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Meghan Markle & Harry’s year of turmoil – TV bombshells, lawsuits and ‘bullying’ claims

For the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, 2021 has been a bumpy year.

Harry and Meghan settled into life in the US and welcomed their baby girl, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.cr

They also celebrated their oldest child Archie turning two, but it has not been an easy year and the couple saw their relationship with the Royal Family come under pressure.

Harry and Meghan left the UK last year, stepping back from their roles as senior royals, and throughout the past 12 months have been critical of The Firm in a series of high-profile interviews.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that sent shockwaves through the monarchy, they accused an unnamed member of the family of racism – and made a number of claims about what went on behind the closed doors of the palace.

Headlines have repeatedly hinted towards growing tensions between the family, and especially between Harry and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.

Here’s a look at what went on between the Royals and the Sussexes over 2021…







The pair have had a repeatedly strained relationship with the rest of the royal family
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February

Throughout the year Megan has been locked in a legal battle with Associated Newspapers, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to her dad Thomas Markle, 77, in August 2018.

In February, the Duchess of Sussex won the first round of legal battles against Associated Newspapers and thanked Harry for his support.

On Valentine’s Day, the couple announced Meghan was pregnant, having suffered a devastating miscarriage the previous year,

The couple shared a black and white picture of themselves, sat under a tree, with Harry resting his hand on Meghan’s head as she lay in his lap cradling her bump.







Harry and Meghan chose to sit down with US TV chat show host Oprah
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March

In what was probably the most high-profile moment of the year in both their public and private lives, Harry and Meghan sat down with TV chat show legend Oprah.

In it, they revealed Meghan was expecting a baby girl in the summer, and gave the world a glimpse of their multi-million pound LA mansion.

The couple also made a number of claims, saying Meghan was suicidal during her time in the Royal Family, accusing her in-laws of being concerned about how dark Archie’s skin would be and claiming the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry.

The Duke of Sussex also said that he felt “let down” by his father the Prince of Wales and a “lot of a hurt” has happened.

Prince Harry claimed that as Charles has “been through something similar” he knows what the pain is like.

He added Charles has stopped taking his phone calls after he and Meghan moved away.

Speaking about his father and brother, Harry added that he probably wouldn’t have quit the Firm if it hadn’t been for Meghan, saying he was “trapped” in the system.

He said his dad and brother “are trapped” and “don’t get to leave”.

Shortly before the interview aired, the Duchess was accused of “emotional cruelty” as it was claimed she faced a bullying complaint from one of her closest advisers at Kensington Palace.

The complaint reportedly claimed Meghan “drove two personal assistants out of the household and was ­undermining the confidence of a third staff member”, The Times reported.

A spokesman for the Sussexes said they were the victims of a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.







Harry said his brother and father are “trapped in the family”
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Harry follows his older brother into Prince Philip’s funeral
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April

Prince Philip’s death rocked the royal world when he passed away at the age of 99 on April 9.

As the country was under stringent lockdown rules at the time of the funeral, only 30 people were permitted to attend, with the family having to social distance.

The Queen struck a lonely figure as she sat by herself due to social distancing rules.

Harry made the trip over from California for the funeral, while Meghan was told not to travel as she was heavily pregnant .

During the funeral procession Harry and William did not walk together, and their cousin Peter Philips was instead between them.







Harry appeared on Dax Shephard’s podcast The Armchair Expert, to promote his Apple TV+ series with Oprah Winfrey
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May

Harry appeared on Dax Shephard’s podcast The Armchair Expert, to promote his Apple TV+ series with Oprah Winfrey.

He opened up about his childhood, claiming Prince Charles “suffered” during his upbringing, and then “treated me the way he was treated”.

Harry said that he moved to the US with wife Meghan was to “break the cycle”.

At one point Harry also compared his previous life to The Truman Show, a psychological comedy-drama in which Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank discovers his life is a reality show.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as the couple celebrated their son Archie’s second birthday, releasing a new picture to mark the occasion.

June

On June 4 Harry and Meghan welcomed their second child, a girl they called Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor in honour of the Queen and Harry’s late mother.

But a row erupted between the Sussexes and Buckingham Palace over whether the couple spoke to the Queen in advance about the use of the name Lilibet – which was the Queen’s nickname when she was younger.

A Palace source claimed the Sussexes “never asked” the Queen for permission to use her childhood nickname, but a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan has insisted the duke did tell his grandmother of his desire to name his daughter after her.

The Sussexes wouldn’t have used the name “had she not been supportive”, the spokesperson added.

At the time, the Mirror exclusively reported how Harry had told the monarch of his wish to name a daughter after her years before he met wife Meghan.






Harry one again made a solo trip across the pond to attend a statue unveiling to commemorate what would have been his mother Diana’a 60th birthday

July

Harry once again made a solo trip across the pond to attend a statue unveiling to commemorate what would have been his mother Diana’a 60th birthday.

The brothers united, and seemed to put on a show of reunion, and were seen laughing and joking together at Kensington Palace.

They reportedly had one polite drink to toast their mother’s memory before Harry made an exit.

Before the ceremony, much attention had been focused on the two princes given their ongoing rift.

Prince Harry “poignantly” said to his brother William “we’ll be okay” before the unveiling of a statue to Diana, lip reading and body language experts claimed.

But thoughts that month later returned to the rift, as Harry announced he would be writing a memoir about his time in the Royal family.

The book is due to come out at the end of 2022, with the proceeds going to charity.







Omid Scobie, co-author of unauthorised biography Finding Freedom, also claims the couple’s decision to name their daughter Lilibet a sign of how close they are to the monarch
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August

Despite a rocky year, in August it was claimed the couple’s relationship with the Queen was “stronger that ever”.

Omid Scobie, co-author of unauthorised biography Finding Freedom, also claims the couple’s decision to name their daughter Lilibet a sign of how close they are to the monarch.

Critics felt it was wrong to use a nickname for the Queen that had only been used in close royal circles and the question of when the Queen was informed was hotly disputed.

But royal author Scobie said that the use of the name Lilibet shows how tight the relationship was between the Queen and the Sussexes.

Scobie told Good Morning America: “When it comes to that relationship with the Queen, it is as strong as ever.

“They have nothing but love for her. Of course, we saw them name their daughter after the Queen’s very nickname. So that really gives us an insight into that close relationship.”







It was revealed that Meghan had allowed her former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, to co-operate with the authors of Finding Freedom,
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September

September saw the couple head out on a whirlwind tour of New York City, which was a “huge two fingers up” to the Royal Family, an expert claimed.

The couple made a series of appearances around the Big Apple and met with political figures, including the New York mayor Bill de Blasio and the US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Royal expert and author Duncan Larcombe said: “They essentially did a royal visit, like they used to in the UK – just on their own terms and in their own way. So it seems they have quit life in the UK to do exactly what they did here over in the States.”

He continued: “There will no doubt be a lot of meetings at the Palace and talks over how they are going to approach Harry and Meghan’s plans. This visit was a huge two fingers up to the royal family and shows the royal feud is far from over.”







The couple has signed several big money deals since moving to California
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October

In October, a royal expert warned the couple have built an “isolated world” for themselves and are “desperate to control the narrative”.

Biographer Tom Bower, who is currently researching and writing a book about Meghan claims they are “alienating their families”.

He told Closer magazine : “Harry and Meghan have totally isolated themselves. They seem to think they will be stronger by cutting people out, but they’re really just alienating their families. I think it’s very sad for them both and their children.”

November

In the latest legal round in Meghan’s battle against Associated Newspapers, it was revealed that she had allowed her former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, to co-operate with the authors of Finding Freedom, something she had previously denied.

Prince William was then accused of briefing the media against Harry in a bombshell BBC documentary, something which was denied by the palace.

In the wake of the documentary, it was announced a carol service hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge will be screened on ITV.

Meghan’s lawyer also hit back at bullying claims made against Meghan in the BBC documentary.

Jenny Afia told the programme there were “massive inaccuracies” in the story that Meghan had “bullied” some of her staff.

The allegations surfaced publicly in March this year and were branded a “calculated smear campaign” by the Sussexes, who fiercely deny any wrongdoing.







Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an appearance in New York City in November
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AFP via Getty Images)


December

Meghan won her legal battle against Associated Newspapers, over the letter to her estranged father.

Associated Newspapers brought an appeal and, at a three-day hearing in November, argued the case should go to a trial on Meghan’s claims against the publisher – including breach of privacy and copyright.

Three senior judges handed their decision on the 2 December, saying the Duchess had a “reasonable expectation of privacy”.

The relationship between Charles and Harry is said to be more fraught than ever, and it was revealed earlier this month that they have barely spoken in eight months.

Their bond is said to be at an “all time low”, and it is claimed Harry’s recent comments have left Charles “deeply shocked and hurt”, and the Prince of Wales is “keeping a dignified silence” amid fears a public spat could damage his reign.

It is alleged the father and son have had only a few “fraught” conversations on the phone since Harry and Meghan quit their roles as senior royals and moved last year.

There has been speculation that the Sussexes could make a return to the UK to visit at Christmas or possibly to have Lilibet christened, but so far any familial reunion has not been confirmed.

The couple shared the first picture of Lilibet on their annual Christmas card, released the day before Christmas Eve.

In the card, the couple write: “This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world,. Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa’, and Lili made us a family.”

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