Dr. Jane Goodall believes her ties to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been overblown by the press. Though the primatologist has had a few high-profile meetings with the couple - and shared an inside perspective on Harry's post-royal lifestyle - she says the trio is not, in fact, "best friends."
Jane Goodall addresses press on Prince Harry friendship
Goodall, 86, spoke to People magazine for its latest issue, where she reflected on her apparently not-so-close relationship with the Sussexes. "There's all this stuff in the press about being best friends, which is absolutely stupid," Goodall told People.
"We're not best friends," she continued. "I've only met them three times. It's so silly." All the same, she still has high praise for the couple, whom she has connected with for good causes and a few social occasions. "Prince Harry is great. Really great. And Meghan too," she added.
Jane Goodall's past with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan
Goodall's apparently overstated relationship with the couple likely goes back to when she spoke out on Prince Harry's transition to life in North America. In April 2020, when the family of three was living on Vancouver Island, Goodall suggested that she'd been keeping in touch with the Duke.
"I don't know how his career is going to map out, but yes, I've been in touch, though I think he's finding life a bit challenging just now," Dr. Goodall told Radio Times. Her quote on his "challenging" transition was widely reported on at the time.
The damed ethologist had also paid the family a visit in Summer 2019 when they were residing at Frogmore Cottage. The stop-in was notable for her introduction to newborn baby Archie, whom she called "very cute."
In 2019, Harry and Jane also connected at the Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting, where the duo performed an "impromptu dance and 'Chimpanzee greeting' which Jane taught the Duke when they first met." This past Thursday was actually the one year anniversary of this July 23, 2019 event.
Prior to the leadership event (and dance), the prince and Goodall had met in December 2018, when they bonded over their shared concern for environmental conservation. The Duchess, meanwhile, previously expressed her appreciation for Goodall, identifying her as her "idol."
Still, despite these memorable intersections, Goodall and the Sussex family's bond is apparently not as close as royal fans and the press alike have grown to imagine.