Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton were once the glamorous half of a younger royal generation nicknamed the “fab four” by the British media but ultimately their relationship contained more lows than highs.
The Princess of Wales knew of Meghan before ever meeting her since Kate and Prince William were fans of Suits, the TV legal drama in which she played Rachel Zane.
By the end of 2018, the British media was awash with stories about a rift between the princesses, which Meghan made public in 2021.
Here are the key moments that defined their relationship.
When Harry first told William he was dating Meghan, the Prince of Wales, according to Harry’s book Spare, responded: “F*** off!”
William and Kate were “religious” fans of Suits and the four royals met in person shortly after Harry told them about Meghan for the first time.
Kate, however, did not make it as she was “out with the kids,” William told Harry.
Spare read: “I introduced Meg, who leaned in and gave him a hug, which completely freaked him out. He recoiled.”
Later, William and Kate went for dinner with Harry and Meghan, who cooked.
Meghan gave her take on the meeting during their Netflix show Harry & Meghan: “They came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot. I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realize that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.”
Harry wrote in Spare: “Willy had a cold: he was sneezing and coughing, and Meg ran upstairs to get him some of her homeopathic cure-alls. Oregano oil, turmeric. He seemed charmed, moved, though Kate announced to the table that he’d never take such unconventional remedies.”
It appeared to be a slightly awkward but not hostile start to the relationship.
The Royal Wedding
There were tensions between Meghan and Kate in the days before the May 2018 royal wedding between the former and Harry over Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress which Kate said was “too big, too long, too baggy.”
According to Spare, Meghan replied: “Right, and I told you the tailor has been standing by since 8 a.m. Here. At KP [Kensington Palace]. Can you take Charlotte to have it altered, as the other moms are doing?”
Kate, according to Harry, insisted the dresses needed to be remade and Meghan replied: “I’m not sure what else to say. If the dress doesn’t fit then please take Charlotte to see Ajay [the tailor]. He’s been waiting all day.”
Harry said the tense exchange reduced Meghan to tears: “A short time later I arrived home and found Meg on the floor. Sobbing.
“I was horrified to see her so upset, but I didn’t think it a catastrophe,” he continued. “Indeed the next morning Kate came by with flowers and a card that said she was sorry.”
The two couples met for clear-the-air talks in June 2018, at which the atmosphere was again tense and Kate asked Meghan for an apology: “You hurt my feelings, Meghan.”
According to Spare, Meghan replied “When? Please tell me,” earning the answer: “I told you I couldn’t remember something and you said it was my hormones.”
Initially confused, Meghan said: “Oh, yes! I remember: You couldn’t remember something, and I said it’s not a big deal, it’s baby brain. Because you’d just had a baby. It’s hormones.”
Meghan said that was simply how she spoke to her female friends but “Willy pointed at Meg. ‘It’s rude, Meghan. It’s not what’s done here in Britain.’”
“Kindly take your finger out of my face,” Meghan replied.
The Rift Goes Public
In November 2018, the difficult relationship between the princesses was splashed across British newspapers after reports that Meghan had made Kate cry during the argument about the bridesmaid’s dress fitting.
“The reverse happened,” Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in 2021. “And I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. And she was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized.”
“What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do but that happened to me,” she continued. “And the people who were part of our wedding going to our comms team and saying, ‘I know this didn’t happen.’ I don’t have to tell them what actually happened.”
Meghan asked the Kensington Palace communications team to release a statement denying the story but they would not, which Harry suggested was because “[i]t would embarrass the future queen.”
Again, the two couples met to clear the air and Harry wrote in Spare that Kate told Meghan: “I know, Meghan, that I was the one who made you cry.”
William Brown is chief royal correspondent for Regalrumination.com, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @TheCrownUp and read his stories on Regalrumination.com‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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