From the early excerpts of Finding Freedom, we knew that there would be some tea about “the war of the duchesses,” and what the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship was really like, behind-the-scenes. We already learned that Kate did zero labor (she’s so lazy) when it came to welcoming Meghan into the family. Kate and Meghan first met on January 10th, 2017, soon after Harry and Meghan returned from a trip to Norway to celebrate the New Year. Meghan was not the fiancee yet, she was just the royal girlfriend, and Harry was the one pushing for Kate and Meghan to meet. It didn’t go well:
The couple returned to London, where Meghan finally met Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. The January 10 get-together at the Cambridges’ Apartment 1A home was brief, but Harry wanted to make sure the two had a chance to connect. Despite the fact that Harry was a regular guest in her household, Kate had seemingly not shown much interest in finding out who this woman was who had made her brother-in-law so happy. But that indifference wasn’t necessarily directed toward Meghan. “The Duchess is an extremely guarded person,” a friend explained. After she married William, she was careful about letting others in to her social circle. Her friends today—including Lady Laura Meade and Emilia Jardine-Paterson, both of whom married friends of William’s—are for the most part the same ones she had on her wedding day. Like her husband, Kate ran in a tight group.
Meghan brought a present for the duchess, who had celebrated her birthday just a day earlier. The soft leather Smythson notebook helped to break the ice, as did Meghan’s cooing over then twenty-month-old Charlotte. The meeting ended with Kate letting Meghan know that she was always welcome to contact her if she needed anything. Having been through the experience of being a royal girlfriend herself, Kate knew how trying it could be to suddenly have one’s personal life laid bare.
I think… a lot of different things can be true at once. Maybe Kate did tell Meghan to contact her if she needed anything, and I also think Kate was immediately jealous of Meghan and saw Meghan as a rival. Of course Kate had never shown any interest in meeting Meghan – Kate has never shown any interest in spending time with any women besides her mother and sister. From the start, Meghan put in the labor.
Finding Freedom also dials down the “war of the duchesses” narrative and sources say that Meg and Kate “had struggled to move past the distant politeness of when they first met…Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since she was Harry’s girlfriend.” We also get a confirmation: Kate brought flowers to Meghan for Meghan’s birthday – I would assume this was in 2019 – and FF notes: “Flowers for her birthday were nice, but Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press.” Oh, and FF says that Kate rubbed Meghan’s back at Wimbledon after Serena Williams lost in the 2019 final. The point FF makes repeatedly is that while Kate and Meghan were not friendly and were competitive, the real story was always about Harry versus his family and the “institution.”
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Backgrid.