Meghan Markle’s interactions with a senior member of the royal family have become the focus of a new viral video. There have been strained relations within the monarchy after Meghan and Prince Harry stepped down from their working roles and moved to the U.S. with their young family in 2020.
A member of the royal family with whom Meghan has shared a number of public interactions is Prince Harry’s aunt, and daughter-in-law of the late Queen Elizabeth II—Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh.
She is a well-established member of the royal family. She started dating Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, in the early 1990s and they married at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire in England, in 1999.
The royal was given the title of Countess of Wessex when she married. In 2023, the new King Charles III gave his brother, Edward, their late father’s title of Duke of Edinburgh, with Sophie becoming his duchess.
Sophie was regarded as Elizabeth’s favorite daughter-in-law, who—despite being at the center of a tabloid newspaper scandal in the early 2000s—has largely remained without controversy in the background of royal life.
In 2023, the duchess became the subject of increased media attention after a police outrider in her motorcade collided with an 81-year-old woman, who later died in hospital as a result of her injuries. In a statement from Buckingham Palace, a spokesperson said Sophie sent her deepest condolences and sympathies to the woman’s family, adding that she was deeply saddened by the fatal incident.
Uploaded to TikTok by user katherineof on August 2, video clips of Sophie’s interactions with Meghan between 2018 and 2020 have gone viral, gaining over 450,000 views so far.
The first clip of the royal duchesses was captured in 2018. Sophie and Meghan were paired together in the carriage procession at the Royal Ascot horseracing event in Berkshire, England.
The 2018 appearance is Meghan’s only one to date, and she caused a fashion stir in a white shirt-dress ensemble designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. The French fashion house had designed Meghan’s wedding dress just one month earlier.
The clip shows Meghan and Sophie sharing a smile during the carriage procession. It is then contrasted with footage captured in 2020 during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London.
The service was Meghan and Harry’s last official engagement as working members of the royal family before they moved the U.S. to begin independent careers.
Tensions within the royal family at the time were reportedly high. Some commentators and social-media users highlighted Sophie’s lack of interaction with Harry and Meghan, despite her husband engaging them in conversation.
A year later, in 2021, Prince Edward broke with the established royal silence on the Sussexes in the aftermath of their move to the States and bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. In the latter, the couple made a number of claims about family members and the royal institution.
Following the birth of Harry and Meghan’s daughter in June 2021, the prince was asked during an interview about the couple and what his reaction was to their dramatic exit. “I stay way out of it,” Edward said, providing perhaps some insight into his wife’s take on the events as well. “It’s much the safest place to be.
“There are all sorts of issues and circumstances there,” he said of the events that led to the couple’s split from the monarchy. “We’ve all been through there. We’ve all had that same spotlight shone on our lives. We’ve been subjected to massive intrusion and all the rest of it, and we all deal with it in different ways.”
During Meghan’s early introduction to royal life, and at events since, she was often paired with Sophie. The late Queen Elizabeth’s biographer Gyles Brandreth said it was the monarch’s idea that the newest member of her family should learn from the duchess.
In his updated version of Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, Brandreth wrote of the queen’s reaction to Meghan joining the family: “The Queen (who, of course, had seen it all before) understood that Harry’s girl might find adjusting to Royal life ‘challenging to begin with’ (as she put it). ‘It is very jolty, but you soon get used to it’ – that was Her Majesty’s experience going back many years.
“To help Meghan, the Queen suggested that her daughter-in-law, Sophie Wessex, would be an ideal mentor. ‘Sophie can help show you the ropes,’ said the Queen.”
Brandreth added that Meghan made it clear that she “did not feel she needed Sophie’s help. She had Harry.” The royals did not comment on Brandreth’s book or the claims made within it.
Meghan and Sophie were last publicly paired together during the mourning events for Queen Elizabeth in 2022.
On September 19, as their husbands walked together in the procession behind Elizabeth’s coffin from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey in London, the two royal women drove together.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s .
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