have been her 60th birthday," Nicholl relays. "And it is Harry's intention, and Meghan’s also, to be here in the U.K. for that opening. It may possibly be the first time we see the brothers together, but I think that we will probably see them together in the spring around the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's birthday celebrations. COVID travel plans permitting."
Watch below for more on William and Harry's relationship.