Meghan Markle Gave Kate Middleton a Super Thoughtful Gift When They First Met

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton first met in January 2018, just after Kate's birthday, and Meghan brought a sweet present for her soon-to-be sister-in-law.

london, england july 13 catherine, duchess of cambridge and meghan, duchess of sussex in the royal box on centre court during day twelve of the wimbledon tennis championships at all england lawn tennis and croquet club on july 13, 2019 in london, england photo by karwai tanggetty images
(Image credit: Karwai Tang)
  • Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton (opens in new tab) first met in January 2018, the day after Kate's 36th birthday.
  • Meghan brought a thoughtful present for her then-future sister-in-law: a leather-bound Smythson notebook.
  • The gift "helped to break the ice," according to royal biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.

The official release of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry biography Finding Freedom is still about a week away, and yet royal fans have already enjoyed a veritable feast of inside Sussex knowledge courtesy of authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn DurandAs Hello! reports (opens in new tab), the upcoming biography sheds light on Meghan's very first meeting with Kate Middleton—and the sweet gift Meghan bought for her soon-to-be sister-in-law.

According to Scobie and Durand, Meghan and Kate first met on January 10, 2018—about four months before Meghan and Harry's royal wedding, and the day after Kate's 36th birthday. "Meghan bought a present for the duchess," Scobie and Durand write in Finding Freedom. "The soft leather Smythson notebook helped to break the ice, as did Meghan's cooing over then 20-month-old Charlotte."

While things got off to a good start, the relationship between Meghan and Kate (opens in new tab) never progressed beyond "distant politeness," according to a previously released excerpt from the biography. (opens in new tab) Kate was reportedly less than friendly to Meghan during March's Commonwealth Service, after Meghan and Harry announced they would step down as senior royals; what's more, the Sussexes were excluded from the event's official lineup.

"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," Scobie and Durand write. As for the Duchesses Sussex and Cambridge: "Although Meghan tried to make eye contact with Kate, the duchess barely acknowledged her."

The event left Meghan "emotionally bruised and exhausted," according to a friend. "She couldn’t imagine wanting to set a foot back into anything royal again."

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Emily Dixon
Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.