Through thick and thin: Inside Jessica Mulroney and Meghan Markle's friendship over the years, as they prepare to face their toughest chapter yet

The best friends could soon be no more.

By Rebecca Sullivan
Years before she met Prince Harry, Meghan Markle forged a close bond with a woman many describe as unofficial royalty in her native Canada - Jessica Mulroney.
The stylist and brand consultant is the wife of TV presenter Ben Mulroney, a man often dubbed the "Ryan Seacrest of Canada", who also happens to be the son of former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney.
Meghan and Jessica met in Toronto, the city where Meghan was based for several years while filming Suits, and became fast friends after Jess helped the up-and-coming actress develop her signature chic style.
But the pair keep their friendship incredibly private - and Jess refuses to talk about her bestie in interviews.
"Listen, every person has to have a bit of privacy in their life. There are certain things I hold very dear and secret," Jessica told Harper's Bazaar in 2019 when asked about her friendship with the Duchess.
"There are things I'll never talk about for sure. My life is an open book, but there's always a few secret pages in the back that nobody will be able to read."
Meghan Markle, pictured with Jessica Mulroney and her husband Ben Mulroney. Image: Getty
Despite this, the 40-year-old mother-of-three has frequently defended her friend on social media against negative attacks in the press.
"A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink," Jessica posted on Instagram following Meghan's announcement last year that she and Harry would step back as a senior member of the royal family.
And Jessica even babysat Meghan and Harry's young son Archie in Canada over the 2019 Christmas and New Year period, while his parents were in the UK finalising details of their "Megxit" split.
"Archie is being taken care of by Jess, as well as a nanny, but will be back in his parents' arms very shortly," reported Harper's Bazaar US' royal correspondent Omid Scobie at the time.
WATCH BELOW: Jessica Mulroney helps Meghan Markle with her wedding dress. Story continues after video.
Jess also landed several high-profile TV gigs off the back off her global stardom, following her high profile appearance as Meghan's unofficial bridesmaid at the Royal Wedding in 2018.
It's believed the mother-of-three has continued to work closely alongside her best friend as her stylist since she joined the royal family.
But now Meghan and Jessica's friendship is facing its greatest test yet, with Jessica currently embroiled in a racism controversy with Canadian Instagram influencer Sasha Exeter, which could completely derail her relationship with Meghan, a proud biracial woman and active supporter of the racial equality movement currently sweeping the globe.
Jessica even referenced her friendship with Meghan during her apology to Sasha - something many have criticised her for.
"As I told you privately, I have lived a very public and personal experience with my closest friend where race was front and centre. It was deeply educational. I learned a lot from that. I promise to continue to learn and listen on how I can use my privilege to elevate and support black voices," she said.
Meghan is reportedly "mortified" by Jessica's behaviour and is considering her next steps, but is yet to make a public comment.
While we wait for Meghan to respond to the furore, let's take a look back at Jessica and Meghan's friendship over the years.
Keep on scrolling to see their relationship in photos.