Meghan Markle's Friend Janina Gavankar Defends Her Christmas Card Photo; Claims Daily Mail Photoshopped It To Court Controversy

Meghan Markle's friend is coming to her defense.

Who Is Janina Gavankar? New Details On Meghan Markle's Friend Who Took Her Christmas Card Photo; Claims Claims Daily Mail Photoshopped It To Court Controversy Instagram

Somehow, the royal family cannot even get away with releasing a Christmas card without a little controversy.

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared this year’s Christmas card, which featured their son, Archie, front and center, there’s been a bit of an uproar — and the person who took the photo for the card happens to be in the center of it all.

So who is Janina Gavankar, the woman behind the camera — and how has she responded to the Photoshop controversy? Here’s what we know about Markle’s friend, along with the controversial claims made by The Daily Mail.


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1. Who is Janina Gavankar? She's an actor and musician. 

Gavankar has a long history of starring in TV shows and shorts, and it wasn’t all that long ago that she and Markle were working in the same industry. You might recognize her from her roles in The League or Sleepy Hollow, but most recently she starred in Apple TV original series The Morning Show alongside Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. 



A post shared by Janina Gavankar (@janina) on Nov 27, 2019 at 11:36am PST

2. She made headlines for her dress at the royal wedding.

At Markle and Harry’s 2018 wedding, Gavankar stopped the show when she arrived at Windsor Castle, beaming in a vintage orange dress from Western Costume, which she modified with the help of her stylist to meet the dress code for the wedding.

“It’s so funny that a moment where I didn’t care if people noticed me is strangely the moment that people noticed the most in my life,” Gavankar said in an interview. “I certainly didn’t really want that.” 


3. Gavankar revealed that she took Markle and Harry’s Christmas card photo.

Shortly after the palace made Markle and Harry’s Christmas photo public, Gavankar posted it on Twitter herself, sharing that she’d been the one behind the camera.

“So proud to have taken the Christmas photo for one of my best friends and her family,” she wrote in the post she tweeted out on Christmas Eve. “Here’s the original that was sent out.” 

She also went on to attack The Daily Mail, over claims that the photo was Photoshopped, tweeting "...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."


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4. There’s been some debate about whether or not the card has been edited. 

After the photo began circulating, there seemed to be two versions out there — one where Markle was mostly in focus with Harry a bit blurry, and the one that Gavankar posted herself. The Daily Mail accused the Sussexes of Photoshopping it, claiming that Markle had intentionally made herself the focus of the pic. But Gavankar quickly took to Twitter to deny these claims herself.

Her tweet was met with lots of support, with fans tweeting in reply, "Thank you for such a beautiful picture of our favorite RF members. Archie is such a beautiful baby & he has gotten so big. Merry Christmas to you & your family," and "Thank you for being a good friend to the Sussexes. Tell Meghan that she is loved, the Fail wants people to hate her by being malicious, but they make us love her even more. Merry Xmas to you and your family," among many messages of positivity.

5. Gavankar’s friendship with Markle goes back more than a decade.

As Gavankar revealed in this Instagram post from 2016, they’ve been close for at least 13 years at this point. 


“With over a decade of friendship, my State of the Union hang times with @meghanmarkle are so cherished,” she wrote, tagging the Duchess’ now defunct Instagram account.

6. So far, Markle and Harry seem to be ignoring the controversy.

In fact, they’ve mentioned nothing about it on their official social media account, so it seems they’re busy enjoying son Archie’s first holiday season instead. We may never get a clear answer about what their Christmas card was supposed to look like but for now, it seems like Gavankar is willing to do whatever it takes to stand up for her friend. 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.