3 Royals Kate Middleton Is Close To And 9 She Keeps At Arm's Length

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It goes without saying that the relationships within the royal family are the subjects of intense speculation and interest. Being the stiff upper lipped institution that they are, the royals very rarely comment on any matter of personal relations themselves, instead letting inside sources and experts provide the commentary that so many desire to know, allowing them to remain above the fray. Perhaps one of the most popular members of the family as of publication — though her crown is seemingly starting to slip thanks to a lack of royal engagements – Princess Catherine appears to be the royal that everyone wants to get close to. Her sealed fate as the future queen of England puts her in a prominent position within the royal family, and her popularity among the public certainly helps amid rising criticism of the monarchy.

Though the royals are part of a complex business system with press offices, engagements, and duties, they are still very much a family — the members of the firm deal with the same interpersonal complications that other families do, with drama, familial strains, and jealousy certainly getting into the mix. As things have developed in real time, Catherine has made it clear — through action, body language, and inside sources — that there are some royals she is close to, while there are others that she'd prefer to keep at arm's length. We're here to break every relationship down, from her most high-profile feuds to her seldom talked about family members.

At arm's length: Meghan Markle

When Meghan Markle first came onto the royal scene, it appeared as though the two couples — Prince William and Princess Catherine, and Prince Harry and Meghan — would become the best of pals. That narrative dissolved incredibly quickly. Be it jealousy of Meghan's then-rising popularity, her and Harry's relatability, or for reasons that were kept behind closed doors, things between the couples went downhill quickly. Meghan and Catherine certainly aren't besties these days, and their last shared public appearance told the public everything they needed to know about their relationship.

In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death, the two couples made a surprise appearance outside the grounds of Windsor, greeting mourners and taking in the memorial objects left for the queen. Though they appeared to show a united front, royal biographer Robert Jobson asserted in his book "Our King: Charles III" that the walkabout was apparently quite difficult for Catherine.

"Rushing to our television sets, we watched as the two princes and their wives emerged from Windsor Castle together to greet the crowds and look at their floral tributes," Jobson wrote. "Sadly, it was all an illusion — as sources close to the royal family have confirmed to me. Catherine later admitted to a senior royal that, such was the ill feeling between the two couples, the joint walkabout was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do."

Close to: Prince William

Naturally, one of the royals that Princess Catherine is closest to is her husband, Prince William. Though their relationship has faced a number of rumors, the two seem to be going strong — at least in the public eye. As of publication, William and Catherine have been married for 12 years (if you can believe it, how time flies) and the couple marked the milestone anniversary in a sweet post on Instagram.

Photographed riding their bikes, the post caption read, "12 years," accompanied by a heart emoji. The photo was taken by Matt Porteous and showed the royals looking incredibly casual in jeans, putting forth the relatable image that they are so known for.

Of course, their relationship hasn't been flawless. After they were connected at St. Andrews University as students, William and Catherine embarked on a very on-again, off-again timeline, with the press even dubbing the young woman "Waity Kaity," given how long it was taking for William to propose. When he finally did, William presented Catherine with his late mother's famous engagement ring — the stunning sapphire and diamond ring that she famously chose herself back when then-Prince Charles popped the question. In a gorgeous ceremony held at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, William and Catherine tied the knot, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge respectively. Named the Prince and Princess of Wales by King Charles III after he took the throne, the couple have since forged ahead in their royal importance.

At arm's length: Prince Harry

If Princess Catherine and Meghan Markle are at arm's length, Catherine and Prince Harry are at leg's length. The in-laws have grown increasingly apart, despite their once-shared happy and cordial relationship that developed in the public eye. It was back in 2018 when whispers about a brooding feud between Harry and Prince William began, with Catherine seemingly caught in the middle of the brothers. Things — as we all know — devolved from there, with author Christopher Andersen telling Fox News Digital that the dynamic between Catherine and Harry has apparently taken a turn for the worst.

Using the infamous Windsor walkabout as an example of just how caught in the middle Catherine really is, Andersen noted, "Kate certainly had to have talked Prince William into making that appearance with his brother." He continued, "William certainly was in no mood to make nice with Prince Harry, and by all accounts still isn't. Whenever these four are together, I don't think we have seen anything but forced smiles on all their faces."

"Actually, when it comes to acting the part of someone who seems totally unfazed by all the drama swirling around her, Kate really delivers the most convincing performance," Andersen noted. "She never lets her guard down the way the other three do. But you know, Kate and Harry always had a special bond, and I believe the rift between the brothers weighs on her more heavily than people realize."

It's complicated: Camilla, Queen Consort

If there is one woman that always seems to be at the center of royal drama, it's Camilla, Queen Consort. From her infamous affair with King Charles III to the ways in which she's had to win over the public over the years, Camilla seems to crop up when you least expect it. When it comes to her relationship with Princess Catherine, the two women seemingly share a complicated past, with royal author Christopher Andersen telling the Daily Beast that Camilla was apparently behind one of William and Catherine's breakups back in the day.

"Everyone thought it was only a matter of time before William was going to ask Kate to marry him. And then people started telling me that Camilla was behind it," Andersen said. Why? According to the writer, the queen consort at the time "did not look at Kate as someone who was worthy of joining the royal family. Kate is the first working-class woman to be accepted into the royal family. ... Camilla never really felt that Kate Middleton as an individual and the Middleton family as a whole were going to be worthy of entering into the royal family."

Over the years, the two women have appeared at a number of royal events together, and Catherine even took the commemorative photos marking Camilla's 75th birthday. While they seem to have put their drama behind them, it does seem that the dynamic between Catherine and Camilla is complicated.

Close to: Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

If there is one member of the royal family who is consistently reliable, it's Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh. Prince Edward's wife, Sophie has been on the royal scene for some time, but has taken a more high-profile role since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from their duties as senior royals. Amidst the changes, Sophie and Princess Catherine developed what can only be described as a very close bond, with body language expert Judi James telling Express that Sophie is both a friend and a mentor of sorts to Catherine, stepping into a sort of motherly role.

"With Diana's death, [Prince] William missed a mother but Kate might have missed having a mother-in-law to help her through all the challenges of joining the royal family and maybe some of the challenges of marrying a Windsor male, too," James said. "The sense of friendship and fun combined with a sense of maternal sense and guidance might just come from Sophie instead, who is Diana's generation of royals and who, like Kate, was a non-royal joining the family."

Commenting on their body language specifically, James noted that Sophie and Catherine's connection seems apparent when they're out in public. He explained, "The two women mirror each other a lot, which suggests empathy and like-minded thinking. And although they look like friends much of the time, there have also been moments when Sophie was more of a supportive or even protective presence."

At arm's length: Autumn Phillips

This unfortunate relationship in Princess Catherine's life was certainly not by design or intention, but rather the result of a divorce that few saw coming. Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips, was married to wife Autumn Phillips, and Catherine and Autumn shared a close relationship thanks to their close proximity and royal roles. Unfortunately, Autumn and Peter announced their intention to separate in 2020, leaving Catherine in a very awkward — and consequential — position.

Commenting on the matter, royal correspondent Angela Mollard explained on an episode of the "Royals" podcast that the divorce no doubt placed a wedge between Catherine and Autumn, simply as a result of duty to the crown. "Kate is really good friends with Autumn," she started. "In fact, she went to Autumn's wedding as one of her first engagements on her own in 2008 because Prince William was in Kenya. He was away, they weren't engaged at this stage, the wedding was at Windsor Castle and she represented the couple, and she's been really good friends with Autumn ever since."

Noting that it is incredibly difficult for someone like Catherine to forge meaningful relationships within the royal family given its functioning as an institution, Mollard continued, "The special creed within the royal family of nondisclosure means that speaking to somebody like Autumn with more depth" was possible. Unfortunately, Catherine no longer has that confidant in close proximity.

It's complicated: King Charles III

Just as Princess Catherine's relationship with Camilla, Queen Consort, is complicated, her dynamic with King Charles III is equally drama-ridden. The two have seen each other through varying times of stress, and according to body language expert Judi James, they do appear to enjoy each other's company.

"Kate and Charles do seem to have a rather special relationship that shows up visibly in public as the pair seem to single each other out for attention and empathetic signaling," James explained to Express. "Their body language together suggests they are tuned in to each other, using flattery and mirroring signals to show some like-minded thinking or appreciation of a joke. Charles has the perfect audience in Kate, who is always very relaxed about performing her laughing rituals in a way that Camilla is not." And while the two royals have seemed to move past their differences, "The New Royals" author Katie Nicholl once described that Charles was increasingly jealous of the attention Catherine was getting back in her earlier years as a royal.

"In the past, father and son hadn't always seen eye to eye. There was a well-documented clash of opinions in 2013 over the palace's priceless collection of ivory, for one. And Charles was sometimes irritated that Kate's frocks got more media attention than his good works," Nicholl wrote, with any royal watcher quickly realizing that Charles' jealousy was once a core issue between him and the late Diana Spencer.

At arm's length: Prince Andrew

This one doesn't come as a huge shock, but a royal that Princess Catherine keeps way out of her circle is Prince Andrew, the undeniable black sheep of the family. The two never seemed to share a particularly close relationship back in the day, and once Andrew's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein came to light and the dissolution of his royal life was concluded, Catherine stayed far away from Queen Elizabeth II's son.

One such appearance that clearly displayed Catherine's feelings about Andrew came amid the 2023 Easter church service that the royals always attend. Despite staying largely behind closed doors, Andrew accompanied the family to the service, though Catherine was quick to keep her three children away from Andrew and actively avoided any possible photo opportunity with him. Commenting on the very clear distance, Professor Anna Whitelock told True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat that Andrew's positioning on the day — away from Catherine, Prince William, and their children — spoke volumes.

"There was a sort of deliberate choreography in that he was next to Princess Anne, he was close to the front, he wasn't sort of trailing at the back. ... I don't think there was a photograph of Andrew with William and Kate and the children. I think the Cambridges did hold back so they weren't standing there with him," Whitelock said of the awkward situation.

Close to: Princess Anne

Of all the members of the royal family, Princess Anne is certainly the most stoic, regularly seen as the hardest working royal. And, while Princess Catherine has certainly been caught up in drama over the last few years, she and Anne seem to share a close relationship — no doubt thanks to their mutual dedication to the crown.

Being that Anne is so private, she hasn't much commented on her dynamic with Catherine, but she did tell ITV in a rare moment of vulnerability just how hard it must be to be a young working royal like the Princess of Wales given the powers at play. "The pressure that is applied to the younger members of the family, it's always worse," she said. "That's what the media is interested in. That's hard sometimes to deal with. But there was no social media in my day, and it's probably made it more difficult."

Despite Anne's controlled demeanor, she and Catherine have partnered when it comes to their royal work. The duo appeared alongside one another back in April 2022 for a visit to the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as they are both patrons regarding the college and its work. Commenting on their joint ventures, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliam once told Express (via the Mirror), "It's a very good idea because this is maximizing the potential of members of the royal family who are popular and hard working."

At arm's length: Sarah Ferguson

It's no secret that Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's relationship is a bit odd. Despite being divorced, the two still live together and are considered to be extremely close — Fergie even defended Andrew in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein allegations. Still, despite her bond with her ex-husband, Fergie isn't particularly close with other members of the royal family, and that includes Princess Catherine. The distance between the two women was established from the start of Catherine's time within the royal family, as the Duchess of York was noticeably absent from Prince William and Catherine's 2011 wedding. In an uncharacteristic move for a royal, Fergie commented on the matter, telling Town & Country what she did instead of attending the nuptials.

"I didn't think I was probably worthy to go to their wedding," Fergie said at the time. "I took myself to Thailand, actually, to be far away from it so that I could try and heal."

In a notable change of things, however, Fergie was invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big day, and she commented on just how happy she was to be included while appearing on "Good Morning Britain." "It was very kind of them, and I can't thank them enough for doing that because it was nerve-wracking," she said. They say that actions speak louder than words.

At arm's length: Princess Beatrice

Though they are an institution with the complexities of any other business, the royal family is just that — a family. As such, personal relationships and grudges often play a role in the dynamics that play out in the public eye. As for Princess Catherine and her relationship with Princess Beatrice, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's daughter, reports suggest the two definitely don't see eye to eye. As it turns out, it all has to do with Prince William and Catherine's feelings about Andrew and his possible return to royal life.

As Andrew's time as a royal has been all but dissolved, King Charles III and William have supposedly been the most vocal opponents of any remote resurgence on the Duke of York's part, despite his firm wishes to be welcomed back into the public eye. As royal commentator Neil Sean estimates, the two senior royals will do just about anything to keep Andrew out of the public eye, and Catherine is right alongside them in their efforts. Naturally, this has strained her relationship with Beatrice, who would like to see her father's fate change.

"There is a big story breaking in the royal family that has remained under the radar largely, and it's to do with Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge, and William's father Prince Charles," Sean told Express. "According to very good sources, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice are seemingly struggling to remain cordial with Prince William, Catherine, and Charles."

At arm's length: Princess Eugenie

Though Princess Catherine and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie reportedly aren't in accordance when it comes to Prince Andrew, yet another factor is impacting Catherine and Eugenie's relationship specifically. As some royal watchers know, Eugenie and Prince Harry share a very close bond — the cousins have been spotted together on multiple occasions in the United States since Harry and Meghan Markle moved to California. As it turns out, Eugenie isn't far behind them. A source told OK! Magazine that due to husband Jack Brooksbank's work commitments, he and Eugenie will start splitting their time between the United States and Great Britain. The couple have the intentions of staying with Harry and Meghan when they are stateside, putting yet another thorn in Eugenie's relationship with Catherine.

Commenting on the devolving situation, a source told Radar of Catherine and Eugenie's relationship, "Kate will not tolerate their cousins being all cozy with William one minute, then sneaking off with Meghan and Harry the next."

Meanwhile, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams believes that the bond shared between Eugenie and Harry can only be beneficial to the ongoing tension brooding within the family, telling InStyle, "It is perhaps a relief that we don't know any details, but the healing of rifts is best done quietly."