- Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton 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 Durand. As Hello! reports, 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 never progressed beyond "distant politeness," according to a previously released excerpt from the biography. 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."