The Royal Family

The tricky relationship between the royal family and their in-laws.


While unfavourable headlines about Meghan seem to be a weekly occurrence, Meghan is hardly the first royal with some unruly relatives.

As soon as an outsider joins the royal household, family relationship issues become visible for the world to see.

Here’s how the Windsors have interacted and handled their relationship with their in-laws over the years.

Prince Philip and the Mountbattens: The Duke of Edinburgh, Philip had a chaotic childhood after his family was deposed by a military revolt. That event resulted in a forever-fractured family unit. And, when Prince Philip eventually married the British royalty, most of his own immediate family members were out of the picture.

Also read: Prince William gives rare insight into idyllic childhood.

The family came apart completely when he was nine years old. His mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to a psychiatric clinic and his father moved to Monte Carlo. When Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, only his mother was invited to the ceremony.

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Princess Diana and the Spencers: Over the past few decades, the relationship between the Windsors and the Spencers have been decidedly mixed. Diana’s family already had strong royal connections before she married Charles. When Diana’s parents married in Westminster Abbey, Queen, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret were all guests.

But despite all the connections, the families’ ties were not based on strong personal relationships. Diana soon discovered that if there was ever a choice to be made, royals would be her priority.

Between family vacations, a diary of official engagements was the first priority. Perhaps the most contentious point between the Windsors and the Spencers came at Diana’s funeral when her brother Charles gave a controversial eulogy.

During the speech, he appeared to criticise the royal family for stripping his sister of her HRH title after her divorce. However, in recent years, the rift between Charles Spencer and the royal family has started to heal.

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Catherine and the Middletons: It has always been clear that Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton are strong figures in the lives of their daughter, her husband and their children. 

Prince William and Kate have made it clear that both sides of the family are equally important to them. While they have spent many of their married Christmases with the royals, the couple has also spent several with Kate’s family.

Meghan and the Markles: The Duchess of Sussex was been warmly embraced by Prince Harry’s family until they decided to quit as active royals. But, it’s clear that her transition from fiancée to royal has not been entirely easy.

Meghan’s mother and father, Doria and Thomas, split when she was very young. And while she maintained a close relationship with both parents, she maintained her distance from her half-sister, Samantha and her half-brother Thomas Jr.  When Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry became public, both of these siblings from her father’s first marriage began to appear in the press.

Also read: Relive Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s highs and lows as the royals.

Neither Samantha nor Thomas Jr. was not invited to the royal wedding. Both have continued to speak publicly to the tabloid press. In contrast, Meghan remains close to her mother, who was with her throughout her wedding day. She has said almost nothing to the press about her daughter and her husband, Prince Harry.

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