Meghan Markle’s and Prince Harry’s new docuseries, Harry & Meghan, relayed Markle’s first meeting with Prince William and Kate Middleton. The docuseries premiered on December 8, 2022, and saw Markle look back on her rocky start with the royal couple.
Markle described the first encounter as being very cool and perhaps a bit awkward. She was also surprised by how formal the couple was in their interactions with her.
Following the release of Volume One of Harry & Meghan, a royal expert, Katie Nicholl, backed up Markle’s account. Nicholl agreed the relationship between Markle and Prince William and Middleton was a bit strained from the start.
While researching for a book, Nicholl explained that she had spoken to several sources about the early meetings between the two royal couples. The consensus was that Prince William found her to be a “big personality,” and he and Middleton weren’t enthused by Markle going in for hugs.
As for Markle, Nicholl explained, “She’d expected the formality that she recognized in them as a royal couple sort of not be extended behind the closed doors of Kensington Palace.” The fact that the formality carried on in private seemed to confirm that Prince William and Middleton were just cool towards Markle from the get-go.
However, Nicholl doesn’t believe that Middleton’s coolness towards Markle was malicious. Instead, it was just a matter of their cultures clashing and preventing them from being close friends.
Meghan Markle described meeting Prince William and Kate Middleton
Markle recalled how she was glad that she didn’t know everything she now knows about the royal family when she first met them and that she could just be herself. As a result, when she first met Prince William and Middleton, she was barefoot and wearing ripped jeans.
She also confirmed that she is a “hugger” and embraced Prince William and Middleton. She stated it was only later on that she realized hugging wasn’t a common form of greeting for Brits.
Markle also realized that the royal family was very formal, both in public and private. She recalled thinking that behind closed doors, they could relax.
Hence, she was surprised when the formality carried on even in private. Unfortunately, Markle recalled most of her meetings with the royal family as being rough.
She and Harry described it as a “shock to the system” for Markle. For example, meeting Queen Elizabeth II and having to curtsy for the first time was all very foreign to Markle, given that she was an American actress.
According to the couple, the royal family mainly had a problem with her being an actor, meaning that their perception of her was already clouded before they even met her.
Is there a royal feud?
Markle’s description of her first meeting with Prince William and Middleton was especially interesting, given long-held rumors of a royal feud being afoot. Allegations have claimed the two royal couples, Prince Harry and Markle and Prince William and Middleton, have been involved in drama since 2018.
Reports have varied about the source of the feud, though Nicholl claimed the source of trouble was actually between Prince Harry and Prince William. Insiders claimed the animosity started in November 2018 when Prince Harry criticized Prince William for not welcoming or including Markle in the royal family.
Things allegedly further deteriorated when Prince William expressed concern for Prince Harry’s fast-moving relationship with Markle. During that time, Prince William was seen seemingly ignoring both Markle and Prince William at various events.
Prince Harry has confirmed the royal feud between him and his brother, admitting that they’re on “different paths.” Over the years, things have gone up as the couples supported each other and seemingly bonded over parenthood, but have also deteriorated as Prince Harry and Markle left the royal family and also accused them of racism.
There have also been allegations that Prince William was not happy with the release of Harry & Meghan. Rumors even alleged that Prince Harry and Markle tried to disrupt Prince William’s and Middleton’s Boston trip by releasing the trailer for Harry & Meghan during it.
Ultimately, it has been confirmed that there is tension between Prince Harry and Prince William. However, aside from their vague confirmation of being on “different paths,” the extent of the feud and the reason for it has remained largely unconfirmed.
There are two things that bother me about these two points in the series. First of all, as an American, when I invite someone to dinner, especially someone that I don’t know personally and that I am going to meet for the first time, especially those of the category of Prince Williams and his wife, I would at least dress properly (informally) but I would try most certainly to look put together. Second, In America, we very rarely hug anyone that we have never met in our first meeting even when they are our husband’s family. It is just that we don’t have developed a relationship yet. We can be effusive, but hugging is not a culturally accepted norm (unless you are a teenager). For someone who has a college degree in International relationships, this should be more than self-evident. The same thing applies to not knowing that there is a historical and established protocol when meeting the Queen of England. Not only are there about a zillion books written on and about these protocols, but probably a simple Google search of the fact will have prepared Ms. Markle for these events. The Duchess does not strike me as a clueless teenager. She is an educated, smart, well-prepared person, a planner, and an organizer. All the giggling playful and even mocking attitudes towards cultural protocol rings not only out of character but as she is acting this innocent clueless teenager role. A bit disappointing.