The Truth About Kate Middleton And Meghan Markle's Relationship

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, became sisters-in-law when the former Hollywood actress tied the knot with Prince Harry on May 19, 2018, effectively bumping Catherine's 2011 wedding to Prince William out of recent memory. However, Catherine and Meghan had started getting to know one another back during the days of Meghan and Harry's headline-making engagement, and they've no doubt continued to learn more about one another as they've attended royal events together and grown their respective families.

But how close are they really? After all, it's not exactly common to forge a friendship while leading lives in the spotlight and keeping up with royal traditions. Whatever budding relationship they may have had certainly became compromised when Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior members of the royal family, and even more so when the couple dropped that bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. By all accounts, Catherine and William were absolutely "appalled" by it, according to Us Weekly. When Queen Elizabeth II died in 2022, Harry and Meghan returned to England for the funeral, leading to something of a reunion between the "Fab Four," marking the first time in years that they were together again.

So let's take a closer look at the royal women's bond, and figure out the truth about how these two duchesses really feel about one another. We have a suspicion that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Catherine and Meghan's relationship.

They may not have had much in common

Princess Catherine met Prince William at St. Andrews University when they were first-year students, according to Vogue, and they bonded over their mutual studies of art history. They were friends first, and then moved in together in their second year, into a house with other friends. The pair naturally caused minor eruptions in British tabloids whenever they were spotted together, and they split briefly in 2007. "At the time I wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person," Catherine said, according to Vogue.

But it was happily ever after for Catherine and William. Ten years after meeting, they married at Westminster Abbey in 2011, surrounded by the Middleton and royal families, according to Us Weekly.

Things were very different for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The couple met in 2016 on a blind date in London, according to Vanity Fair. Meghan, 34 at the time, was an established actor, according to People, and Harry, 31 at the time, was bringing awareness to the Invictus Games. Very shortly after, Harry took Meghan to Africa. "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars," Harry said after their engagement, Town & Country noted. By May 2018, they were married. The speed of each relationship could not be more different, as well as the ages and lives of the two women.

They spent time as part of the Fab Four

Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior members of the royal family, they became one half of the "Fab Four," alongside Princess Catherine and Prince William. They were a united front in February 2018 at the Royal Foundation Forum, according to Us Weekly, where they discussed their mutual dedication to mental health initiatives. "I am also particularly proud of how we have all managed to work together. This is a unique part of The Foundation model," Catherine said.

The image of the Fab Four became even more solidified after Harry and Meghan's wedding in May 2018, as the image of two young, royal couples brought fresh blood into the monarchy. In fact, Meghan, with her American vantage point and her fresh perspective, created some needed changes, even within the Fab Four. As Katie Nicholl writes in her book "The New Royals," Catherine and William planned on being active, innovating royals, especially through Heads Together, their mental health initiative. "But Meghan was the breakout star of the foursome," Nicholl writes. "She was polished, passionate, and funny, using all her TV-honed skills to present her case." 

Nichols went on (via the Mirror), "'That was a wake-up moment for William and Kate when they [realized] that Meghan was very impressive, very confident and very capable,' according to a source." So there was a time when it looked like the future of the monarchy was in the capable hands of these four.

Catherine was silent when the media attacked Meghan

Meghan Markle didn't hold back about her unfortunate experience with British tabloids during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, and she also explained how it was different from the negative press other members of the royal family received. "Unfortunately, if members of [Prince Harry's] family say, 'Well this is what's happened to all of us,' if they can compare the experience that I went through ... Kate [Middleton] was called 'Waity Katie' waiting to marry [Prince] William," she said. "While I imagine that was really hard — and I do, I can't picture what that felt like — this is not the same. And if a member of his family will comfortably say, 'We've all had to deal with things that are rude,' rude and racist are not the same."

Meghan also addressed the narrative that she made Kate cry right before her wedding, saying it was the other way around. This prompted people on Twitter to ask why Kate didn't correct the story. "What I think is DISGRACEFUL is that KATE knew the media was lying [about] Meghan and she did NOTHING to defend her," someone tweeted. "Kate knew the truth and let the media vilify Meghan," someone else said.

However, the final analysis might be a bit more complicated. The royal family has a motto: "never complain, never explain," per Newsweek. Plus, as another Twitter user added, Meghan's version of the story might not be totally accurate, either.

Catherine reportedly made Meghan cry before her wedding to Harry

The whole drama around Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, came to a head with the Oprah Winfrey interview. Prior to Prince Harry and Meghan's sit-down with Oprah, the story was that Meghan made Kate cry over a discrepancy about the flower girls' dresses. As Prince William and Kate's daughter, Charlotte, was one of the flower girls, Kate wanted the hemlines longer and thought they should wear tights, since that was tradition, Page Six noted.

Then, during the Oprah interview, Meghan said the story was, in fact, the opposite. "The narrative with Kate, which didn't happen, was really, really difficult and something that I think, that's when everything changed, really," she said (via Elle). Meghan explained that after the argument, which prompted Meghan's tears, Kate brought flowers and apologized. "[Kate] did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone," Meghan said. "To just take accountability for it."'

However, the plot thickened when Tom Bower wrote in his 2022 book, "Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between the Windsors" that the original story was the true one: Meghan made Kate cry. The disagreement was still about the dresses and tights for Meghan's wedding. "Compromise was not a trait Meghan embraced ... Kate burst into tears," wrote Bower. The back and forth could go on forever.

Catherine may have been disappointed when Megan and Harry left England

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to pull back as senior members of the royal family and cease to be working royals, this meant that the "Fab Four" became two separate couples on two separate continents. Any hope of sharing the workload vanished. This was especially stressful for Princess Catherine, and an insider told People that she found it deeply upsetting.

"Everything with Harry and Meghan has been hugely stressful, but if anything, it's pulled [her and William] closer together," an insider said. "She was upset about it because [William] was so upset. Seeing her husband so distraught was tough." It also meant that later, when Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, the spotlight shone even brighter on William and Catherine, who then became the Prince and Princess of Wales, per a later publication by People.

But it wasn't just the workload that increased for Catherine and William when Harry and Meghan left. Catherine and Harry had grown close since she began dating William, according to Us Weekly, so she also lost a friend. On top of this grief, the monarchy to which she was so loyal was under attack. "It's a personal willingness to conform to the requirements of the institution," historian Sarah Gristwood told People of Catherine's dedication. "That sounds like an unappealing, unglamorous virtue, but it's an important one if you're going to be a successful cog in the royal wheel."

They've been pitted against each other by the public

Meghan Markle made a very fair point during her and Prince Harry's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. In speaking of her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, Meghan pointed out that there's no need to pick sides. "I think so much of what I have seen play out is this idea of polarity, where if you love me, you don't have to hate her," Meghan said, according to E! News. "And if you love her, you don't need to hate me."

Writer Michelle Ruiz took up the baton for Vanity Fair, asking why fandom had to be an either/or situation between the two women. She consulted journalists and writers who felt that they couldn't cross over once they had established themselves as an "expert" on one of the women. Ruiz said that after writing about Meghan, fans assumed she had taken that side. "[M]y Twitter mentions have nevertheless been rife with criticism from Meghan fans about how disingenuous I must be ... because I have also committed the cardinal sin of writing favorably about Kate in the past," Ruiz wrote. 

Ruiz also spoke to royal biographer Omid Scobie, who told her that he can't write about one woman without a wave of criticism from the other's fans. "[I]f I write about Meghan, you can guarantee that half the profile pictures in comments underneath are Cambridge photos, all with very negative comments," Scobie said.

Catherine and William congratulated Meghan and Harry on Lilibet's birth

No matter what kinds of feelings were stirring between Prince William and Princess Catherine about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Prince and Princess of Wales made sure to send their best wishes for the birth of Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Lilibet was born on June 4, 2021, according to Hello! magazine, almost three months after the couple's Oprah Winfrey interview. Meghan was pregnant with Lilibet during the talk with Oprah.

To commemorate the arrival of their niece, Catherine and William shared a sweet photo of Harry, pregnant Meghan, and baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on Instagram with the caption: "We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan, and Archie."

Lilibet's name was a special choice for the family, honoring the late Queen Elizabeth II, who was still alive at the time of her great-granddaughter's birth. "Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet," Harry and Meghan said in a statement. Lilibet did get to meet the queen before she died; as Hello! magazine notes, Harry and Meghan brought their daughter to London for the queen's Platinum Jubilee in early 2022. The media was not invited to the event, which was just for family.

Catherine dictated the terms for Meghan when the queen died

Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland; medical concerns preceding her death meant that her family was able to travel to the family home to be with the queen as she passed, according to People. While Prince William rushed to his grandmother's side, Princess Catherine stayed in Windsor to take care of their three children, who had just begun classes at Lambrook School, according to CNN. According to a statement from Kensington Palace via OK! magazine, "The Duchess of Cambridge has remained in Windsor as Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are on their first full day at their new school."

However, another possible reason has surfaced. An insider told OK! magazine that Catherine stayed behind in order to keep Meghan Markle away from Balmoral. The source said that had Catherine been there with William, Prince Harry would have been upset at the double standard as to why Catherine was welcome but Meghan wouldn't be. Meghan had to follow Catherine's lead, therefore providing William and Harry the space to say goodbye to their grandmother.

They reunited in public for the first time in years for the queen's funeral

In a sighting we never expected, the Prince and Princess of Wales greeted mourning crowds alongside the Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside of Windsor Castle on September 10, 2022, according to W Magazine. The former Fab Four greeted well-wishers, who brought flowers to mourn Queen Elizabeth II. The visual of the two couples walking together prompted some serious discussion about body language and the tension between them.

Princess Catherine kept her distance from the Duchess of Sussex, and Australia's 7 News noted Catherine's "icy stares" at her sister-in-law. Meghan held Prince Harry's hand and they showed more physical closeness than Catherine did with Prince William.

However, the lasting impression from their excursion that day was one of unity. "There were moments of communication between the four and it was obvious that this was William's decision and instigation," body language pro Judi James told The U.S. Sun. Clearly, they were all trying to make an effort to move forward and simultaneously honor the queen — even if the photos implied that neither Catherine nor Meghan were very comfortable. 

Catherine has been called less affectionate with William than Meghan is with Harry

Since Princess Catherine and Meghan Markle are so often held up against each other, the ways in which they interact with their husbands are also compared and contrasted. At events surrounding Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, people noted how much Meghan and Prince Harry touched one another, whether it was by holding hands or placing a hand on the other's back. Conversely, Catherine and Prince William rarely touch each other at all in public.

Body language expert Tonya Reiman spoke with Fox News Digital about the public's reaction to this evident difference in PDA. "People were going, 'Oh My God, you see how much love there is between one couple [Harry and Meghan], but the other couple [William and Kate] are royals.' They're used to this stuff," she said.

Body language expert Judi James added another dimension to this theme when she spoke on Yahoo's "Royal Box" podcast. "Kate and William don't need to be so tactile because they almost grew up together — they went to university together and they had lived together," James said (via Express). James noted that by the time the queen died, they had been in each other's lives for nearly 20 years. "If you remember, though, Harry and Meghan don't really know one another that well yet," she said of their newer relationship.