Will Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle ever be friends? Inside the lives of the royal wives

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The four wives of Windsor stood together Wednesday as Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was ushered into Westminster Hall to lie in state.

With great care, the eight young Grenadier Guards entrusted with the task of carrying the monarch’s body into the Palace of Westminster gently laid the coffin down upon the raised platform known as a catafalque.

The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard flag, representing the Sovereign and the UK, with the Imperial State Crown resting on top.

Camilla — the new Queen Consort after her husband was proclaimed King Charles III — stood next to her daughter-in-law Kate, the new Princess of Wales. Meanwhile, Sophie Wessex, the wife of Prince Edward and a favorite of the Queen, provided a buffer between Kate and her sister-in-law Meghan Markle, whose relationship can best be described as strained. 

In fact, until last week, the sisters-in-law had not seen each other in more than two years, following the “Megxit” fallout of Meghan and Prince Harry quitting the royal family, not even when the Sussexes were in the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. On Saturday, the two women barely looked at each other as they greeted mourners outside Windsor Castle.

“There’s a lot to overcome,” said one well-placed palace source. “I think Meghan and Kate could be pals, one day, if both were willing. When one feels good and on the other side of things, it’s easier to do.”

So it would be understandable if nerves and grief were mingling on Wednesday as Meghan and Kate stood together in silence, waiting for their husbands to arrive after accompanying the Queen on her final journey from Buckingham Palace.

Those fleeting moments gave us a fascinating glimpse into all four royal women. Camilla looked straight ahead under the brim of her black hat, while Kate, 40, appeared grief-stricken. Sophie, 57, seemed to swallow back tears, while Meghan — a former actress — had a “pitch-perfect expression,” body language expert Judi James told the Daily Mail.

With the death of the Queen a week ago, all the dynamics of the royal family, commonly known as “The Firm,” has changed.


For one thing, the others now need to curtsy to Camilla, 75. And Meghan, 40, is expected to curtsy to Kate, although royal watchers don’t necessarily think that will happen.

Royal biographer Hugo Vickers, who met the Queen countless times, told Page Six: “Technically, because Meghan Markle is no longer an HRH she should curtsy to Catherine, but the Queen always made it clear that she did not expect it … Royals would expect the proper behavior from those in the ‘official system,’ such as ambassadors, but the Queen really [didn’t] care a hoot if [others] didn’t curtsy on meeting her.”

It’s been a long time since the strong-minded women of the royal family faced such a power shift.

According to royal biographer Christopher Warwick, the Queen Mother was annoyed at being cut off in her prime following her husband King George’s death in 1952. And once her daughter Elizabeth became Queen, she was “jealous” of her own child’s superior position to her.

“She loved the position of being Queen and suddenly all that was taken from her,” Warwick said in the the 2020 Smithsonian Channel documentary “The Private Lives of the Windsors.”

“The Queen Mother minded very much being the Queen Mother. She was jealous of her daughter having become Queen,” he said.

Now, there are new minefields for everyone to maneuver.

It was telling that Sophie was chosen to accompany Meghan in the car to Westminster Hall for Wednesday’s poignant lying in state service, and the two women will once again travel together to Monday’s funeral ceremony at Westminster Abbey, while their husbands follow the late Queen’s coffin on foot.

At one point, Meghan would have been expected to travel to such a state occasion with her sister-in-law Kate.

While William, Kate, Harry and Meghan were once celebrated as “the Fab Four” and shared a charitable foundation focusing on, among other things, mental health, the women were seemingly not as close as photographs suggested.

In the 2020 Sussex biography “Finding Freedom,” royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote: “Meghan would agree with the assessment that the duchesses were not the best of friends. Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend.”

Meghan seemingly felt snubbed by Kate, who had been in the royal family longer.

After Kate sent Meghan birthday flowers for her birthday, the book said, “Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press.”

There was a famous incident in the days leading up to Meghan and Harry’s 2018 wedding; reports at the time claimed Meghan had left Kate in tears over something to do with the dresses of the young bridesmaids, including Kate’s daughter, Princess Charlotte.

But in Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex said it was Kate who made her cry.

It’s been reported that Harry and brother William’s falling out began over the elder brother urging caution in the romance with Meghan, and only worsened once the Sussexes decided to quit their royal duties.

Moving to the US might have driven a wedge between them and the family, but it could have been even worse had they stayed.

12 times Kate Middleton channeled Princess Diana’s royal style


With a wide-brimmed black hat and a matching coat, Princess Diana looked stunning at a 1992 Remembrance Day parade.

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At the 2021 National Service of Remembrance, Kate donned a more structured hat and a similarly cut coat dress.

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Following Prince Harry’s birth in 1984, Diana stunned in a red coat matching shoes.

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Middleton opted for a red dress with a lace peter pan collar while leaving with Prince Louis following his birth in 2018.

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Beaming in a black veiled hat and a gorgeous crimson coat, Diana was all smiles attending Christmas service in 1993.

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Kate accessorized her red knit coat with intricate leather gloves and a wide-brimmed hat in 2006.

AFP via Getty Images


While skiing in Switzerland, Diana made a statement in a red jacket and a braided headband.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Get


Also skiing in Switzerland, Kate Middleton wore a more modern red jacket while hitting the slopes.

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At a 1983 luncheon, Diana beamed in a dotted pink dress and fascinator.

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During the 2017 Trooping of the Colour, Kate graced Buckingham palace with a stunning pink dress and structured matching hat.

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Walking hand-in-hand with Prince Charles for their wedding rehearsal, Diana wore a button-up floral number.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Get


Despite a rainy London day, Kate Middleton was all smiles in a green floral dress and nude heels.

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In a glitzy ruched green dress, Diana took on a charity event at Victoria Palace Theatre.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Get


In a stunning bejeweled emerald gown, Kate looked like the princess she is.

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While attending a 1995 VJ Day commemoration, Diana matched a large white hat and skirt suit with large brass buttons.

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A more delicate look than Diana’s white suit, Kate’s has finer black detailing in its peter pan collar and along the sides.

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At the 1988 Royal Ascot race meeting, Diana wore a matching white and black polka dotted hat and dress.

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At the 2022 Royal Ascot race meeting, Kate channeled Diana in a dotted dress with a more modern spin on her hat.

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While visiting a hospital in Pakistan, Diana paired a cream head scarf with a pale blue jacket.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Get


On a visit to Assyakirin Mosque in Malaysia, Kate Middleton paired a white sheer buttoned top with a matching head scarf.

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Princess Diana wore a striking hot pink suit with thick black buttons on a visit to Westminster.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Get


During a 2015 outing, Kate turned heads in a striking fuchsia wool coat.

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On a visit to South Korea, Diana made her presence known in a long blue blazer and a matching pleated skirt.

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In an almost identical outfit to Diana, Kate visited a violence reduction unit in a blue blazer and skirt.

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