Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton may rarely have engagements together (their first in 2019 was Tuesday, at the reception for the 50th anniversary of Prince Charles’s investiture), but their working relationship behind the scenes is supportive and duty-focused, sources made clear to ELLE.com.
A royal source told ELLE.com that the women email regularly about mutual interests and their humanitarian work. Both are very goal-oriented, dedicated, and passionate about making a difference and carrying on the Queen’s legacy in their humanitarian and charitable work.
While some tabloids have tried to create stories of jealousy between Kate and Meghan, fueling a Kate vs. Meghan narrative of competing duchesses, none of that is true. Here is how the relationship between the two women has really formed.
Kate has been a huge support to Meghan behind the scenes.
Kate has been there for Meghan as she’s adjusted to her role as duchess. She gave Meghan fashion “guidance and inspiration” as the new Duchess of Sussex was creating her own signature look over the last year. She’s also helped Meghan adapt to day-to-day life as a working royal.
Kate has been “a wonderful support to Meghan, with advice about protocol and life inside the Firm,” a royal insider told ELLE.com. “Any transition is difficult, let alone one into an institution steeped in tradition and history.”
Meghan has been grateful to Kate for her guidance and support. “Meghan admires how Kate has never put a foot wrong,” a royal source shared with ELLE.com.
Meghan and Kate’s friendly relationship has long stood in contrast to the rift rumors tabloids have pushed for months. But, as a royal source told ELLE.com in January, “the stories of the two duchesses having a major ongoing feud are just overblown. They have enormous respect for each other.”
Kate and Meghan have some shared interests and courtiers.
While Meghan and Kate each have a small group of private staff members who focus on their respective personal and professional interests, Kate and Meghan also share several courtiers who work seamlessly across both duchesses’ interests.
The two women work together on the Royal Foundation, first of all, with their husbands Harry and William. All four royals are patrons of the organization. But in addition to that, both Meghan and Kate share an interest in the arts and the importance of arts education.
Meghan was recently named royal patron of the National Theatre, while Kate is patron of the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Natural History Museum. Kate also has a keen interest in photography (portraits Kate has taken of her children have been released as their official birthday photos in the past).
Like Meghan, Kate is an advocate for arts education in schools, supporting the work of the Art Room charity in the UK. That’s not surprising, given that both women received their undergraduate degrees in the arts: Meghan majored in theater (and did a second major in international relations) at Northwestern University, while Kate studied art history at St. Andrews University.
But Meghan and Kate also have separate issues they are individually focused on. “They each have their own independent lives with differing interests,” a source said.
Kate has focused on mental health in education, along with children’s mental health and well-being.
Meghan, meanwhile, has been advocating for years for the empowerment of girls and women in the UK and globally. On Friday, the Queen appointed Meghan vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, where she’ll have another platform to continue that work. Meghan will “highlight the Trust’s partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, and in particular its work supporting women and girls,” the organization wrote on its site when it announced the news.
Meghan and Kate are on differing paths.
While they have much in common, both women are slowly embarking on very different paths, a royal source told ELLE.com—another reason why the “dueling duchesses” headlines have no truth to them. This is largely because their husbands’ roles will be very different, too.
Harry is sixth in line for the throne, behind all of William and Kate’s children. William, meanwhile, is second, and will become the new Prince of Wales when his father Charles becomes king. Because he will be the first in line for the throne when that happens, William and Kate will likely need to prepare for a future where William is king someday.
As Queen Elizabeth II slowly dials back her activities, William and Kate are taking on more royal duties, stepping in for the Queen and taking on a far more high profile role within the British monarchy. And while William and Kate have been keen to give their three children as normal an upbringing as possible, in the coming years, they will also be preparing Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis for their future roles as third, fourth, and fifth in line to the throne.
For now, though, Meghan and Kate—along with William and Harry—will continue their joint work on the Royal Foundation. As Meghan continues adapting to her royal role, she will widen her philanthropic sphere and take on more patronages that align with her charitable interests and goals, like Kate did when she first joined the family. It looks like Meghan will also have her sister-in-law’s continuing support as she paves her way.