Before Meghan Markle came into the picture, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton seemed inseparable—but that does not mean the much-talked-about “royal rift” is her fault.
The falling-out between the couples (formerly referred to as the Fab Four) reportedly developed as Harry and Meghan’s relationship threatened to overshadow the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (now Prince and Princess of Wales). However, the extent of the rift was not made public until the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aired years of grievances in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.
Since then, bombshell after bombshell has dropped, first in the form of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s two-part Netflix documentary, and then in Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare.
Here’s a comprehensive timeline of the royal drama between the Wales and Sussex families.
July 2016: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle begin dating after being introduced by a mutual friend at London’s Soho House.
November 2016: Prince William issues a statement refuting reports that he disapproved of Harry’s decision to put out a statement defending Meghan from racist and sexist attacks by the British press. “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” the statement from Kensington Palace reads.
2016–2017: Sometime before announcing their engagement in 2017, Prince William reportedly warns his brother that his relationship with Meghan is moving too quickly after the younger confides he wants to propose after less than a year of dating. According to an insider who spoke with People in 2019, the conversation left Harry “angry and hurt.”
November 27, 2017: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement. At the time, the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge put out a statement of congratulations, writing, “We are very excited for Harry and Meghan. It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.”