Kate Middleton And Meghan Markle: Inside Their 'Firm' Friendship
By Katie Nicholl Posted on 24 Jul 2018
It was quite the moment when Kate and Meghan made their first joint engagement without their husbands at Wimbledon on 14 July. As the new sisters-in-law took their seats in the royal box to watch the women’s final, it was like watching a re-run of royal history.
Not since 1988 has Wimbledon played host to such a glamorous royal duo, when Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York, sat giggling in the very same seats. Staying true to their unique styles – Kate in a silk Jenny Packham shift dress and Meghan in a striped Ralph Lauren shirt and flared white trousers – all eyes were on the duchesses at Centre Court.
Meghan had always intended to watch her close friend Serena Williams play in the final and Kate is the patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, so over tea at Kensington Palace, which has become a regular fixture in their diaries, Kate and Meghan agreed it would be a perfect occasion for their debut together.
While there’ve been unfounded rumours of rivalry and whispers that Kate feels threatened by Prince Harry’s glamorous new wife, the pair’s warm body language told a different story. Laughing and smiling, they were relaxed and happy in each other’s company and, at one point, as they settled down to watch the game, Kate even asked Meghan, ‘Are you OK?’ – a sign of the nature of the relationship they’ve forged.
The truth is that, behind Kensington Palace’s gilded gates, Kate and Meghan have quietly been building a friendship over the past few months. While Kate’s not known as a ‘girly girl’, she is naturally kind and protective and has gone out of her way to make Meghan feel at home at Kensington Palace. Especially with Meghan being on foreign soil with few friends and no family in the UK, and, of course, the recent difficulties she has been through with her father, who last week spoke about her to the press once again.
From showing her the royal ropes and introducing her to some of her favourite designers, such as Emilia Wickstead, Kate has gone the extra mile, all while juggling a particularly busy spell with a new baby.
Kate has told Meghan she is always welcome at Apartment 1A, where the Cambridges live, while Meghan and Harry are in nearby Nottingham Cottage. The two women are believed to see each other at least once a week. ‘Kate has her hands full with the children and baby, but ensures she makes time to touch base with Meghan,’ said a royal source.
After first meeting in November 2016, some four months after Harry and Meghan started dating, Kate and Meghan, who at 36 are the same age, have had two years to get to know each other. While they come from dfferent backgrounds, they do in fact share things in common, from their love of high-end designers, to their enjoyment of the countryside and a passion for dogs.
‘It’s a friendship that is still slowly blossoming,’ according to the source. ‘Kate has gone out of her way to be friendly to Meghan, and Meghan has been very grateful for that.’
When Harry realised his romance with the American actress was serious, he was keen for Kate to meet Meghan. That very first meeting was apparently a great success and, when Meghan came to visit Harry in January, she reportedly bought a dreams journal as a gift for Kate, who was about to celebrate her 35th birthday.
‘Harry and Kate are very close, she’s been like a mentor to him and he wanted her seal of approval. Kate is different to Meghan in many ways, but she has made great strides to help Meghan settle in,’ adds the source.
Meghan showed her appreciation for their special relationship when she presented Kate with a gold friendship bracelet on her wedding day. She reportedly commissioned the ‘Kensington’ bracelet from designer Lisette Polney and also gave one to her best friends Jessica Mulroney and Belinda Litt.
As the Cambridges prepare to enjoy the summer holidays – which will include time at their country residence, Anmer Hall, and Balmoral with the Queen – William and Kate will also be making time to spend with Harry and Meghan.
For Kate, having Meghan join The Firm has been a blessing rather than a threat. Friends say that she is thrilled that the spotlight isn’t on her at a time when she wants to enjoy being with her family and remain relatively low-key. And it has been noted that Kate has been displaying a real air of new-found confidence lately, with one recent report commenting on how she is thoroughly embracing the role of the new ‘matriarch’ of the royal family.
Meghan is also said to be mindful about not upstaging Kate. At Wimbledon, she wore barely any make-up and had her hair tied back (while Kate’s was loose) and she wore no jewellery apart from her wedding and engagement rings. While the Duchess of Sussex is known for her supreme confidence – striding ahead of Harry on walkabouts – she seemed keen to follow Kate’s lead when they met winner Angelique Kerber after the match. As Meghan navigates her new role, one thing seems certain – she can count on Kate for sisterly support. And that’s something she needs right now.
Katie Nicholl is author of ‘Harry: Life, Loss, And Love’ (£20, Hachette Books)
See all the photos from Kate and Meghan’s Wimbledon trip in the gallery below…
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