Lizzie Cundy doesn’t recognize the American starlet she once knew.
The British model and TV presenter told Fox News Digital she first met Meghan Markle in 2013 when the future Duchess of Sussex was starring in the legal drama “Suits.” At the time, the Hollywood actress seemed eager to revamp her career across the pond.
Meghan Markle attends the UK Premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at Odeon Leicester Square Nov. 11, 2013, in London. (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
“I met Meghan way before Harry,” said the socialite. “She came to a charity event, and she really didn’t know anyone. … No one knew what [‘Suits’] was really. No one had watched it. The guy that was hosting the event said, ‘Lizzie, can you look after this American actress?
“‘She doesn’t really know anyone, and we need someone to take care of her.’ I was a little bit cheesed off to be honest with you because I wanted to be with my friends [at] the table. And it’s difficult when you don’t know someone. … But we actually got on like a house on fire.”
Lizzie Cundy (left) said she met Meghan Markle (center) in 2013. (Lizzie Cundy)
“She talked all about her career,” Cundy shared. “She wanted a career in England. She loved the British life and would love to have worked here. There was a show here called ‘Made in Chelsea’ that she really wanted to be on. I knew the producers and people, so we were talking [about] that. And she wanted an English boyfriend. So I was going through my phone thinking, ‘Maybe I could help her out with everyone that I know.’ We got on very well, and it was sort of a girly chat, doing selfies and having a few giggles. But she was great fun. She loved the English life.”
Meghan Markle starred as Rachel Zane in “Suits” from 2011 to 2018. (Nigel Parry/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
Cundy claimed that Markle was eager to immerse herself in English society. Being single, she was ready to mingle on the red carpet. When Markle saw Cundy at an event, she excitedly asked her new pal to interview her on camera.
“She was in awe,” Cundy claimed. “I just thought, what a lovely, young, fresh-faced American actress [who] loved London. She loved the whole red carpet scene, loved the glamour and celebrities.”
Meghan Markle attends the London Global Gift Gala at ME Hotel on Nov. 19, 2013, in London. (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
But the blossoming friendship ended quickly, she alleged. Cundy claimed Markle “ghosted” her in 2016 after Markle met Prince Harry that summer.
“I understood it,” Cundy explained. “I was a little sad because I thought we got on very well, and there was no one more happy than me for her to meet Harry. I mean, look, she won the lottery. He was the most popular royal. We all loved Harry, and we were so happy he met the love of his life. Everyone in England embraced them and loved them.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry met in 2016. That’s when Lizzie Cundy claimed the former American actress “ghosted” her. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)
“A Hollywood princess is very different from being a royal princess,” she shared. ‘She couldn’t have the same friends that were hanging around the celebrity circuit doing the red carpet events. It’s a very different life. So, I got it.
“And I soon saw that she [did] this to a lot of people. … [But] I think, looking back, people served a purpose in her life. When you served your purpose, she moved on to the next. I think that’s what she’s like. Meghan gets what Meghan wants. But, look, I just wished her happiness. I was very happy that she met Prince Harry.”
Lizzie Cundy attends the London Global Gift Gala at ME Hotel Nov. 19, 2013, in London. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
The couple said “I do” in 2018, but a happily ever after behind palace doors wasn’t meant to be. In 2018, the couple announced they were stepping back as senior royals. The couple alleged that the Duchess of Sussex, who is biracial, faced racist attitudes from both the palace and the U.K. press. The treatment contributed to their decision to leave the country and move to the U.S.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex married May 19, 2018, in Windsor, England. (Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
“To be honest, I was quite shocked at that,” said Cundy. “It’s a privilege to be in this royal family. She knew what she was getting into before she married Harry. … I’ve got a feeling that it just wasn’t exciting enough. It’s hard work being a royal. … It’s not the Hollywood lifestyle. And I think, for Meghan, it was too much for her. So she wanted out, which I thought was very sad. She could have been the next Princess Diana. … It’s a real shame and a real waste.”
But the couple didn’t merely fly off into the California sunset. Since moving to the wealthy, coastal city of Montecito, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have spoken out about their struggles with royal life. Most notably, in 2021, they gave a televised interview to Oprah Winfrey, which was viewed by nearly 50 million people globally.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior royals in 2018. (Dominic Lipinski /Pool /Getty Images)
They continued to air their grievances in a six-part Netflix docuseries that premiered in December 2022. Then, in January of this year, Harry released a memoir, “Spare,” which included details of private conversations with his father, King Charles, and his brother, Prince William. It continued to fan tensions between the couple and the royal family in the public eye.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex detailed their struggles with royal life in a six-part Netflix docuseries. (Paul Edwards /Pool/Getty Images)
In March, the couple confirmed they were asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, their home in the U.K. The Sun newspaper reported that the king started the eviction process a day after the book was published.
In April, Buckingham Palace announced that Harry, 38, would attend his father’s coronation on May 6 solo. Markle, 41, will stay behind in California with the couple’s two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Harry will attend his father’s coronation solo. (Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Cundy called the decision “a shocking shame.”
“She should be supporting her husband,” said Cundy. “[And] it’s a chance for her children to have time with their grandfather. They’re going to miss out on this huge historic day. It’s living history. Her children are going to have to say to her, ‘Mummy, why weren’t we there?’
“They could have been with their cousins watching the coronation. And, sadly, she’s stopped them from doing that. I think it’s very sad for King Charles. … It was a wonderful time to just make things right again and maybe clear the air. … [And] the children could see their grandfather on his biggest day. … It’s very sad.”
King Charles and Queen Camilla will be crowned May 6 at London’s Westminster Abbey. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Cundy said she’s also disappointed Harry will reportedly make his visit to his home country brief. It is understood that Harry will be heading home swiftly in time for Archie’s birthday, which also falls on the same day as the coronation.
Meghan Markle will stay in California with her son Prince Archie and daughter Princess Lilibet. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)
“He’s got a chance now to make amends with his family,” she said. “This is about his father. This isn’t about Harry, and it’s not about Meghan. … I think it’s very disrespectful, and I think it’s the wrong move. I think it’s a move he’ll look back on and regret.
“It’s hurtful to our king. It’s hurtful to his wife, our queen. I just think it’s disrespectful in every sense of the word. … I think, in a way, King Charles should have been tougher and stronger with them. … But he offered an olive branch for his son.”
Lizzie Cundy said King Charles offered an olive branch to his son Prince Harry. (Alastair Grant/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Cundy is adamant that the biggest mistake the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have committed since making their royal exit is “talking about their family endlessly.”
“We’ve got more books, more interviews coming, I’m sure,” she claimed. “It’s disloyal. It feels to me like they’re trying to bring down the monarchy. And we love our king. We love our royal family here in the U.K.
“It just feels like it could have been so different for them. They’re great at doing charity work … but this is all wrong. [They’re] tarnishing the royal family …. [which] has made everyone turn against them.”
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the Athletics Competition during the Invictus Games April 17, 2022, in The Hague, Netherlands. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)
Cundy said there’s still hope the couple could revamp their image. But the road ahead of them will be “quite difficult.”
Lizzie Cundy said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can expect a difficult road ahead of them. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures UK)
“They’ve got to find their own identity,” she said. “They can’t keep talking about the royal family, trashing the royal family. … They’ve got to find something else to talk about … and do amazing charity work. But, please, leave the royal family alone. We are sick to death of it. I don’t think they could say anymore.
“But then I say that, and there’ll be another book coming out, or another interview. And we’ll have the next chapter be, ‘I was left out of the coronation.’ Or, ‘Why I didn’t go to the coronation.’ And Harry, this is your flesh and blood. … I just think they need to find their own purpose and focus in life and move on.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.