We’re endlessly entertained by royals, whether they’re fictionalized or actual living monarchs. Unsurprisingly, there’s two royals we love to focus on the most: 36-year old commoners-turned-duchesses by the names of Kate and Meghan. They’re young, beautiful, and grew up not unlike us — but now they wear large headpieces and are banned from crossing their legs.
Ever since the news broke that Meghan Markle was dating Prince Harry, we’ve eagerly wondered how Markle would get along with her now-sister-in-law, Kate Middleton. Being royal women, they’re covered breathlessly by tabloids, usually with a sprinkle of sexism. There have been stories speculating how close they are, how much they avoid each other, and everything in-between.
Read on for an exhaustive history of these two women, and decide for yourself if they seem more like besties — or frenemies.
July 7, 2014
That’s right, our story begins two years before Meghan and Harry even met, because if you recall, Meghan had a lifestyle blog called The Tig. And legally, if you had a blog in the early 2010s, you had to talk about Kate Middleton, which Markle did. The Tig published an interview with Princess Alia Al Senussi of Libya, which began with these three sentences:
“Little girls dream of being princesses. I, for one, was all about She-Ra, Princess of Power. And grown women seem to retain this childhood fantasy. Just look at the pomp and circumstance surrounding the royal wedding and endless conversation about Princess Kate.
This is the first record we have of either of them speaking about the other. But who knows? Maybe we’ll someday discover that Kate had a secret Suits stan account.
October 21, 2016
News breaks that Prince Harry is dating Meghan Markle. The very same day, speculation begins that Kate is “jealous” of Meghan. Gross, likely untrue (they hadn’t even met yet!) but pretty unsurprising, given the way women are often pitted against each other.
November 7, 2016
A source tells Us Weekly that “Kate is really keen to see what Meghan is all about,” which is British speak for “Kate wants to meet Meghan.” That makes sense! We know Harry and Kate are close, so of course Kate wants to meet his new girlfriend.
November 8, 2016
The world learns that Meghan and Kate have worn the same dress before. Does similar taste mean they are destined to be best friends? Hard to say — the two still haven’t met yet.
January 15, 2017
Kate and Meghan finally meet! Prince Harry introduces them at Kensington Palace, and since Kate’s birthday was just a few days prior, Meghan gifts her a dream journal. The source for the original report in The Sun claimed that Kate loved it, but unsurprisingly, other outlets speculated that it was an odd gift.
May 21, 2017
Pippa Middleton gets married, and there is much speculation before the wedding about whether Meghan would be invited. Meghan doesn’t attend the ceremony, but does attend the evening reception. Did all this public drama cause tension between Meghan and Kate? We can’t know, but it seems that Meghan handled the situation gracefully.
October 18, 2017
A source tells New Idea that Meghan is a “secret weapon” for Kate as she deals with severe morning sickness during her third pregnancy, going so far as to claim that the two were speaking every day, either in person or on FaceTime. So nice!
November 27, 2017
Meghan and Harry announce their engagement, which Harry reportedly consulted Kate about. They give an interview in which Meghan calls Kate “amazing” and “wonderful.” Kate tells reporters that she is “absolutely thrilled” about the engagement.
December 25, 2017
Meghan attends Christmas morning services with the royals, a tradition normally reserved for spouses only. The first photos of Meghan and Kate together emerge. It’s actually a little rude how good Meghan looks in this hat!
Although the four look cheery here, it’s later reported that Harry was frustrated with William for not being welcoming enough to Meghan. Apparently their dad, Prince Charles, had to step in and tell Will to be a little warmer.
During this period, news outlets run a lot of feel-good Meghan and Kate stories. Express reports that Kate is helping alleviate Meghan’s pre-wedding butterflies. People publishes an article comparing Kate and Meghan to Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York — two women close in age who married royal brothers, and were famously great friends.
Later, they report on the “growing friendship” between Meghan and Kate. There are articles saying that Kate gives Meghan fashion advice, that Kate is helping Meghan adapt to royal life, and that they’re bonding, again.
While all these stories are nice, they do put a lot of pressure on Meghan and Kate to be close — and stay close.
May 19, 2018
Meghan and Harry get married! The press briefly fixates on a “side eye” from Kate to Camilla Bowles during the unexpectedly political sermon.
The Daily Mail claims that one of Kate’s favorite designers, Emilia Wickstead, told reporters that Meghan’s wedding dress, designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, looks identical to a gown of her own. Emilia Wickstead subsequently makes a statement on Instagram denying the story and saying that Meghan looked “absolutely beautiful” on her wedding day.
Although Kate and Meghan are surely aware of this debacle, it seems doubtful they let it come between them.
June 9, 2018
The two appear publicly for Trooping The Colour (aka the Queen’s birthday celebration), both in large headpieces. They’re smiley, their outfits are coordinated, and they’re both expert curtsiers!
July 14, 2018
Meghan and Kate have their first public outing as a duo at Wimbledon! Just two royal ladies who look great in prints, out watching tennis together.
July 30, 2018
Vanity Fair reports that Meghan is leaning on Kate as she deals with the public drama surrounding her father. Like we said, overexposed ladies need to stick together.
October 12, 2018
Meghan and Kate appear at Princess Eugenie’s wedding with their husbands. Meghan wears a coat, which, in the royal world, is enough to spark pregnancy rumors.
October 15, 2018
And the rumors turn out to be true! Meghan and Harry announce their pregnancy, and Will and Kate are “delighted” by the news.
October 28, 2018
Speculation about a possible rift between the two couples picks up after William and Harry decide to no longer share an office.
Kate and Meghan feud rumors run rampant. Speculation is fueled by Harry and Meghan’s decision to move away from Kensington Palace and into the Windsor Estate. One persistent rumor, that Meghan was rude to Kate’s staff, was actually denied by the Palace, in an unusual move. The Telegraph reported on some drama dating back to Meghan and Harry’s wedding, with two sources claiming that “Kate was left in tears following a bridesmaids dress fitting for Princess Charlotte.” Sounds bad, but royal weddings seem really stressful to plan, no?
Kate attempts to squash rumors by telling reporters how excited she is for her kiddos to have a cousin.
December 7, 2018
December 14, 2018
The palace releases the official Christmas cards for both the Cambridges, aka Will and Kate, and the Sussexs, aka Harry and Meghan. The two cards are strikingly different, with Will and Kate in vibrant color surrounded by their three children (hi, baby Louis!) and Harry and Meghan in black and white facing away from the camera. We can’t say if the cards are intended to emphasize the creative differences between the couples, but they sure do have that effect.