Eagle-eyed Netflix viewers may have spotted a royal friend on their screens on Thursday - yes, that was Meghan Markle's best friend Janina Gavankar in Never Have I Ever which just dropped its fourth and final season. Janina appeared in episode four as Akshara, an admissions representative for lead character Devi Vishwakumar's dream school, Princeton.
But in classic Devi fashion, the first meeting goes terribly when the high school senior tries to bond over them both being Indian, and cuts the line of her fellow students waiting to speak to the rep. Later, Devi fixes her mistakes with Akshara - but the rep already has her eyes on another student for their early admissions program, and it may not be Devi…
Janina has been close friends with Meghan for more than 20 years and has spoken out in her defense in the past. Following the controversial 2021 Oprah interview when Meghan alleged that there were "concerns" raised by other royals about "how dark" their baby's skin might be before son Archie was born, Janina responded to Buckingham Palace's statement, which in part read: "Recollections may vary."
"You know, after reading this short statement that came out from Buckingham Palace today I thought two things," she told Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on British morning show This Morning.
"At one side, I thought, I'm so thankful that they are finally acknowledging the experience, but on the other side, I know that the family and staff were well aware of the extent of it and, though their 'recollections may vary', ours don't because we lived through it with them. And there are many emails and texts to support that."
"Have you spoken to her about coming on this show today?" Philip asked. "Oh yes, absolutely. I talk to them all the time. We watched the special together actually," Janina said.
The pair met in the early 2000s when they were both starting out as actresses, and have remained close; Janina attended the royal wedding in 2018.
Janina also took the picture that featured on Harry and Meghan's 2019 Christmas card, and posted it on Instagram writing: "So proud to have taken the Christmas photo for one of my best friends and her family. Here’s the original that was sent out (cropped to fit IG)."
She also hit back at accusations that the picture had been photoshopped to focus more on Megham, writing: "And to The Mail, I see your campaign against my friend continues. Nice photoshop of my non-photoshopped image. Now may we all get back to the spirit of Christmas and not the spirit of maliciousness.”
It was their first family Christmas photo with baby Archie, taken when he was seven-months-old.
The picture is believed to have been taken in their former home Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, and it shows Archie, now four, taking centre stage as he gazes adorably into the camera on his hands and knees.
Meghan and Harry are in the background, posing in front of a huge Christmas tree, with beaming smiles on their faces. The message on the couple's card read: "Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. From our family to yours."
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