We all know the truth about Prince Harry’s relationship with his brother, Prince William, but where does Kate Middleton fall into the mix? Kate has been by William’s side for over a decade, so it comes as no surprise that she’s been an integral part of Harry’s life too. From public events to royal weddings to home cooked meals at Kensington Palace, Harry, William, and Kate seemed to be the three musketeers. Of course, a lot of things changed when Harry and Meghan Markle started dating.
Pretty much all the royal news has revolved around Harry and William’s feud, how they went from brothers in arms to — let’s face it — enemies. For the foreseeable future, William and Harry won’t see eye to eye, but where does that leave Kate?
All eyes were on the trio when they were reunited for the first time since Harry left his role as a senior royal. At the royal funeral of Prince Philip, Harry, William, and Kate once again walked together — a glimpse from the past, if you will. So where do things between Harry and Kate stand? Here’s the truth about Prince Harry and Kate Middleton’s relationship.
Prince Harry was still a teenager when he met Kate Middleton
The world watched when Prince Harry and Prince William walked behind their mother’s casket in 1997 — just two young boys, but they were grieving on the world stage. Both Harry and William went on with their lives, and William met Kate Middleton at the University of St. Andrews in 2003. As noted by the Daily Mail, Kate met Harry quickly thereafter, and things blossomed from there. A St. Andrews’ source told explained that "from the earliest days, Kate always maintained an open-door policy to Prince Harry." Additionally, "While they were students she always made him feel welcome," the insider continued. "The three also spent weekends together."
Of course, Harry’s teens and early 20s looked a bit rough, so it’s hard to say exactly how his behavior impacted his relationship with his brother and Kate. According to the BBC, Harry reportedly "experimented" with drugs at 17, got into a fight with a photographer at 20, and got caught on camera playing "strip billiards" in Las Vegas. His early years were a bit all over the place, and we can’t help but wonder if Kate gave him some sisterly advice.
Kate Middleton knew that a bond with Prince Harry was crucial in winning over Prince William
If anyone is going to tell you the truth about your prospective significant other, it’s your sibling. You can always count on them for their brutal honesty (sometimes to a fault), but that was a reality that Kate Middleton reportedly clued in on. As noted by the Daily Mail, Kate quickly learned that a positive relationship with Prince Harry was crucial in maintaining a good romance with Prince William. An inside source even said that "she knew that getting on with Harry was key to her relationship with William."
Of course, Kate was from a fairly normal family and had a sibling of her own, so it comes as no surprise that she was a bit of a natural when it came to bonding with the young prince. But from the very first day, "Kate made a massive effort with Harry… She grew up in such an inclusive family, the ‘en masse Middletons’ and all that," another insider said. ("En Masse Middletons" was a nickname the family picked up because they always moved together.) Looks like Kate really knew what she was doing.
Prince Harry once said that Kate Middleton was the sister he never had
The royals are known for being private. They reportedly rarely talk about their feelings, the inner workings of the family, the experiences that they go through, or the realities (both good and bad) of being royal. However, Prince Harry sat down with Newsweek in 2017 for an interview, and was surprisingly forthcoming about the dynamic that he had with his family members, Kate Middleton included.
Let’s start with the Queen — Harry called her "remarkable," something we can all agree on. He then talked about his late mother, Princess Diana, sharing that she did everything she could to make his life fun and safe. Harry hardly mentioned his father, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, which given the history there, doesn’t come as a huge shock.
But what about Kate? When William asked her to marry him, Harry called Kate the sister he’d never had. Newsweek also reported that Harry had made a habit of going over to his brother and sister-in-law’s for dinner at Kensington Palace, as Kate would make him his favorite meals. If one thing’s clear, these two had a very special bond.
Prince Harry and Kate Middleton used to live in very close proximity to each other
At one time, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton were neighbors. According to the Daily Mail, Harry lived in the 2-bedroom Nottingham Cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds, which was right next door to Kate Middleton and Prince William’s apartment, Apartment 1A. At one point, according to an insider, Harry was reportedly more than comfortable just going over to his brother and sister-in-law’s apartment whenever he felt like it. "Harry is totally at ease popping over to the Cambridges’ gym to work out next to Wills, and he’s used to seeing Kate in her cashmere dressing gown reading to Charlotte, or joining in cosy family suppers, eaten from their laps," the source said. They also shared that Kate "encouraged" Harry to come play with his niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince George (baby Prince Louis wasn’t on the scene yet) as often as he wanted.
But as noted by Harper’s Bazaar, things allegedly got complicated when Harry and Meghan Markle started their lives together; for a while, they lived in the two-bedroom apartment that Harry had been occupying as a single man. They eventually relocated to Frogmore Cottage.
Kate Middleton and her husband agree that Prince Harry is a people person
Prince William might be the heir to the throne, and Kate Middleton might one day become Queen, but Prince Harry reportedly has charms that neither his brother or sister-in-law can replicate. And according to a royal insider, both William and Kate know that to be true. A source close to Harry told Newsweek that while William excelled at school (more so than Harry), the younger of the two brothers has a way with people that William and Kate can’t compete with. "William was more successful academically, but when it comes to dealing with people, Harry knocks the spots off both him and Kate, especially with children," the source revealed. "Harry is passionate about them and is a natural, which neither William nor Kate are."
Of course, Harry doesn’t have as much pressure on him that Kate and William do, as he is much further down the line of succession. Even so, it’s interesting to think about what their dynamic behind closed doors must’ve been like — that is, of course, until Harry decided to step back from royal duties and move to California.
Prince Harry confided in Kate Middleton more than his step-mother
Even if you’re not a fan of the royal family, you most likely know some of what went down between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The couple had two kids — Prince William and Prince Harry — but after a decade of stress (and cheating), the two got divorced. Diana, tragically, died in 1997 and Charles married his long-time companion, Camilla Parker-Bowles, in 2005 (via Town & Country).
So where does Kate Middleton come in? An insider told the Daily Mail that Kate stepped in for Harry as an emotional confidant, given that the role had previously been filled primarily by his mother. And while "William and Harry get on with Camilla and are delighted to see their father happy," according to the source, "they don’t really confide in her."
So it was Kate that Harry reportedly turned to in moments of need, and the two developed a "genuine friendship" while relying on one another for support. Kate was described as Harry’s "trusted counsel," and while their time together didn’t always consist of deep talks (they were known to watch Game of Thrones together), they had each other’s backs.
Kate Middleton reportedly loved watching Prince Harry be an uncle to her children
There’s nothing more fun than being an aunt or uncle. You get the best part of the kids without having to change the diapers or do the 2 a.m. feedings, and it certainly seemed like Prince Harry embraced the role of fun uncle. An inside source told the Daily Mail that Kate Middleton and Harry really bonded over his "free and easy" spirit, and his attitude came in handy when playing with her kids. "Kate… adores the way Harry plays with her children," the source shared. "He is very good with them, a charming big kid and silly uncle."
But as you can imagine, things went downhill pretty quickly, and given the rift between Harry and Prince William, Harry’s role as an uncle suffered. As noted by Express, royal authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand assessed in their book, Finding Freedom, that Harry’s bond with Prince George and Princess Charlotte suffered as a result of the feud between the brothers. The authors also alleged that Kate was "fiercely loyal" to William, and that even during his feud with Harry, she did "little to diffuse the situation."
Kate Middleton played this process safe, but Prince Harry didn’t
We’ve all heard about the feud between Prince Harry and Prince William, but what has it all really been about? Well, historian Robert Lacey answered that question in his book Battle of Brothers, and some of it has to do with Kate Middleton. According to Elle, Kate spent nine years being vetted by William for the role of Duchess of Cambridge, mostly given that he’s directly in line to the throne. Kate was even given the nickname "Waity Katie," a nod to the drawn out process between the couple.
So why is this an aspect of her relationship with Prince Harry? Well, Harry reportedly had the directly opposite approach to his romantic connection with Meghan Markle. So much of the tension between Harry, William, and Kate stemmed from Harry’s full steam ahead approach to Meghan, a direct contrast to how the OG royal couple had done things. "There, on the one hand, you have duty, and on the other hand you have Harry," Lacey assessed. "He’s going to go for love, and that’s what he’s done with Meghan, unapologetically."
Kate Middleton reportedly contributed to the rift between her husband and Prince Harry
Things tend to get more complicated when new additions to the family are made, but according to authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, things reportedly got distant between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle — a no-go for Prince Harry. As noted by Harper’s Bazaar, the authors alleged that Kate and Meghan had met each other with a "distant politeness," and the press and public were picking up on it fairly quickly. Things really came to head at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day when Kate and Meghan were spotted together. They had a "cordial but distant rapport" that was pretty much obvious to everyone.
Of course, we can imagine that the dynamic didn’t please Harry at all, especially considering that there was a lot going on in the royal family behind the scenes. While Kate and Meghan "barely exchanged a word" at the event, Scobie and Durand assessed that their dynamic was reflective of "the conflict between Harry and the institution." Either way, it seemed as though Harry’s relationship with Kate, his brother, and the royal family was slowly starting to crumble.
Kate Middleton reportedly tarnished one of Prince Harry’s previous relationships
Prince Harry was a very eligible bachelor, and given how close he was to Kate Middleton, it’s not surprising that she had a hand in his love life. But as noted by Yahoo! News, Kate was allegedly partly responsible for the demise of one of Harry’s serious relationships. Harry dated Chelsy Davy — born to wealthy parents and raised in Zimbabwe — on and off in the early 2000s, and a lot of people thought that the two would see their relationship through. As such, Kate made an attempt to get to know Chelsy, but things sort of went downhill.
Katie Nicholl, a royal biographer, said that the two ladies were so opposite that cracks in the relationship began to show. "They were completely different characters and the bubbly Zimbabwean got along better with Pippa [Middleton]," Nicholl assessed. After things continued to go south, a "coolness" reportedly developed between Chelsy and Kate, and the romantic relationship between Harry and Chelsy eventually came to an end. It certainly seemed that (at the time), Kate had at least some sort of influence over Harry and his romantic life.
Kate Middleton was "mortified" over what Prince Harry revealed during the Oprah interview
The interview. Two words, and if you’re a fan of the royals, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey and pretty much aired all the royal dirty laundry. Unsurprisingly, Kate Middleton was reportedly "mortified" over what they shared.
As noted by Page Six, one large point of contention between Kate and Meghan was over wedding details. It was originally reported that Meghan made Kate cry over flower girl dresses, but Meghan asserted in the interview that it was actually the other way around. Of course, it was just one small example of how quickly things had degraded between Harry and Meghan, and Prince William and Kate. "You never hear about [Kate] falling out with anyone because she is very careful with how she treats others," royal author Katie Nicholl explained. "So for this story to be circulating is very hard."
Nicholl also said that Kate was "saddened, disappointed and hurt" by the interview, and given what we know about the bond she used to have with Harry, it makes all of it sting just a little more.
Kate Middleton reportedly regrets getting involved with Prince Harry’s royal exit
Hindsight is always 20/20, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. And for Kate Middleton, it was reported that she regretted getting involved with the "soap opera" that was Prince Harry and his exodus from the royal family (and his role as a senior royal). According to Page Six, Kate and Prince William set about "surround[ing]" themselves in "goodness" in order to combat the stress that Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure was causing.
What did said "goodness" consist of? Their children, Kate’s parents, Pippa Middleton and her husband, and close family members. "William and Catherine could not be more discreet, they don’t want to get involved in this public b***h fest," an inside source told Page Six. "Even when Harry spoke about the fallout with William, there was no briefing from them. And by saying nothing, that is the smartest move."
Throughout the drama enveloping their extended family, Kate and William reportedly made an effort to listen to their advisors. "They don’t wish to elevate this soap opera," the source concluded.
Prince Harry and Kate Middleton reunited at Prince Philip’s funeral
For a good chunk of time, Prince Harry was always trailing Prince William and Kate Middleton — he was the third wheel, to put it bluntly, but all of that changed when Meghan Markle joined his side. So it was quite the sight when Harry, William, and Kate reunited for the first time since Harry’s departure to the United States. The three joined each other during the funeral proceedings for Prince Philip, who passed away in April 2021, and it seemed to go better between them than anticipated.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, William and Kate made a point of "chatting and walking" with Harry, and they all seemed to be in "good spirits for the reunion." The three even went to a private funeral wake held for Philip at Windsor Castle shortly after the public ceremony — what we wouldn’t give to have overheard those conversations. Of course, Meghan didn’t join Harry as she was expecting their second child, so it was just the original three who made the event. With so much having happened between them, it’s a wonder what Kate and Harry said to one another.
Was Kate Middleton the peacemaker between Prince Harry and Prince William?
Body language is perhaps more telling than verbal communication, and luckily for us, an expert analyzed the reunion of Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, and Prince William at Prince Philip’s funeral. Joe Navarro, a body language expert, told Today that Kate served as a peacekeeper between the brothers, and that she figured out a way to get them back together while also giving them their space. "If there is discord between the brothers we don’t see it here. William has set the pace, waiting for his brother to catch up and Kate has moved to the side so that the brothers can be together," he revealed.
Navarro also pointed out that the proximity between the three royals was an indication of comfort, as they all were appropriately distanced from each other. "Their proximity, their gate in synchrony, their countenance, and gaze back and forth, suggests strongly that they are getting along," he added. Kate, who joined the brothers for most of the service, did step back and give them a chance to speak, just the two of them. What we wouldn’t give to know what was said.