What Really Happened During Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s First Meeting

Like it is with most first meetings with your future in-laws, the first encounter between Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was a bit awkward—but not because of anything Meghan had done.

Detailed in the new Sussex-centered book, Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the two duchess’s initial encounter happened back in January 2017, with Kate reportedly being “extremely guarded,” per Entertainment Tonight. She “had seemingly not shown much interest in finding out who this woman was who had made her brother-in-law so happy.”

The authors clarify, however, that they don’t believe Kate’s first impression had anything to do with Meghan, but rather with Kate’s personal tendency to be a more private individual. Meghan helped warm up their meeting by reportedly gifting Kate a soft leather Smythson notebook as a belated birthday gift. The Duchess of Cambridge also extended a kind gesture of her own.

“The meeting ended with Kate letting Meghan know that she was always welcome to contact her if she needed anything,” wrote Scobie and Durand.

Though Finding Freedom‘s authors assure both duchesses “were not at war with each other”—contrary to stories spun by the British tabloids—”the truth was that Meghan and Kate just didn’t know each other that well,” and they were not able to form a closer friendship ahead of the Sussexes stepping away from royal life.

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