Inside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Ups and Downs Amid Challenging Year

From a car chase to being dropped from Spotify, the pair have had their fair share of ups and downs.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had quite the year.

While 2023 saw some epic highs for the pair, coming off the success of their hit Netflix special, Harry & Meghan, along with Harry's best-selling memoir, Spare, there were also some drastic lows.

The couple mutually parted ways with Spotify, ending Meghan's Archetypes podcast and also faced fallout from both the special and Harry's memoir, creating an even bigger divide between the Duke of Sussex and members of the royal family.

That rift would continue into King Charles III's coronation, with the public analyzing Harry's every move as he served a limited role at the event. Meghan famously did not attend as it was their son Archie's fourth birthday that weekend. The couple are also parents to Lilibet, 2.

Meghan and Harry were also involved in a car chase while in New York City for an event. While the harrowing experience was traumatic for the couple, reports from a cab driver involved and critical commentary left some doubting the validity of the incident.

Given the challenging year, it was not a shock to see split rumors begin to swirl from the seemingly loved-up pair -- rumors that were quickly shut down.

While a source now tells US Weekly, "it's been a challenging time" for the pair, last month, ET royal expert Katie Nicholl said that despite the rumors, she sees no evidence of a split.

"There is no evidence. They're presenting a very united front," Nicholl said of the way the pair are sticking together amid the many challenges.

Given all the ups and downs the Meghan and Harry have faced, ET is taking a look inside their challenging year.

Fallout from Spare

Harry spilled his soul in this tell-all memoir in January, dishing on family secrets, a rift between him and his brother, Prince William, and sharing a look at the dark time he faced after the death of his mother, Princess Diana.

While readers gobbled the book up, how the royal family received the memoir was a different story. A source told ET at the time that Harry deeply upset the royal family with the bombshell revelations in the book, so much so that "no one in the family trusts Harry anymore."

A source close to the royal family told ET that Harry's memoir was "deeply upsetting" to both King Charles III and Prince William, with Royal expert Katie Nicholl telling ET that William is "devastated" and "privately seething" at Harry's revelations, which included allegations that William physically assaulted him, leaving him visibly injured on his back after angrily speaking about Meghan in 2019.

A second royal source shared with ET that "no one in the family trusts Harry anymore" and that he knows "these types of personal revelations have crossed a line." 

While there were talks of mending fences and even Harry sharing that he wanted his brother and father back, it's unclear how much they've really repaired their relationship over the last year.

Parting ways with Spotify

The couple stepped away from their Spotify deal in March, ending their Archetypes podcast with the platform after just one season.

"Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together," Spotify and Archewell Audio said in a joint statement to ET, following the news.

A source also told ET, "The team behind Archetypes remain proud of the podcast they created at Spotify. Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform."

After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex backed out of their $20 million deal with the music and podcast streaming service, Bill Simmons, who sold his The Ringer podcast to Spotify in 2020 and is also Head of Podcast Innovation and Monetization at the company, called Harry and Meghan "f**king grifters" on his eponymous podcast.

"The f**king grifters. That’s the podcast we shoulda launched with them," he said. "I gotta 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."

What's more, Meghan was also accused of faking her Spotify interviews, and Meghan was even snubbed by Taylor Swift to appear on her podcast.

Simmons wasn't the only one speaking out against Harry. Kelly Osbourne appeared on the I've Had It podcast, where she brought up the royal during a segment titled "Hit It or Had It."

"I think Harry's a f**king t**t. I do. He's a f**king t**t," she said. "He's a whining, complaining, woe is me, I'm the only one who's ever had mental problems. 'My life was so hard,' everybody's f**king life is hard. You were the prince of a god d**n county who dressed up as a f**king Nazi and now you're trying to come back as the Pope? Suck it."

While they saw success with their Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan, the couple's doc got snubbed by the Emmys, and their other shows for the streamer saw dismal numbers -- Netflix dropped the animated project they were developing called Pearl, about a girl inspired by female leaders, last year.

Car chase craze

In May, a representative for the couple told ET that Meghan, Harry and Doria Ragland, Meghan's mother, had been pursued by "aggressive paparazzi" for more than two hours after leaving the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. The trio had attended the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards earlier that evening, where Meghan was honored by Gloria Steinem with the foundation's Woman of Vision Award.

"Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi," a spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan said in a statement to ET.

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers," the statement continued. "While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved."

Harry's motherPrincess Diana, died after a car crash involving paparazzi in Paris, France, on Aug. 31, 1997. She was 36.

In the wake of what the couple called a "near catastrophic car chase," the New York Police Department issued a statement on its involvement. 

"On [Tuesday] evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex," the statement from Julian Phillips, Deputy Commissioner, Public Information, read. 

"There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," the statement, obtained by ET, continued. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard." 

While they were clearly shaken up by the incident and even tried to get footage from the photographers to prove just how reckless the chase was, even the car chase faced backlash, with some fans and public figures speaking out after members of the paparazzi and a NYC cab driver that had drive the trio earlier in the evening, played down the situation.

TV personality and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel was also one to criticize Harry and Meghan, telling the former royals that they "alienated their fan base" over the myriad of accusations she said they made about the injustices against them -- from both inside and outside the royal family.

Courtroom drama

Harry has also saw a low in the courtroom amid his ongoing lawsuit against a British tabloid. While in the late July ruling, a U.K. judge allowed Harry's suit against News Group Newspapers for several other forms of illegal information-gathering to move forward and go to trial, the judge threw out the Harry's claims that the outlet had hacked his voicemails.

Split rumors

Amid the challenges, rumors of a split between Meghan and Harry began swirling in July, after multiple outlets -- here and across the pond -- reported a rift between the couple and even allegations that Harry rented out a hotel room to get away from the Duchess of Sussex.

Despite the rumors, ET royal expert Katie Nicholl said the pair have been "presenting a very united front," adding that she sees no evidence of a rift between the pair,.

Speaking to ET, the author of The New Royals said it's easy to see why some folks might think something's amiss, but it's her experience that the couple has a genuine and authentic spark.

"My experience with Harry and Meghan -- whenever I've been with them as a couple, who are very, very close -- [have] a sort of spark between them that always struck me as being very authentic. However, there have been rumors circulating in recent months that the fallout from Spare, which is pretty epic for Prince Harry who had Britain really turned against him, his home country; he's really not welcomed here," Nicholl said. "[The book has] left a bad taste in people's mouths. It's further alienated him from his friends and his family and I think, inevitably, that has put a strain on them."

"And I think it was very notable that in the run-up to the launch of his autobiography, he had all the publicity and Meghan was noticeable by her absence," she continued. "And that was really the first time we've seen a divide between them because up until then they've very much been a partnership, and at this crucial moment where Harry's doing the boldest and possibly bravest thing of his life, she's not there for him. And that has continued and led to more rumors of a split, of a split being on the horizon ... and yet, there is no evidence. They're presenting a very united front."