Royally complicated. Prince William and Princess Kate’s relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been a topic of much discussion in the years since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met.
Harry welcomed Kate to the royal family when she and William began dating in 2003. Harry forged a close bond with his sister-in-law, which only grew after she married his older brother in 2011. However, the younger prince “felt very much like a spare wheel,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight in July 2020.
Harry learned what it was like to be a part of a royal duo in 2016 when he started dating Meghan. They quickly gained popularity with the public, but his family was less enthusiastic about the partnership, which caused tension between him and William.
Rumors of a rift between Kate and Meghan — and later, William and Harry — took hold, but the foursome put on a united front when the cameras were pointed toward them. Harry gave up the façade in October 2019, finally admitting that the feud speculation was not baseless.
The situation devolved in January 2020 after Meghan and Harry announced their decision to “step back” as senior members of the royal family. Following a summit with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, William and Harry, the Sussexes resigned as working royals and relocated to the United States in March 2020. The coronavirus pandemic contributed to keeping the twosome separated from his relatives for more than a year, and they confirmed in February 2021 that they would not return to their positions.
Harry, William and Kate reunited in April 2021 for Prince Philip’s funeral in the U.K., while Meghan was not allowed to travel at the time since she was in the late months of her second pregnancy. Although the trio seemed friendly as they talked after the service, author Robert Lacey claimed in a June 2021 Daily Mail op-ed that, privately, the siblings were “at each other’s throats as fiercely as ever.”
Amid their husbands’ feud, Kate and Meghan had not talked “directly in over a year,” a source told Us Weekly in March 2021. “They were never that close, but the reason they’re not speaking is because of the rift between Prince Harry and Prince William. Harry and William have communicated sparingly over the last year, but none of their communications have been friendly in quite some time. There is real animosity that the brothers have toward one another, and that has spilled over to Meghan and Kate’s relationship, making it very hard for them to be friends or even friendly.”
While the siblings and their wives weren’t seen together when Harry and Meghan returned to the U.K. for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022, they put on a united front when the monarch died that August, stepping out as a group to greet mourners in Windsor, England.
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Scroll through the gallery below to revisit the Fab Four’s strained relationship through the years.