Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signing

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Meghan
Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signing

As Meghan Markle celebrates her birthday, no doubt she will be treated to a special day.

There will almost certainly be thoughtful gifts from husband Prince Harry with their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, also joining in with the celebration. But it's not all just presents and parties - many take their birthday as an opportunity to reflect on the past year.

And if Meghan chooses to look back on 2023 so far, it's likely she will agree it has been a huge rollercoaster, with happy times including Lilibet's christening and Archie's birthday - as well as tough times such as being mocked on South Park and her Spotify deal being axed. Here, we look at her unpredictable year so far by reflecting on the months leading to her 42nd birthday...

January

The year started with a bang for Harry, who released his controversial memoir, Spare, in early January, where he included claims William physically attacked him, and that King Charles put his own interests above his son's. He also made allegations against his stepmother Queen Camilla and claims she "sacrificed me on her personal PR altar".

Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signing eideziqkeiqhhinvMeghan, who celebrates her 42nd birthday today

He also dished on Meghan's relationship with the Princess of Wales, reigniting headlines about their clash over bridesmaids' dresses and other tense moments between the pair. Harry promoted the book alone, carrying out several high-profile interviews, where he spoke candidly about his experiences. But soon after, a source claimed that Meghan was understood to have been more wary than him when it came to his memoir project.

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They told the Telegraph "media-savvy" Meghan may have voiced gentle concerns about if releasing the memoir was the right move. However, once Harry decided to press ahead with the project, she is said to have offered him her full support.

The source said: "Is this the way she would have approached things? Possibly not. But she will always back him and would never have got involved in promoting such a personal project. "This was about his own life, his journey and his own perspective."

February

However, February didn't see Meghan nor Harry away from the headlines once again after they were mocked on an episode of South Park. The couple were mercilessly roasted in the show, as many celebrities often are, as they were depicted as the "Prince and Princess of Canada" on a "worldwide privacy tour".

This was in reference to repeated claims the Sussexes made about wanting more privacy whilst doing a number of high-profile interviews. In addition, Spare was satirised and dubbed 'Waaagh' and Meghan was described as a "sorority girl, actress, influencer, and victim".

Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingHarry and Meghan depicted on cartoon South Park (Comedy Central)

The cartoon even went as far as depicting a gulf between them and the rest of the royal family and seemingly referenced Harry's frost-bitten penis, which he wrote about in his book. In light of the episode, there were some reports claiming they were considering legal action but a spokesperson later said "this is baseless and boring".

March

Meghan's relations with the royal family came under the microscope again in March when it emerged she and Harry were to be evicted from their UK home, Frogmore Cottage. It was claimed today that King Charles made the decision to remove the Sussexes from the Windsor property as there has been no thaw in their relationship with the Firm.

According to Omid Scobie, one of the authors behind the biography of Harry and Meghan, Finding Freedom, the King's decision came after Harry released his controversial memoir Spare in January. A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement: "We can confirm the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage."

Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingHarry and Meghan with their children Archie and Lilibet (alexilubomirski/Instagram)
Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingLilibet was christened back in March (Misan Harriman/Duke and Duchess of Sussex HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

However, March did provide some light relief for Meghan as daughter Lilibet was christened at the family home. The guest list for the event was kept to a minimum with an insider telling PEOPLE that there were around 20 to 30 people at the intimate gathering. Those present for the ceremony alongside Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet were Meghan's mum Doria and their friend and filmmaker Tyler Perry.

However, it is believed that Harry's father King Charles and older brother Prince William declined an invitation to the event. The christening also proved to be the event that confirmed Harry and Meghan had allowed their children to right to use their royal titles - and are now known as Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

April

As April dawned, there was more family drama for Meghan, as speculation began to swirl over whether she would reunite with the royals for King Charles' Coronation. There were countless reports on whether she would or would not be attending before it was finally confirmed - she would be staying at home in California, while Harry would travel to the UK to be there on his father's big day.

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However, Meghan did have good reason to stay at home - that's because Coronation Day clashed with Archie's fourth birthday so she stayed behind with him and Lilibet. In addition, Harry returned to the United States as soon as the Coronation ceremony was over so he could rejoin his family.

Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingMeghan decided not to attend King Charles and Queen Camilla's Coronation (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

But it wasn't just the royals Meghan would have had on her mind - her own family also got together to give a tell-all interview on Australian TV. Her estranged dad Thomas, half-brother Tom and half-sister Samantha all spoke out in the bombshell interview where they criticised Meghan. However, many viewers claimed they "switched off" the chat saying that digs at Meghan by her family were "unnecessary".

May

The month of May kicked off with the Coronation as well as Archie's birthday - and everything pointed to it being a great month for Meghan. She had just signed a deal with Hollywood talent agency WME, which has represented major stars including Dwayne Johnson, Adele, and tennis player Serena Williams.

A statement said: "We are honored to announce that WME now represents Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex in all areas. The agency will be focusing on building out her business ventures across multiple facets of the agency & its broader ecosystem, including film & television production, brand partnerships & more."

Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingMeghan at the Women of Vision awards (Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)
Meghan's year from hell - eviction, deal axe, split claims and major signingMeghan brought Harry to the ceremony (Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

Meanwhile, it had previously been announced that she had been awarded a Women of Vision award by the Ms. Foundation and would be presented with the honour at a glitzy ceremony in New York. And on the night of the awards, she dazzled in a glittering gold dress and brought Harry as well as her mum Gloria along for the night out.

She was presented with her award by activist pal Gloria Steinem and in her acceptance speech, urged women to "be the visionary of your own life". She said: "You can charter a path in which what you repeat in your daily acts of service, in kindness, in advocacy, in grace and in fairness, that those become the very things that are recognised by the next wave of women, both young and old who will also choose this moment to join the movement, and make our vision for an equitable world, reality."

Just hours after the ceremony, Harry and Meghan released a statement saying they were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" after leaving the event. A spokesperson said the "relentless pursuit" lasted more than two hours by half a dozen vehicles and that it resulted in near collisions with other drivers on the road, pedestrians and police officers.

Later, the New York Police Department said in a statement: "On Tuesday evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard."

June

By the time June arrived, attention turned to what Meghan's next move would be, especially with her Spotify podcast Archetypes. But the news then came that the Sussexes' exclusive $25million deal with the streaming platform had been axed.

When the couple signed the deal, sources said bringing Meghan and Harry on board was “a perfect fit” with the business model to grow Spotify's global audience of 320 million monthly active users. But their prestigious deal came to an early end after one season of Archetypes as well as several one-off specials.

Back in 2020, Spotify announced an estimated £200 million worth of exclusive deals with major names in the entertainment world. But three years later, Spotify appears to have changed tact and is axing expensive celebrity signings that don't bring in listeners after spending more than $ 1 billion on exclusive content. It ended its deal with the Obamas last year and Meghan was the latest casualty.

But the bad news didn't end then - just days after the deal was released a top Spotify executive branded Harry and Meghan "f***ing grifters". Bill Simmons, head of Podcast innovation and monetisation at Spotify, hit out at the pair in an episode of his own podcast.

"The f***ing grifters. That's the podcast we should have launched with them," he said. "I've got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It's one of my best stories." He has previously been critical of the couple and last January, he said it was "embarrassing" to be employed by the same company as Prince Harry.

July

Meanwhile, last month also didn't provide much relief for Meghan as rumours began to swirl about her relationship with Harry. Some had wondered what their next career moves would be - especially since Meghan signed with a major talent Hollywood talent agency and reports they would now focus on separate projects.

But they were hit with nasty rumours about their relationship being on the rocks - which a friend has said are "not true" and "literally made up" as they plot their next moves. In addition, they've then had to face reports they are no longer friends with the likes of David and Victoria Beckham as well as George and Amal Clooney. It came after former footballer David was reportedly left "absolutely bloody furious" after there was suspicion they may have leaked stories about the Sussexes.

Jennifer Newton

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