Given all that has happened between the Sussexes and the royal family, it’s almost hard to believe that just a few years ago fans were excited about the work Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton were expected to do together. But before things really got off the ground, Harry and his wife announced that they were stepping down as senior royals. The pair then moved across the pond and the Fab Four was no more.
Royal experts have analyzed their first appearance together and are pointing to signs most fans didn’t pick up on showing just how awkward things actually were back then in their body language and after what Harry whispered to Meghan.
Meghan, Harry, William, and Kate appeared together at a joint engagement before the Sussexes were married
On Feb. 28, 2018, the foursome attended the first Royal Foundation Forum where William, Kate, and Harry announced that Meghan was the fourth patron of the Royal Foundation.
It was the Duchess of Sussex’s first official engagement with the Cambridges and the purpose was to promote their work through the foundation. But during Meghan’s speech, she shifted the focus of the project from mental health to female empowerment.
“Kate had really spearheaded that project, it was really her brainchild from her experiences and her work. Especially very personal experiences with her brother James who suffered from clinical depression,” commentator Christine Ross explained on Us Weekly’s Royally Us podcast. “Meghan gave some remarks and sort of shifted the narrative.”
The comment Harry whispered to Meghan during her speech reportedly left the Cambridges feeling uncomfortable
In the biography Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, investigative journalist Tom Bower wrote about Meghan’s comments and what Harry whispered to her while she was speaking.
“With so many campaigns like MeToo and TimesUp, there’s no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people supporting them,” Meghan said in her speech. “You’ll often hear people say, ‘well you’re helping people find their voice’ and I fundamentally disagree with that, because women don’t need to find a voice. They have a voice, they need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
According to the book, “Instead of speaking about mental health, she had been swept up by her vision of a modern monarchy.” Bower said that this led Harry to interrupt his future bride’s speech.
“Wedding first,” Harry injected. Meghan replied to the prince’s unexpected interruption saying: “We can multitask.” According to Bower, their exchange made William and Kate feel uncomfortable.
“Meghan imagined herself as center-stage rather than recognizing the reality of standing on the periphery. As the discomfort among the four became obvious,” Bower wrote. “William tried to restore harmony. The Crown, he volunteered, should be ‘relevant to their generation’ but the Four should not reinvent the wheel.’”
Other signs that day proved things weren’t what they seemed
Vanity Fair royal editor Katie Nicholl said looking back on that event in hindsight there were other signs indicating things weren’t great between the Fab Four.
Nicholl recalled that when William, Harry, Meghan, and Kate were asked whether they have “disagreements” when they “work together” the Duke of Cambridge responded by giving an “awkward” laugh.
On the program Funniest Royal Cock-ups, Nicholl opined that was a hint that there were tensions behind the scenes.
After that day, we never saw the foursome promoting a project on stage together again.