Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Relationship Never Became More Than 'Distant Politeness'

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have never been best friends, but a new excerpt from a forthcoming book reveals the sisters-in-law "struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met."

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have never been best friends—nor is it expected they should be—but a new excerpt from a forthcoming book (opens in new tab) written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and ELLE.com royal contributor Carolyn Durand reveals the sisters-in-law "struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met."

The passage from Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family (opens in new tab), published today by the U.K. Times, details the circumstances surrounding the Sussexes' departure from royal life and provides insight into how relationships inside the "institution" of the royal family work. “Every conversation, every issue, every personal disagreement, whatever it may be, involves staff,” a source told Scobie and Durand of the prevalence of royal aides in every aspect of palace life.

This particular excerpt doesn't disclose the cause of the duchesses' iciness, but references their "cordial but distant rapport" at a July 2019 polo match two months after Meghan gave birth to Archie—her son's first-ever public appearance.

According to the excerpt, the Sussexes and Cambridges had begun repairing their relationship in the second half of 2019, but Harry and Meghan's January 2020 decision (opens in new tab) to step back as working members of royal family soured the good will, with William angry that Harry and Meghan publicized private family matters.

Harry and Meghan's exclusion from the official lineup at Commonwealth Service in March only contributed to the couple's realization that they made the right choice in breaking off from the royal family. "The decision had been made without their consultation, and they were informed long after the 2,000 orders of service had been printed for guests, with their names notably absent," the book explains. It only got worse at the ceremony. "Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her."

By the end of the day, Meghan was "emotionally bruised and exhausted" a friend revealed. "She couldn’t imagine wanting to set a foot back into anything royal again."

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Julie Kosin is the senior culture editor of ELLE.com, where she oversees all things movies, TV, books, music, and art, from trawling Netflix for a worthy binge to endorsing your next book club pick. She's the former director of audience strategy and entertainment at HarpersBAZAAR.com (opens in new tab). When not glued to her laptop, she can be found taking pictures of her dog or haunting used bookstores.