Did Kate Middleton Meet Princess Diana?

This article contains spoilers for The Crown Season 6, Part 2, which debuted on Netflix on Dec. 14.

In the final episodes of Netflix’s hit royal drama The Crown, viewers are introduced to one of the show’s most highly anticipated characters in Kate Middleton.

Played by actress Meg Bellamy, Kate is introduced as Prince William’s (Ed McVey) love interest, meeting during their days studying together at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland where both were enrolled in an art history course in 2001.

Though the couple’s college romance is their main on-screen storyline, the audience is first introduced to Kate in a flashback scene, where the teenager is shown Christmas shopping with her mother, Carole Middleton (Eve Best), in 1996.

On a London street, Kate and Carole are shown coming face to face with William and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), a year before the princess’ death.

Kate Middleton and Princess Diana
The Princess of Wales (L) photographed in Nottingham, October 11, 2023. And Princess Diana (R) photographed in Argentina, November 24, 1995. Netflix’s royal drama “The Crown” shows the two royals meeting in a flashback scene to 1996.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In the scene, William and Diana are selling copies of the Big Issue—a British magazine that raises money for the homeless—with Kate being encouraged by her mother to buy a copy from the prince.

“That’s very generous, what’s your name?” Diana asks her future daughter-in-law in the show, and after being told encourages her son to: “Say thank you to Kate!”

The scene is a touching piece of foreshadowing as the infatuated Kate comes face to face with her future husband, just months before his life was changed forever following the tragic death of his mother—but is there any truth to it?

Here, Newsweek looks at whether there’s any evidence to suggest Kate Middleton and Princess Diana ever met in real life.

‘I Never Met Her’

According to Kate she never had the opportunity to meet Princess Diana in real life.

By William and Kate’s account, the couple met for the first time in 2001 while studying at university, four years after the 1997 car crash that ended Diana’s life.

In April 2023, 12 years after marrying William, Kate made a rare public comment about Diana, reflecting on the fact that the pair were not able to meet and also that the princess is now the custodian of her late mother-in-law’s famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

The ring had been given to Diana by Prince Charles (now King Charles III) in 1981 and the princess continued to wear it even after her 1996 divorce. The ring was inherited by her sons, Princes William and Harry, and was used by William to propose to Kate during a Kenyan vacation in 2010.

“It’s the same ring [as Diana’s], and it’s exactly the same size as when I tried it on, yeah. So it’s very, very special,” Kate said during a visit to Wales.

“It’s an honor to be able to carry on wearing it.”

When asked about Diana, Kate said: “I never, sadly, got to meet her…I never met her, no, sadly. Obviously now with the children—her grandchildren—her being a grandmother…she’d be brilliant. You know, we miss her every day and that’s what’s important.”

"The Crown" Diana and Kate
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana (L) and Meg Bellamy as Kate Middleton (R) in Netflix’s royal drama, “The Crown,” 2023. The show’s final episodes include a scene where Kate and Diana meet by chance during a Christmas shopping excursion.

‘An Inspirational Woman’

At the time of her engagement to William, Kate was asked by broadcaster Tom Bradby in a joint interview about what it meant to follow in Diana’s footsteps.

“William’s mother was this massive iconic figure. The most famous figure of our age. Is that worrying? Is that intimidating? Do you think about that?” Bradby asked.

“Well, obviously I would have loved to have met her,” Kate replied. “She’s obviously…she’s an inspirational woman to look up to.”

At this, William interjected to divert any overt comparisons between his future wife and his late mother.

“There’s no pressure though,” he said. “There’s no pressure, because like Kate said it is about carving your own future. No one is going to try to fill my mother’s shoes, what she did was fantastic. It’s about making your own future and your own destiny and Kate will do a very good job of that.”

Kate and The Crown

Apart from Kate’s imagined meeting with Princess Diana, The Crown recreates several documented moments lived by the young future royal in the early stages of her relationship with Prince William.

One of these moments is a student fashion show in which Kate took to the catwalk in a daring sheer dress, noted by many as a moment where William began to see his classmate as a possible romantic interest.

Speaking about the challenge of finding an actress to play Kate on-screen, The Crown‘s casting director, Robert Sterne, previously told Newsweek that it was a “big deal” for the production.

“What was important about the portrayal of Kate was, you know, she’s young, she’s just left school,” he said. “She’s dealing with quite a lot of things and a lot of pressure in her life but with an amazing degree of grace and graciousness under pressure and has an incredible presence of mind. You also want to feel that when William meets her, that William has come home in some sense.”

Describing how the show found newcomer Bellamy for the role, Sterne said she “responded to a social media post” after six months of searching.

The Crown Season 6 Part 2 is available to stream now on Netflix.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

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