Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Friend Circle Has Dramatically Changed Since Their Step Back

They’ve lost old friends, gained new friends, and seem to prefer to keep their circle tight.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games kickoff
(Image credit: Getty)

It may be the understatement of the year that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s lives have changed since marrying in 2018, and even more so since stepping back as working members of the royal family in 2020. Nearly no aspect of their lives remains untouched by the changes, including, as The Daily Mail reports, their friend circle.

Meghan has been close for years—before her relationship with Harry—to tennis legend Serena Williams and fashion designer Misha Nonoo. More recently, the Sussexes have gotten to know Tyler Perry (who is godfather to their daughter, Princess Lilibet) and Oprah Winfrey, who attended their wedding and who the couple appeared with in a little-known, under-the-radar television special two years ago. “Others in the Sussexes’s trusted inner circle include Gayle King, Misan Harriman, and Sophie Trudeau as well as Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank,” the outlet reports.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

(Image credit: Getty)

Meghan has also struck up a friendship with Victoria Jackson, who she met through mutual friend Gloria Steinem. (Casual.) Jackson helmed an infomercial makeup empire and “there have been claims that Ms. Jackson and her husband would be the woman to help Meghan develop a skincare or makeup range,” The Daily Mail reports. Jackson told The Cut last year that Harry and Meghan are “good people,” and said she wants to help them “get out of the house, because it’s so complicated for them to go anywhere.”

Prince Harry's friend Tom Inskip

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry and Meghan have gained new friends since marrying, but they’ve also lost close friends, too. Take Harry’s friend Tom Inskip—or “Skippy”—one of Harry’s oldest friends. The two met at Eton, and Skippy was even with Harry on the infamous night of the 2012 “strip billiards” game in Las Vegas. Harry took Meghan to Inskip’s wedding in 2017, but “the two apparently fell out after Mr. Inskip warned Harry against marrying Meghan,” The Daily Mail reports. “According to the book Finding Freedom, Mr. Inskip expressed doubts about how quickly the relationship was moving and decided to warn his friend Harry. He is believed to have advised Harry and Meghan to live together before ‘doing anything more serious.’ A source close to the Sussexes told the book’s authors that although his advice ‘came from a good place,’ Harry ‘didn’t totally see it that way.’ However, it has since been suggested that the two have made up.”

Jessica Mulroney, Meghan Markle's former best friend

(Image credit: Getty)

Meghan’s former best friend Jessica Mulroney had known the duchess since 2011, with Mulroney playing a key part in Meghan’s wedding—in addition to her three children being in the wedding party, Mulroney, a stylist, is said to have helped Meghan with wedding dress fittings in the leadup to the big day. Mulroney also helped organize Meghan’s baby shower in 2019, “but it appears the pair became distant after Mrs. Mulroney became embroiled in a ‘white privilege’ row with lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter,” The Daily Mail reports. “Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Sasha posted on her Instagram stories and encouraged her followers and fellow influencers to speak out about the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the blogger claimed Mrs. Mulroney ‘took offense’ from her ‘generic call to action’ post. In a follow-up video, Ms. Exeter said ‘What happened next was a series of very problematic behavior and antics…I’m by no means calling Jess a racist but what I will say is this: She is very well aware of her wealth, perceived power, and privilege because of the color of her skin and that, my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing. Textbook white privilege really, in my personal opinion.” Though Mulroney issued three public apologies, Meghan distanced herself from her thereafter.

Other of Meghan’s friends have had more minor falling outs with her, like Lizzie Cundy, who said Meghan ghosted her after Meghan got engaged in 2017. Even so, Cundy said of Meghan “Personally I don’t think they’ve gone around things the right way, but if I saw her today, I’d give her a big hug. I’m happy that they’re happy.”

Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne was Meghan’s commercial agent and friend and was told by Meghan that she could no longer do commercial work once she was in the royal family. “Meghan’s last email to me was to say that her life had changed, and she could no longer pursue commercial work,” she wrote. “She really wanted to remain friends, she said, adding that it was very important to her. Alas, that was not to be. I’ve never heard from her directly again.”

Meghan’s friend Millie Mackintosh said that she felt “snubbed” by Meghan after she started dating Harry and recounted that she sent Meghan a message of support, but was surprised to receive an “abrupt” response and decided not to contact her again. “It’s not like I messaged her asking if it was true—that was none of my business,” Mackintosh said. “What I read from that message was that she needed a bit of space to cool off. I didn’t message her again, but I did expect that we would stay in touch. I thought she’d message back and say, ‘Sorry, everything is a bit stressful right now.’ I never heard from her again. I felt like she’d basically told me to f— off in that message. So I did. And we haven’t spoken since.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.