Kate Middleton Prince William Prince Harry Meghan Markle
Getty Images

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, and Prince William: A Timeline of Their Royal Drama

Let's map this out, shall we?

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.”

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

December 2017: Prince Harry reportedly confronts his brother about welcoming Meghan into the family. “Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so,” a mutual friend of the princes told Vanity Fair’s royals reporter Katie Nicholl in 2018. “They had a bit of a fall out which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort. That’s when the Cambridges invited the Sussexes to spend Christmas with them.”

A Fab Four Christmas in 2017!

Chris Jackson/Getty Images


February 28, 2018: The “Fab Four” make their official debut at the Royal Foundation Forum in London. According to Nicholl, this was the moment Will and Kate realized they needed to “up their game.”

“The Cambridges had already signaled their intention to be more than ‘ornamental royals’ and had, along with Harry, made a huge success of their mental health campaign Heads Together,” Nicholl wrote in her 2022 book The New Royals, per Insider. “But Meghan was the breakout star of the foursome. She was polished, passionate, and funny, using all her TV-honed skills to present her case.”

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and Prince William attend the first annual Royal Foundation Forum on February 28, 2018.


May 2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed on May 19, 2018. Around that time The Telegraph reported that Kate Middleton was “left in tears following a bridesmaids dress fitting for Princess Charlotte.” The press ran with it.

However, in her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan claimed it was the other way around. “The reverse happened,” she eventually told Oprah. “I say that not to be disparaging to anyone because it was a really hard week, and she was upset about something. She owned it and she apologized, and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing. She did what I would do if I knew I hurt someone. To just take accountability for it…. I would’ve never wanted that to come out about her. Ever. Even though it had happened. I protected that from ever being out in the world.” 

Princess Charlotte and Kate Middleton attend the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. 

JANE BARLOW/Getty Images

Basically, Meghan said Kate confronted her about the flower girl dresses while Markle was dealing with highly publicized family issues. “It really hurt my feelings,” Meghan said. “I thought in the context of everything that was going on in those days leading to the wedding that it didn’t make sense to not just be doing what everyone else was doing, which was being supportive knowing what was going on with my dad and whatnot.”

What hurt Meghan the most was that the royal family did nothing to correct the initial reports, which only fueled attacks against her. “I think that’s when everything changed, really,” Meghan said. 

November 2018: The Sussexes reportedly decide to put distance between themselves and the Cambridges by moving from Kensington Palace in London to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. 

December 25, 2018: Fans of the royal family believe Will gave Meghan the cold shoulder during a public appearance on Christmas. 


February 2019: After 10 years of them sharing a royal household, it’s reported that Will and Harry will create separate courts, offices, and staff to handle their affairs.

April 21, 2019: Amid growing reports of tension between brothers, Harry and Will seem to avoid each other at an Easter service. People noticed. 

May 6, 2019: Meghan and Harry welcome their first child, a baby boy named Archie. Kate and Will say they’re “absolutely thrilled” for the Sussexes. 

Instagram content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

June 2019: Meghan and Harry split off from the Fab Four’s joint charity, the Royal Foundation. It’s also reported that Harry and William had stopped talking before Archie was born. 

July 2019: People think Prince William looks “sour” at Archie’s christening

Instagram content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

October 2019: Prince Harry addresses the rift directly for the first time. “Inevitably stuff happens. But we’re brothers; we’ll always be brothers,” Harry said in the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. “We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy, but I love him dearly.”

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.


January 2020: It’s happening. On January 8, Harry and Meghan announce they will be stepping back from their senior royal duties and splitting time between the UK and the US. The royal family does not seem happy about the announcement, and the Palace puts out a statement of its own, saying it will “take time” to work through the “complicated issues.” (For a refresher on everything that went down, click here.)

On January 13, The Times publishes a story in which a source claims the Sussexes felt “pushed away by what they saw as a bullying attitude from the Duke of Cambridge.” That same day Will and Harry refute the story in a joint statement. “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex & The Duke of Cambridge,” a spokesperson wrote. “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”

However, in the 2022 Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry claims he never signed off on that statement. “I couldn’t believe it. No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that," he says, adding, "Meghan burst into floods of tears because within four hours they were happy to lie to protect my brother, and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

As time goes by, sources say Kate Middleton misses her close relationship with Prince Harry. “She wishes she could speak to Harry. She misses him and fears she’ll never be close to him again,” the source told Us Weekly.

February 2020: Despite alleged “secret peace talks,” it’s later reported that the brothers did not settle their differences. “They didn’t leave on good terms by any means, but they are both relieved that it’s over,” a supposed friend told People

While Meghan and Harry settle into their temporary home in Canada, Brad Pitt writes a joke about their exit into his BAFTA Awards speech on February 2. Will and Kate are reportedly unamused

March 9, 2020: After returning to the UK for a series of engagements, Meghan and Harry seem to have an awkward reunion with the Cambridges. Based on one particular video, fans are convinced Kate and Will actively ignored a hello from Meghan during the Commonwealth Day Service.

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

In the 2022 docuseries Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry confirms that their final engagements “looked cold and felt cold.”

May 2020: Things reportedly improve over quarantine. “There have been clearly some quite major rifts in that relationship, but things have got better and I know that William and Harry are in touch on the phone,” Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight. “They have done video calls together, they have done a lot of family birthdays, and I think with Prince Charles not being well, that really forced the brothers to pick up the phone and get back in touch."

Later in the month, Kensington Palace slams a Tatler report that Kate Middleton is “furious” over her post–Meghan and Harry workload.


February 2021: The Sussexes permanently step down as working royals. “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family,” Buckingham Palace says in a statement.

March 2021: The Oprah interview drops on March 8 and everything escalates. Along with Meghan’s wedding story, racism allegations, and a whole lot more, Prince Harry opens up about his current relationship with his brother. “As I’ve said before, I love William to bits. He’s my brother. We’ve been to hell together. But we’re on different paths,” he said. “The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment…and time heals all things, hopefully.”

While reports suggest William is “devastated” by the interview, his public statement is brief. When asked if he has spoken with his brother, Will tells a reporter, “No, I haven’t spoken to him yet but I will.” He then tells another reporter, "We’re very much not a racist family.”

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

On the 16th, Gayle King reveals Harry has been in contact with Will and Charles. “The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive,” she said of her call with Harry and Meghan. “But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.” So far, no one from the royal family has spoken with Meghan. 

Instagram content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

April 17, 2021: Harry and Will reunite at Prince Philip’s funeral. People are emotional about it. Meghan is pregnant with their second child and does not attend.

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

May 2021: Harry compares growing up in the royal family to “living in a zoo” in a new interview. He added, “It’s the job, right? Grin and bear it. Get on with it. I was in my early 20s, and I was thinking, I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum [Princess Diana]. How am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family, when I know it’s going to happen again?” William and Charles reportedly do not take it well.

Later in the month, Harry reveals that he was met with “total silence” when he asked the royal family for help when Megan was struggling with suicidal thoughts. “I thought my family would help, but every single ask—request, warning, whatever—just got met with total silence, total neglect,” Prince Harry says in his mental health docuseries series The Me You Can’t See, per People. “I’m also really angry with myself that we’re stuck in this situation. I was ashamed that it had got this bad. I was ashamed to go to my family because—to be honest with you, like a lot of other people my age could probably relate to—I know that I’m not going to get from my family what I need.”

William is reportedly still unhappy with his brother. “William feels that Harry should discuss his issues privately and can’t comprehend why he continues to shade his own flesh and blood on TV,” a source tells Us Weekly. “Of course, mental health is a serious issue, but William can’t get his head around why Harry keeps throwing his family under the bus.”

June 2021: Will and Kate congratulate Meghan and Harry on the birth of their daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, and reportedly send a gift.

July 2021: The brothers reunite for the unveiling of the statue honoring their late mother, Princess Diana, on July 1.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

WPA Pool/Getty Images

Harry announces he is writing a memoir on July 19. 


June 2022: Harry and Meghan are left out of the royal family’s Trooping the Colour balcony appearance during the queen’s platinum Jubilee celebration and do not mingle with Will and Kate throughout the festivities. “For [Meghan and Harry], being here is all about honoring and celebrating the life and legacy of the queen, someone they have continued a close relationship with,” royal expert Omid Scobie says during an appearance on BBC Breakfast. “We know that is not the same with the other royal family members.”

Despite all the Sussexes visiting the UK as a family for the first time, the Cambridges travel to Wales during Lilibet Diana’s first birthday on June 4. 

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

August 2022: Meghan Markle begins airing her Spotify podcast, Archetypes.

Early September 2022: September is a monumental month for the royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle return to the UK for a scheduled trip from the 5th to the 8th. It’s reported that the couples plan to “avoid each other.” Tensions are higher than ever as the royal family braces itself for the release of Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir and new Netflix documentary

September 8, 2022: Harry is called to Balmoral Castle to visit his grandmother when it’s clear her health is declining. Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth passes away while he is en route. Neither Kate nor Meghan joined their husbands at Balmoral

September 9, 2022: Among many royal title changes, the Cambridges become the Prince and Princess of Wales

September 10, 2022: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex join the Prince and Princess of Wales for their first joint public appearance since March 2020. 

It’s later reported that the reunion was just as “awkward” as the pictures made it seem. “It was awkward. Both couples found it hard,” a source told People. “They were in a stoic spirit of just getting through it for the queen.”

Kate, William, Harry, and Meghan outside Windsor Castle on September 10

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

September 16, 2022: Prince Harry’s memoir has reportedly been postponed in light of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

October 2022: As the Princess and Princess of Wales prepare for their December trip to Boston, which is scheduled around the same time that the Sussexes will be in NYC, it’s reported Kate plans to “extend an olive branch” to Meghan. The Duchess of Sussex is reportedly “willing to put in the effort as long as dates don’t clash,” according to a source who spoke with Us Weekly.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, gets a January 2023 release date. For everything we know about the memoir, click here

December 2022: Netflix drops the first trailer for Harry & Meghan: A Netflix Global Event on December 1—one day after Will and Kate arrive in Boston for their big Earthshot Prize trip. Some royals experts believe this was a deliberate attempt to overshadow the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

The second trailer drops on December 5. In the longer clip, Prince Harry seems to suggest the palace planted stories about Meghan in the press. “You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories,” Harry says. An unnamed woman adds, “There was a war against Meghan to suit other people’s agendas.”

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

December 15, 2022: The second installment of the Harry & Meghan docuseries drops, giving us the biggest bombshells about Prince Harry and Prince William's relationship. Though you can read about most of the revelations here, the main standout is that Will supposedly shouted at his brother during a meeting at Sandringham after the Sussexes announced their exit on Instagram—a meeting Harry feels Meghan was purposefully excluded from. 

“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and have my father say things that simply weren't true and have my grandmother, you know, quietly sit there and sort of take in all of it,” Harry says in the documentary of the meeting. 


January 12, 2023: Prince Harry says he worries about Prince William and Kate Middleton's children facing similar issues as him in an interview with The Telegraph. “Though William and I have talked about it once or twice, and he has made it very clear to me that his kids are not my responsibility, I still feel a responsibility knowing that out of those three children, at least one will end up like me, the spare,” he said. “And that hurts, that worries me.”

On that same day, Will and Kate blatantly ignore a question about Harry and his memoir from the press. 

Twitter content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

March 2, 2023: Though royals expert Richard Fitzwilliams tells UsWeekly that rumors that the Prince of Wales does not want Harry to attend King Charles’s coronation in May are not accurate, he says, “There’s no doubt [William] feels very strongly.

“Charles is a symbol of national unity, of course, as the monarch, and the invitation comes from him,” Fitzwilliams says. “So far as William is concerned, I mean, it’s a terribly deep rift and I don’t see it being mended.”

This post will be updated.