MEGHAN Markle turns 40 next week – and she’ll be celebrating her landmark birthday in LA with husband Harry and children Archie and Lilibet.
The Duchess of Sussex met her future husband in July 2016, was welcomed into the royal fold and has since had a huge impact on the Firm.
Many saw her arrival into the family as a breath of fresh air that helped to modernise the traditional institution.
But her journey into the heart of The Firm hasn’t always been a smooth one.
Tensions reportedly took hold early on, with Prince Harry apparently taking umbrage when his older brother raised concerns about the speed of his new relationship.
And it’s claimed the rift only deepened when William learned of allegations that Meghan had bullied Palace staff.
The Duke of Cambridge was so incensed he decided to split his household from the Sussexes’, it’s claimed.
Meanwhile, chats with Oprah – and a multimillion pound mega-book deal signed by Harry – make some experts fear a true reconciliation will never happen.
Here are 40 times the headstrong Duchess has clashed with her in-laws.
Read our Meghan and Harry live blog for the latest updates
Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior royals will have repercussions on the royals for years to come.
They made the announcement that they would be financially independent in January last year, before promptly moving to LA with son Archie.
At the time, it was claimed no senior royal, including either the Queen or William, had been consulted about their decision – leaving the Palace “disappointed”.
In February this year, the couple confirmed they would not ever be returning to the fold.
The Queen said in a statement: “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
As a result of the move, Charles and William have settled on the idea of a ‘slimmed-down monarchy’ in the future – reportedly with no part for the Sussexes.
Meghan and Harry have made a series of claims about the family since they stepped away.
However, the most damaging of all is the allegation that a senior royal had quizzed them on baby Archie’s skin before his birth.
During her bombshell interview with Oprah in March, Meghan said there had been a conversation about the tot’s skin colour and “what that would mean or look like”.
She declined to say who had started those conversations, saying it would be “damaging” for them.
However, Oprah later clarified neither the Queen nor Prince Philip had made the remark.
Following the claim, the Palace issued a statement to say “recollections may vary”.
But officials did decide to launch a diversity review – while the Queen pondered the appointment of a diversity tsar.
In the weeks after the interview, it was reported that aides at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace would take part in a “listen and learn” exercise on the issue.
‘MAKING KATE CRY’
It was widely reported that Meghan made soon-to-be sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry at a fraught bridesmaid dress fitting ahead of the wedding.
But Meghan hit back at those allegations, claiming instead that Kate made her cry.
However, the journalist behind the original story sticks by her sources.
There have subsequently been claims that Kate went to apologise and Meg threw flowers in the bin.
William was said to be particularly upset about Meghan’s claims.
PALACE BULLYING ACCUSATIONS
The Palace launched a probe after claims Meghan bullied staff came to light ahead of the Oprah interview.
Jason Knauf, who worked in comms for both the Cambridges and the Sussexes, submitted an official email in October 2018.
Meghan allegedly snapped “it’s not my job to coddle people” after aides were left in tears and humiliated by her “difficult demands”.
Mr Kauf claimed Meghan’s alleged treatment of staff was “totally unacceptable”, adding that she “seems intent on always having someone in her sights”.
One courtier claimed that the duchess “governed by fear” while it was also reported there was a “febrile” atmosphere.
And another ex-employee alleged they had been personally “humiliated” by Meghan, whose behaviour felt “more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying”.
The former actress fiercely denies the claims – and her spokesperson said she’s the victim of a “calculated smear campaign”.
When William learned of the allegations, however, he was so furious he decided he could no longer deal with his brother or sister-in-law, it’s claimed.
According to a new version of book Battle of Brothers, he called Harry, who “flared up in furious defence of his wife”.
But author Robert Lacey says: “Harry shut off his phone angrily… the showdown between the brothers was fierce and bitter.”
NO HELP WHEN SUICIDAL
Meghan says she was ignored when she asked HR for support saying she felt suicidal.
She told Oprah she spoke to human resources rather than the Royal Family.
But over the years, several members of the Royal Family have sought help, including Prince Harry.
The Duke even fronted initiative Heads Together with charity Mind to end stigma of mental health.
It is also understood Meghan got help from Diana’s former confidante Julia Samuelson and had her own therapist.
‘DEMANDING’ 5AM EMAILS
In 2018, the year Meghan and Harry were wed, it was reported she’d sent emails to staff as early as 5am.
Revelations of her demands – including dawn calls and texts to staff – came after it was revealed her PA quit after just six months in the role.
A royal insider said: “Meghan can be difficult.
“She has very high standards and is used to working in a Hollywood environment.
“However, there’s a different degree of respect in the royal household and Kate has always been very careful about how she has acted around staff.”
AIR FRESHENERS IN THE CHAPEL
It was alleged that Meghan wanted air fresheners to fix the “musty smell” at St George’s Chapel before her wedding – but Buckingham Palace officials refused.
She specifically asked for atomisers to fill the chapel before Royal Wedding guests arrived because she didn’t “like its smell”, a source claimed.
Household staff were reportedly left astounded at her request because the chapel is The Queen’s regular place of worship and even contains the Royal Vault.
“Meghan wanted staff to go around with these atomisers, like spritzer guns, and spray the chapel with scent before anyone arrived,” a source alleged.
‘SERVICE IS UNIVERSAL’
A former aide of the Queen claimed Meghan and Harry were “petulant, rude and immature” when they confirmed they won’t return as frontline royals.
After the announcement this year, a statement released by the Palace said it is “not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service”.
However, Meghan and Harry then quickly hit back with their own statement which said: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter – who was the Queen’s press spokesman for 12 years from 1998 to 2000 – said: “It was petulant, it was rude, it was immature.”
And royal author Robert Jobson added: “The rudeness of the statement they issued after they left!
“Frankly, they have been given a lot of slack, but they were damn right rude to the Queen and the Royal Family.”
During the Oprah chat, Meghan appeared to suggest the Firm were involved in a secret briefing war against her.
The chat show host asked: “How do you feel about the palace hearing you speak your truth today?”
And Meg replied: “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.
“And, if that comes with a risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.”
The Queen traditionally loans royal brides tiaras for their big days, and she did the same for the Duchess of Sussex, lending her Queen Mary’s Bandeau Tiara.
However, it was claimed there was behind-the-scenes drama concerning Meghan’s headpiece, and the Queen had actually shot down the Duchess’s first choice of tiara.
Harry then stepped in to have words with his grandmother’s dresser, Angela Kelly, who “deliberately dragged her feet”, according to biography Finding Freedom.
This then prompted the Queen to tell her grandson: “Meghan cannot have whatever she wants. She gets what tiara she’s given by me.”
The Royal Family’s stoic approach to public relations can be summed up as “never complain, never explain”.
But Harry and Meghan’s decision to give a wide-ranging interview to Oprah – and air plenty of grievances – raised eyebrows in the family.
Prince Philip was particularly infuriated, it’s claimed, and reportedly believed the decision was “madness”.
He’s said to have told loved ones: “No good will come of it.”
The royals do give interviews occasionally, but the Oprah chat – like Princess Diana’s Panorama interview – represents a real step away from the status quo.
MULTI-MILLION POUND DEALS
During the Oprah chat, Meghan agreed when Harry said working with TV companies, such as streaming giant Netflix, was not part of the plan when they first planned a move to the US.
It has since been revealed the couple started speaking to Quibi video streaming in early 2019.
And the couple have since announced Netflix productions. One will take a look at the Invictus Games, while the second is a new animated series with the working title ‘Pearl’.
It’s also been claimed Meghan began working on her Netflix deals two hyears before Megxit.
Spotify bosses are likely to be less pleased with the couple’s output.
The company signed a £18m contract – but since them, the Duke and Duchess have released just one 35-minute podcast, which charted at a lowly 17.
STORMING OUT OF THE UN
Meghan cut short her visit to a Fijian market after she was reportedly snubbed by the UN years earlier.
Security swept the then-pregnant duchess away from the market after she whispered to a bodyguard during a visit in October 2018.
Mystery has always surrounded her decision to leave quickly, although at the time, the reason given for the abrupt end to her walkabout was that the crowds grew too big to control.
However royal biographer Robert Lacey said Meghan‘s sudden dash may have been because UN Women were hosting the event.
He alleged she may have hoped to join UN Women’s distinguished roster of goodwill ambassadors, but was only assigned the lesser role of advocate.
Princess Eugenie was reportedly left upset when Meghan announced she was pregnant with Archie at her wedding.
The Duke and Duchess told friends and family of Meghan’s pregnancy during Eugenie’s big day in Windsor in October 2018, it’s claimed.
But authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand said in biography Finding Freedom: “A source said [Princess Eugenie] told friends she felt the couple should have waited to share the news.”
Sarah Ferguson, Eugenie’s mum, delivered a series of pointed tweets to celebrate her daughter’s wedding as news of the royal baby was released.
Harry was reportedly embarrassed at the gaffe.
LAVISH BABY SHOWER
Meghan was faced with a “PR disaster” over her £300,000 baby shower while pregnant with Archie.
She came under fire after she flew on a private jet, stayed in the most expensive suite in New York and had a host of A-list pals attend her baby shower.
No expense was spared, and the royal mother-to-be was criticised for acting more like a glamorous superstar than the wife of an heir to the throne.
On that note, the Duchess is known for her blingy inner circle – which includes Oprah, Serena Williams and the Clooneys.
Elton John and David Furnish are also close pals of the Sussexes after the performer met Princess Diana at a party in 1981.
The star is believed to have known of Megxit before the Queen did.
Meanwhile, another A-list friend, billionaire filmmaker Tyler Perry, offered for the couple to stay – reportedly for free – in one of his Hollywood mansions and use his security when they moved to LA.
COMPLAINTS OVER PRIVATE SECURITY
During the Oprah interview, Meghan said security was removed from her, Harry and Archie, despite fears for their safety.
But when they quit their royal duties, they lost their Internationally Protected Persons status.
Senior royals do not get a taxpayer-funded 24/7 security if they are not working royals.
And Harry claimed he was “literally cut off financially” by the Royal Family.
This is disputed by Clarence House and Prince Charles. who has funded Harry and Meghan.
The Duchess mounted a victorious lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail.
She copyright claims in her legal battle after the papers reproduced a private letter she had written to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018.
Meghan’s lawsuit accused the tabloid of breaching the Data Protection Act, misuse of private information and copyright infringement.
ANL alleged that Jason Knauf, who was then the communications secretary for William and Kate, as well as for the Sussexes, helped Meghan pen the letter, meaning the letter belonged to the Crown.
Much has been made of the fact that Meghan and Harry made repeated demands for privacy – before splashing details of their lives during a series of high-profile interviews.
Some claim the couple simply want to gag the press, while enjoying the benefits of revealing details where they see fit.
Royal commentator Phil Dampier said the couple’s demands for privacy – while at the same time promoting projects revealing intimate information about their lives – is “ludicrous”.
He told HOAR Online: “It is one of the great ironies of Harry and Meghan’s departure that they said one of the reasons they wanted to go was to have some privacy and get away from the prying eyes of the press and public, and seemingly since then they’ve done nothing but put themselves in the public eye.
“It’s just reaching farcical proportions.”
PRIVATE JETS AFTER PUBLIC LECTURES
The couple are well-known for telling ordinary Brits what to do – while at the same time doing the complete opposite.
They have been branded “hypocrites” after urging people not to fly before hopping on private jets for holidays.
In 2019, they boarded a private plane to Ibiza for son Archie’s first holiday rather than take a commercial flight.
That news broke days after Harry faced criticism for flying on a private jet to the climate change summit at the Google Camp in Sicily, where he delivered a speech on the imminent threat of climate change.
The prince, who has claimed he and Meghan plan to have no more than two children in order to help save the planet, spoke barefoot about saving the environment and urged people to “take action.”
However, he is understood to have flown to Sicily via a private jet and helicopter, both of which do far more damage to the environment than commercial travel options.
Meghan also flew to New York for her baby shower on a private jet.
Meghan claimed she and Harry were secretly married by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the garden at Nottingham Cottage three days before the official wedding in May 2018.
But their wedding certificate proved this was not true.
The Archbishop of Canterbury later confirmed it didn’t happen, saying: “I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false”.
ARCHIE ‘WASN’T ALLOWED TO BE PRINCE’
Meghan alleged the Royal Family refused Archie’s birthright to be a prince after “concerns and conversations” about “how dark” his skin would be when he was born.
However, according to royal protocol, Archie can only receive a title when Prince Charles takes the throne.
King George V issued a writ in 1917 that only royal offspring who are in direct line of succession can be made prince and receive HRH titles.
PASSPORT WAS ‘TAKEN AWAY’
Meg claimed during the Oprah chat that she’d had her passport taken from her.
She also said she was unable to “just leave”.
However, after meeting Harry, she must have still had her passport to hand – as the couple jetted off on 13 holidays together, including breaks in Ibiza, Nice and Amsterdam.
She also travelled without Harry to New York and Toronto.
SILENT – OR SILENCED?
In one of the most famous lines from the Oprah interview, Meghan appeared to claim that she was silenced by the Royal Family.
But in reality, she went on 73 public appearances as a working royal.
She gave an interview with the BBC with Harry for her engagement.
And famously, she gave a tearful interview to Tom Bradby for ITN when in South Africa.
PAPERS ‘WITHHELD STORY ON DAD TO DO MAXIMUM HARM’
Meghan claimed the Mail on Sunday withheld a story on her father Thomas Markle setting up fake pap pics for a month.
She said the paper only published those images in its edition closest to her wedding.
In fact, the newspaper was working on the story for several weeks and only chose to publish it 24 hours after securing final CCTV proof.
PAPS INVITED TO ROYAL PARTIES
Meghan described cosy ‘tabloid holiday parties’, which she claimed were held between royals and the press at the palace.
Such parties don’t exist.
However, occasionally journos are invited in for a pre-tour get-together.
BANNED FROM LUNCHING WITH PALS
The Duchess said she was banned from going to lunch with friends.
In fact, newspapers turned down many paparazzi photos of Meghan out of the confines of the palace.
Royal author Andrew Morton described how Meghan was often seen walking to Whole Foods Supermarket on Kensington High Street.
NO TRAINING ON HOW TO BE A ROYAL
It may well have infuriated the royals to learn that Meghan believed she’d been given no training on how to fit in with the family.
However, like all members of the Royal Family, Meghan was sent on SAS training to deal with potential kidnapping.
Finding Freedom revealed she was also given informal training on royal life including exiting cars in a skirt and curtseying.
OPRAH CHAT AS PHILIP AILED IN HOSPITAL
The in terview aired after Prince Philip was rushed to hospital earlier this year – and just weeks before his death at the age of 99.
However, it’s claimed that the chat would not have run had the Duke of Edinburgh died first.
US breakfast show host Gayle King, a friend of Meghan’s, said: “Just so you know, they had done that interview before Prince Philip went into the hospital.
“And if something, God forbid, had happened to him, the interview would not have run at this particular time.”
LEAKS TO PALS
Gayle King is also responsible for a leak that reportedly caused the Palace to wonder if they’d ever be able to speak openly with Meghan and Harry in the future.
She revealed William and Harry had spoken after the Oprah interview – but talks were “unproductive” and tensions remained.
And she later had her say on the feud yet again as Prince Philip was buried – telling viewers it’s “no secret Harry and William’s relationship is strained”.
13 ADVISERS QUIT IN A YEAR
In March, Meghan’s chief of staff quit after less than a year — the latest of 13 key aides to leave the Sussexes.
Her long-serving agent also left while the PR team has been sidelined, it emerged.
At least nine other aides quit jobs when Meghan and Harry were working royals.
Their PR chief Sara Latham, who worked for Hillary Clinton, also left before being poached by the Queen.
Another aide, Heather Wong, quit in February as director of Harry’s travel firm.
We reported earlier this month that the couple’s Archewell website hit a stumbling block at the hands of US lawyers.
Documents were filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office by the couple, requesting sole use of the terms.
But their bid hasn’t had a smooth outcome as their applications need clarification if they are to be made into law, reported the Mail.
Meanwhile, days after the site launched, it was revealed that the platform can acquire and share users’ personal info.
FALL-OUT WITH FAMILY
Meghan is known to be on bad terms with her father and half-sisters.
In fact, the only member of her family invited to the wedding was mum Doria Ragland.
Dad Thomas and sister Samantha have taken frequent pot shots at the Duchess in the press.
Kate Middleton was reportedly worried about the state of Meg’s relationships with close family.
It’s claimed she was concerned that Harry hadn’t met his father-in-law before the wedding.
SUSSEX ROYAL BRAND
Meghan and Harry were forced to drop their ‘Sussex Royal’ brand in favour of Archewell after continuing to use their original logo – which featured their initials H and M intertwined with a crown on top.
It comes as the Queen banned them from using ‘royal’ branding after they stepped back as senior royals.
The couple were stripped of their royal titles in February when they confirmed they wouldn’t be rejoining the family as senior working royals.
The decision is said to have come as a bitter blow to the pair who, despite wanting to remain in the US for personal and financial freedom, believed they could still represent the public-facing bodies.
A royal source said they had “absolutely, no question” they wanted to retain the positions they had lost.
“They do respect the decision but they always made clear they were committed to doing the roles,” the source added.
Harry is said to have been particularly upset to lose his titles Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving.
The five-bed property in Windsor, a wedding gift from the Queen, was refurbished at enormous taxpayer cost – only for the couple to move out months later.
This sparked a huge amount of criticism in the UK – although under the terms of Megxit, it was announced that the couple had repaid the £2.4million cost.
The home is now lived in by Eugenie, husband Jack Brooksbank and the couple’s child August.
Harry stays in the cottage when he returns to the UK.
‘DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ROYALS’
Meghan claims she “never looked up my husband online” and “didn’t do any research into the monarchy”.
But according to the authors of Finding Freedom, Meghan looked up Harry via a thorough Google search for their first date.
Meghan had also known Princess Eugenie for several years before meeting Harry and old school friend Ninaki Priddy said Meg was “fascinated” by both the Royal Family and Princess Diana.
LILIBET NAME ROW
Harry and Meghan took the decision to name their daughter Lilibet Diana after the Queen and the Duke’s late mother.
But a royal row broke out amid claims the couple hadn’t told the Queen in advance that they’d be using her family nickname.
The row began when a Palace source told the BBC the Sussexes “never asked” Her Majesty about using her childhood nickname.
Harry then hit back just 90 minutes later saying his grandmother was “supportive” of his choice of name and the couple wouldn’t have used it if this wasn’t the case.
The battle then intensified after Harry and Meghan threatened the BBC with legal action through law firm Schillings.
TOT’S NAME REGISTERED AS PRIVATE DOMAIN
However, there was further confusion when the couple admitted they bought ‘Lilibet Diana‘ and ‘Lili Diana’ internet domains before Harry spoke to his gran.
The pair insisted they snapped them up to stop profiteers cashing in.
But Penny Junor, the prince’s biographer, said: “He clearly hasn’t consulted the Queen at that point.
“It is common courtesy to ask, and this is no ordinary grandmother — this is the Queen.”
Buckingham Palace did not comment, but sources said she had been “told, not asked”.
Lilidiana.com was registered on May 31, four days ahead of the birth.
Lilibetdiana.com was purchased on June 4, the day the baby was born and two days before the news was announced.
ROYAL’S ‘TOLD OF TOT’S BIRTH AT THE SAME TIME AS THE PUBLIC’
Sources had previously suggested Palace officials were left out of the loop – and only found out at 5pm along with the rest of the world.
It wasn’t until 6.34pm – over an hour-and-a-half after Meghan and Harry’s announcement – that the Royal Family released a well-wishing statement about the good news.