Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton never became royal best friends or intense frenemies during their time together working in the royal family; they were just cordial colleagues. And the circumstances behind their first meeting in private may in part explain the cool dynamic that developed after. Royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, in their book Finding Freedom, detailed what happened when Prince Harry’s then-girlfriend Meghan met Kate for the first time in January 2017.
It was months after Meghan first met Kate’s husband Prince William in November 2016. Kate had been with the royal kids at Anmer Hall at the time; William and Meghan met at William and Kate’s home in Kensington Palace, Apartment 1A.
As Scobie and Durand wrote, “Meghan was disappointed she didn’t get to meet Kate….But having gotten along so well with Harry’s brother, she didn’t think much more about that.”
Kate and Meghan’s first meeting happened shortly after Meghan and Harry returned from their secret New Year’s trip to Tromsö. On January 10, 2017, Meghan and Harry went to Apartment 1A again, where Meghan met the Duchess of Cambridge. It was a “brief” meeting, Scobie and Durand wrote.
The authors added that up until that point, “Kate had seemingly not shown much interest” in finding out who Harry’s girlfriend was. A friend explained to the authors that it was nothing personal toward Meghan: “The Duchess is an extremely guarded person.” Kate has a tight friend circle, the authors wrote, and is careful about letting new people in. Her friends now “are for the most part the same ones she had on her wedding day,” the authors wrote.
Meghan came with a belated birthday gift for Kate, whose birthday is January 9: a soft leather Smythson notebook that “helped to break the ice, as did Meghan’s cooing over then twenty-month-old Charlotte,” Scobie and Durand wrote. “The meeting ended with Kate letting Meghan know that she was always welcome to contact her if she needed anything.”
Meghan and Kate would go on to have a civil working relationship—but only that. In March 2019, a royal insider told ELLE.com that Kate has been “a wonderful support to Meghan, with advice about protocol and life inside the Firm. Any transition is difficult, let alone one into an institution steeped in tradition and history.”
A royal source added that Meghan was grateful for Kate’s guidance and support. “Meghan admires how Kate has never put a foot wrong,” the source said ELLE.com.
In Finding Freedom, Scobie and Durand reported that Meghan and Kate’s relationship outside of work never progressed much. A source told the authors that Kate felt that they didn’t have much in common “other than the fact that they lived at Kensington Palace.”
Kate also didn’t really give Meghan the level of emotional support Meghan would have liked, the authors wrote, citing one example where Kate sent Meghan flowers for her birthday, which was a nice gesture. But “Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press,” according to Scobie and Durand.
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