Serena Williams and Meghan Markle are friendship royalty!
The tennis star and the Duchess of Sussex first met at the Super Bowl in 2010; after crossing paths again in 2014, the two hit it off “immediately” and have been close since.
From Markle’s travels to watch the Grand Slam champ’s tennis tournaments and Williams’ attendance at Markle’s royal wedding to Prince Harry, the two always find time to cheer each other on despite their respectively busy schedules.
“We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations – our endless ambition,” Markle previously wrote on her blog The Tig.
In addition to showing up for one another, the two often praise each other publicly and share advice on industry pressures and navigating motherhood.
Here’s a timeline of Williams and Markle’s decade-long friendship.
Feb. 7, 2010: Serena Williams and Meghan Markle meet for the first time
Williams and Markle met for the first time at Super Bowl XLIV when the New Orleans Saints faced off against the Indianapolis Colts in 2010.
Feb. 2, 2014: Serena Williams and Meghan Markle reunite at another Super Bowl
After their first encounter, Meghan and Serena reunited at the 2014 Super Bowl in New York and immediately hit it off. The duchess recalled their interaction during the debut episode of her podcast Archetypes, which featured an interview with Williams.
“I show up and I see you walking toward someone,” Meghan recalled to her friend. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, who is Serena Williams going to talk to?’ I looked behind me and when I turned around, you were there right in front of me… We became such fast friends.”
Feb. 3, 2014: Serena Williams and Meghan Markle compete in the Celebrity Beach Bowl
The day after, the two both took part in DirecTV’s Celebrity Beach Bowl. They played former NFL pros for the prize but had some fun on the sidelines.
“We hit it off immediately,” Meghan wrote on her former lifestyle blog The Tig. “Taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in, and chatting … Not about tennis or acting, but about all the good old fashioned girly stuff.”
Sept. 7, 2014: Meghan Markle celebrates Serena Williams’ third consecutive US Open championship
The 2014 US Open marked the beginning of a years-long trend of Markle cheering the tennis star on at her matches. The win solidified Williams’ third consecutive US Open victory and 18th major title overall.
Jan. 31, 2015: Meghan Markle hugs Serena Williams after Australian Open win
Markle celebrated Williams’ victory at the Australian Open in 2015 with a tweeted sentiment alongside a photo of her and the tennis star embracing after Williams’ win at the 2014 US Open.
“So happy for you @serenawilliams!! I was juuuust hugging you for your win at #usopen. Now @AustralianOpen! #onfire” Markle tweeted, as captured by ESPN.
Sept. 12, 2016: Meghan Markle supports Serena Williams’ clothing line launch at New York Fashion Week
Williams teamed up with HSN to present her eponymous fashion line’s fall Signature Statement Collection at New York Fashion Week in September 2016 and Markle was there to support her. The Duchess snapped a photo with the tennis fashionista at the event and shared it in a now-deleted Instagram post.
“My eyes are closed but my heart is so open! So proud of your new collection @serenawilliams Happy I could be there to support you xx #NYFW,” Markle captioned the pic.
Aug. 15, 2017: Meghan Markle says Serena Williams will be an ‘amazing mom’
While Williams was pregnant with her first child, Markle had nothing but effusive things to say about her friend’s future in motherhood to Vogue: “She will be an amazing mom. The very best, because she is so attuned to balancing strength and sensitivity.”
And, she added, Williams’ fun side would come in handy in the nursery as well: “Given that she is pretty epic at karaoke, I think she’ll put her signature Serena spin on singing lullabies for the baby. I can’t wait for that!”
Sept. 6, 2017: Serena Williams shares advice with Meghan Markle
After Markle and Prince Harry,Duke of Sussex went public with their relationship, she was faced with international scrutiny — something the tennis champ was no stranger to. Williams gave her pal advice.
“I told her, ‘You’ve got to be who you are, Meghan. You can’t hide,'” Williams recalled to Vanity Fair.
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May 19, 2018: Serena Williams attends Meghan Markle’s wedding
Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian attended Markle and Harry’s wedding at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom in May 2018. The tennis icon chronicled her excitement on her Instagram leading up to their nuptials.
“So my friend is getting married today, and I’m up super early,” she wrote on her Story. “I’ve known her for so many years, and I’m so happy for her.”
Williams later reminisced about preparing for the the big day during an interview with Vogue, breaking down her royal look. She revealed she had several stylists braiding her hair and the process took “all night.”
“I was so tired. I was like, ‘I’m going to sleep,’ ” she said. “So I lie down, and then they just kept braiding until the morning, and they finally finished.” She continued, “It was a very long process, but it was so worth it.”
July 14, 2018: Meghan Markle attends Wimbledon to support Serena Williams post wedding
For Williams’ Wimbledon match that year, the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex attended and alongside her new sister-in-law, Kate Middleton in the royal box.
While the tennis star didn’t win, she delivered a moving post-match speech, saying, “I was really happy to get this far. For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today.”
When cameras cut to the royals amid the heartfelt moment, Markle can be seen standing proud in the crowd.
Sept. 17, 2018: Serena Williams supports Meghan Markle’s cookbook, Together
Markle launched a cookbook titled Together in September 2018, marking the Duchess’ first independent project as a royal. Williams turned to Twitter to boost the book.
She wrote: “I used to call you Meghan (and I still do) but dear Duchess of Sussex your first project ‘Together’ a cookbook bringing women of all cultures together. I could not be more excited about it and proud of you. It’s beautiful — diversity, inclusivity, coming together in grief and joy.”
Sept. 17, 2018: Serena Williams talks friendship with Meghan Markle
During a sit-down interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project, Williams reflected on her friendship with Markle and how the two are always there for each other through thick and thin.
“We have known each other for a long time, but we really are relying on each other a lot recently,” the tennis star explained.
Oct. 16, 2018: Meghan Markle wears blazer from Serena Williams’ clothing line
For her first day in Dubbo during a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand, Markle stepped out in a blazer designed by none other than Williams.
Fans loved that she supported a friend in style, and the tennis star reacted on social media.
“The face you make when you and Duchess of Sussex Meghan have matching @serena blazers 😍” Williams captioned her Instagram post.
Dec. 6, 2018: Serena Williams gives pregnancy advice to Meghan Markle
The sports icon told PEOPLE that Meghan hasn’t changed one bit — despite juggling her busy role as a duchess, while being pregnant for the first time with their son Archie Harrison.
“I’m like, ‘How are you?’ and she’s like, ‘No, how are you?’ and I’m like, ‘You’re so sweet, but I’m really asking – how are YOU?'” Williams said. “I’m like, ‘Meghan, stop being so nice… you’re the pregnant one, aren’t you supposed to have hormones, why are you so sweet?’ But that’s always been her.”
July 2, 2019: Serena Williams says she won’t give immediate parenting tips to Meghan Markle
Knowing how tough being a first-time mom can be, Williams refrained from offering parenting advice to Markle following the birth of son Archie until Markle had found her footing as a new mom.
“I never pass on words of wisdom because I feel like everyone, when they have a kid, especially when you just have a baby, it is so difficult to just be,” Williams told BBC Breakfast ahead of Wimbledon. “And it’s just like, get through the first three months, four months, and then we can talk.”
July 11, 2019: Meghan Markle watches Serena Williams at Wimbledon
When Williams was asked about the negative press surrounding Markle following her Wimbledon appearance the week prior, the tennis star had nothing but uplifting things to say about her friend.
“I didn’t know there was negative media out there, any time I see her name attached to anything I don’t read it,” Williams said during a post-match conference following her victory. “She couldn’t be a better friend to me. Low moments, high moments, she’s always there and that’s all I want to be to her.”
July 13, 2019: Serena Williams praises Meghan Markle’s support and friendship after Wimbledon loss
Williams lost in the Wimbledon women’s singles final but Markle was cheering her on in the stands. The athlete was defeated in the ladies’ singles championship 6-2, 6-2, by Romania’s Simona Halep.
However, Williams said that having Meghan’s support and friendship “is great,” telling reporters during her post-match press conference: “She’s such a great friend and a great person as well. And always positive, no matter what.”
The tennis star continued, “It’s so good to have people like that, just to know,” adding that Meghan is “such a fan of the sport.”
“She, too, is happy for Simona,” Williams said of Meghan. “She saw that she played unbelievably, and that’s just the kind of person that she is.”
Sept. 7, 2019: Meghan Markles flies to New York City to support Serena Williams in the US Open
Markle couldn’t contain her excitement during an intense showdown at the US Open Women’s Final in 2019. The Duchess flew all the way to N.Y.C. to support her friend in her match against Bianca Andreescu.
Meghan cheered on Williams from the athlete’s box at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she sat in front of Anna Wintour and behind Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian. The royal mom was spotted reacting to many nail-biting moments throughout the match.
Nov. 7, 2019: Serena Williams talks highly of Meghan Markle
Williams opened up about her relationship with Markle during an interview with Access in November 2019. While the athlete said she doesn’t thing she can “relate on that level” of pressure surrounding the royal, Williams said that “she is one of the strongest people I know.”
She continued to rave about her best friend, noting that she flew to New York to see her play tennis (with her newborn, Archie) and flew all the way back in the same night. “It kind of goes to show you what an amazing person she is,” said Williams. “That’s just one of the many amazing things that she does for me.”
April 20, 2020: Serena Williams jokingly avoids talking about Meghan Markle during a conversation with Naomi Campbell
Williams hilariously dodged a question about her longtime pal Markle’s move to the United States at a time when there was a lot of speculation about the Sussexes’ exist from the U.K.
During a conversation with Naomi Campbell and sister Venus Williams, Serena had no comment on the couple’s move to Los Angeles.
“Are you happy that your girlfriend has moved to America? Meghan Markle,” Campbell asked the tennis champion. “Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, don’t know nothin’ about that,” Serena said with a laugh.
Campbell pressed further, adding, “I mean they’re on the West Coast but … I mean, it’s a big deal!” Serena quipped: “Never seen it, never heard of her, don’t know her.”
March 7, 2021: Serena Williams Defends Meghan Markle Following Oprah interview
Williams showed her support for her close friend after Markle opened up about being “silenced” by the royal family and the “concerns” over her son Archie’s skin color during the Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special.
Following Meghan’s and Prince Harry’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, the tennis star defended Meghan on social media, sharing that she understands the “pain and cruelty” the mother of one has experienced.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life – and leads by example – with empathy and compassion. She teaches me every day what is means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced,” Williams began her post.
March 24, 2021: Serena Williams praises friend Meghan Markle for handling Oprah interview
In the debut episode of Stuart Weitzman’s Shine Series, Williams opened up about why she chose to publicly support the Duchess of Sussex after her bombshell interview with Winfrey.
“Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of just selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything that she’s gone through,” the tennis pro told Stuart Weitzman Chief Marketing Officer Behnaz Ghahramani. “And I know it’s not easy, and you can see from the interview that it wasn’t easy. But she had so much poise and she still had so much class.”
After Meghan and Harry announced a “multi-year partnership” between Spotify and their production company Archewell Audio in 2020, the first full episode of Archetypes, hosted by the Duchess of Sussex, was released on Aug. 23.
Her first guest? Longtime pal Williams, of course! Their conversation centered around ambition, well narrowing in on topics like gender norms, tennis, motherhood and more.