With every year that goes by, Kate Middleton is becoming more and more popular among the public. The Princess of Wales has been a member of the royal family for more than a decade after tying the knot with Prince William, and today, she is one of the senior royal family members and the future of The Firm. 

Meanwhile, her time within the royal sphere has also reportedly been somewhat tumultuous, not least because of the strained relationship with Meghan Markle. The two allegedly weren’t best friends and had problems bonding from the very beginning.

We don’t know how Kate felt when Meghan left royal life with Harry in 2019. However, no matter how bad their relationship might have been, royal expert Jennie Bond now paints a rather sad picture of Kate’s life within The Firm, stating that the princess can’t trust many of those around her.

The royal family has become increasingly smaller in the last decade. With Queen Elizabeth’s death, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving, and disgraced Prince Andrew not having an official role, the number of working royals is most likely at an all-time low.

Meanwhile, as Kate Middleton is now recovering after her abdominal surgery and King Charles has received a devastating cancer diagnosis, there aren’t many royal family members on duty.

Kate Middleton & Meghan Markle’s relationship

Even behind the scenes, it would appear that formality is vital for the Royal Family’s most senior members.

“When Will and Kate came over, and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans, and I was barefoot,” Meghan recalled. “I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.”

She continued: “I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside. There is a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door and go ‘You can relax now’, but that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.”

Yet, though Meghan and Kate weren’t best friends from the beginning, they were far from enemies.

Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

According to Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the reason for Meghan and Kate’s strained relationship was that they didn’t know each other well enough.

“Meghan would agree with the assessment that the Duchesses were not the best of friends,” they wrote. “Their relationship hadn’t progressed much since [Markle] was Harry’s girlfriend.”

Meghan claimed Kate made her cry on her wedding day

Moreover, Durand and Scobie add that Kate didn’t make a significant effort to welcome Markle into the family, at least not in the way people might have expected.

Meghan had hoped that Kate would take her under her wing and guide her through all the new things that someone coming from “outside to the Firm” should know about. 

That, the authors claim, never happened.

“Meghan was disappointed that she and Kate hadn’t bonded over the position they shared, but she wasn’t losing sleep over it,” Durand and Scobie wrote in Finding Freedom, adding that “Meghan would far rather have had Kate check in on her during the most difficult times with the press.”

Their relationship then took a turn before Harry and Meghan’s wedding, when things were said to have become heated between the two. Meghan claimed that Kate had made her cry over the flower-girl dresses on her wedding day – a notion that directly contradicted earlier claims by the tabloids.

After leaving the Royal Family, Harry and Meghan spoke candidly about their struggles via interviews, the Netflix documentary, and, more recently, in Harry’s memoir, Spare. The royals were left shocked and upset by their behavior. It should also go without saying that the revelations and claims made by Harry and Meghan did little to assist the fractured relationship between Kate and Meghan.

Kate, Meghan
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Even in moments of mourning, it appeared that Kate and Meghan wouldn’t bury the hatchet. At least not in Kate’s case, if we’re to believe author and royal expert Robert Jobson.

Kate felt “resentment” towards Meghan after not getting invited to Balmoral after queen’s death

When news about the queen’s declining health reached the public, Kate Middleton was seen driving to her children’s school to pick them up. Neither she nor Meghan traveled with the rest of the senior royals to Balmoral, and according to royal expert and author Robert Jobson, that was due to a direct order from then-Prince Charles.

In his new tell-all book Our King: Charles III: The Man and the Monarch Revealed, Jobson writes that both Harry and William were asked not to bring their wives.

“Harry was insisting Meghan travel with him to Scotland as the Queen’s life ebbed away, but the King said it was only for the children and grandchildren to be with the Queen,” Jobson wrote.

“Privately, he wanted to say Meghan was not welcome, but he couldn’t say that to Harry, so he personally intervened and asked Kate to stay back so that it was fairer on Meghan.”

The author added: “Kate deliberately stayed away, but she desperately wanted to be there with the Queen in her last moments. That’s eaten Kate up and has built up resentment towards Meghan.”

Shortly after Queen Elizabeth’s death, Harry, Meghan, William, and Kate joined forces during a public outing at Windsor to greet well-wishers and mourners. It was supposed to be seen as a united royal front despite their different opinions of one another. For Kate, though, the walk was challenging as author Robert Jobson revealed that the Princess of Wales didn’t enjoy it at all.

Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The fact that it was to be seen as a feeling of “it’s getting better between us” was, according to Jobson, just an “illusion.”

“Catherine later admitted to a senior royal that, such was the ill feeling between the two couples, the joint walkabout was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do,” Jobson wrote.

Kate Middleton’s inner circle of friends

Meghan wasn’t in attendance for King Charles’ coronation, and according to royal expert and author Tom Bower, Kate had a say in the decision. He stated Kate Middleton didn’t “under any circumstances” want Meghan in attendance and that Harry attending alone was an “ugly compromise.”

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle haven’t met since the queen’s funeral. Since their relationship has been strained for years, it’s unclear if they even spoke to each other during the sad day.

Kate’s relationship with Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew, or Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s only child, is not known to be good or bad. Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales has surrounded herself with many close friends, and three of them are considered especially important to her. You can probably guess that Meghan Markle isn’t one of them.

According to royal expert Jennie Bond, one reason for her success as a senior royal family member is her friends.

“Kate has maintained deep friendships with several of her schoolmates, who obviously knew her way before royalty came her way, so they’ll know just how to help,” Bond told OK! Magazine.

The one person who has been branded irreplaceable in Kate’s life is her longtime friend Emilia Jardine Paterson. The two became great friends while studying at Marlborough College together. In fact, Emilia is said to have introduced Kate to Prince William.

Emilia Jardine-Paterson
Emilia Jardine-Paterson. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Moreover, she is one of Prince George’s godmothers and has done redecorations at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall as part of her job as an interior designer.

Kate Middleton’s friend Sophie Carter “knows exactly what it’s like to have major surgery”

Sophie Carter is another person who has played an essential part in Kate’s life. She is, just like Emilia, one of the godmothers to Prince George, and through the years, he has been seen close to Kate at many royal weddings.

For example, as reported by Express, she attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding and has been spotted alongside the senior royals at Sandringham for the traditional Christmas Day walk to church. Also, Kate and Sophie have been on many skiing holidays together.

As the Princess of Wales is recovering at home from her abdominal surgery, Sophie is playing an important role.

“Sophie will have been calling to see if she can help out. After all, she went through a near-fatal emergency during the birth of her daughter Lady Louise and also suffered an ectopic pregnancy, so she knows exactly what it’s like to have major surgery and come through it,” a source told Express.

A third person close to Kate Middleton is Lady Laura Meade. Her husband, James, went to Eton with Prince William and was his best man at William and Kate’s 2011 wedding.

Meanwhile, Laura and her husband live close to William and Kate’s Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, and one can imagine they spend plenty of time together there.

Also, Laura is Prince Louis’ godmother.

Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Even though Kate Middleton has many great friends around her, offering help and support, one sad claim is made about her relations within the royal walls.

Kate Middleton has “very few people to confide in” after Meghan’s royal departure, expert claims

According to expert Jennie Bond, who previously worked as a royal correspondent for BBC, the Princess of Wales has “very few people to confide in” after Meghan Markle left royal life.

“Being in the Royal Family is a lonely place, and Kate’s got very few people now, especially after the Queen’s death, who she can go to and confide in,” she told GB News. “Think back to when Diana and Fergie were always giggling and would help each other let off steam… Kate hasn’t got that.”

“The fact that things didn’t work out with Meghan was a real blow because Prince Harry’s bride would have been another person stuck in the same situation.”

Meanwhile, Jennie Bond adds that Kate has a “strong inner circle” of friends who help and support her. Likewise, her mother, Carol, and sister, Pippa, have “been on hand” during her recovery.

“Kate has maintained deep friendships with several of her schoolmates, who obviously knew her way before royalty came her way, so they’ll know just how to help,” Jennie Bond added.

“Kate has also forged strong friendships with many of William’s crowd, and they will all have been offering practical help – particularly with the children – as William juggles his work commitments with his priority of caring for his wife and family.”