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Despite that Prince Harry is one of the most followed and talked about British Royals, and Meghan Markle was one of the stars of the hit series Suits, they managed to keep an incredibly low-profile in their relationship for quite some time. After making their first public appearance as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games, rumors flew that an engagement was pending and on Monday, November 27th the Royal family released the big news. After being so private for so long, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally started engaging with the public and sat down for their first-ever joint interview where they revealed so much about their relationship that no one ever knew. Hearing the story straight from them melted fans’ hearts, and gave everyone a better understanding of just how well they fit together despite being perhaps the most nontraditional couple the British monarchy has ever seen. Here are 15 things you likely didn’t know about their relationship:
On January 8th, 2020, Meghan and Harry made the shocking decision to step down from their roles as senior members of the royal family. “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the couple shared on Instagram. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”
Five months after celebrating their wedding, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan and Harry were expecting. “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.” Meghan continued to work throughout her pregnancy and it was eventually announced that she had given birth to a son on May 6, 2019. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was baptized wearing the royal christening gown on July 6, 2019, in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle, which is the same location Meghan and Harry married.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed on May 19, 2018, in one of the most anticipated royal weddings in history. For the occasion, Meghan wore a stunning wedding gown designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. Meghan’s gorgeous silk tulle veil featured an intricate floral design of each national flower from all 53 Commonwealth countries. Her bouquet featured forget-me-knots in honor of Princess Diana since this was her favorite flower. Meghan made history by walking down the aisle by herself as a sign of feminism, but allowed Prince Charles to walk her halfway down as well.
Given the secrecy surrounding the first few months of their relationship, it was always a mystery to how Britain’s hottest Bachelor and Prince and the American actress divorcee ended up together in a fairytale romance worthy of the movies. The pair finally revealed that they met like so many other couples — through a friend. The pair were introduced by a mutual friend (who they declined to name) and met once, then had two back-to-back dates in London in the beginning of July 2016, and confirmed the friend was most definitely introducing them in hopes of sparking a romance. The pair’s first meeting was just having a drink, and “very quickly” into the blind date, they already began planning when they could see each other next and knew they wanted to pursue not only more dates but a relationship. Harry also sweetly added that when he first saw her, things changed immediately. “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her, and there she was sitting there and I was like, ‘Okay, well I am really going to have to up my game here. I have to sit down and really make sure I’ve got good chat.'”
Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were together for quite a few months before many realized how serious it had become, one of their main ways to keep it a secret is that they weren’t around London or America. In their interview, the two revealed they took a trip to Botswana, Africa shortly after meeting which is essentially where they discovered they were already in love and ready to move forward with the chaos of the high-profile relationship. “About three to four weeks [after their July dates] I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana, and we camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic. So then, we were really by ourselves which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other,” Prince Harry revealed. “To take that huge leap of only two dates and then going effectively on holiday together in the middle of nowhere, sharing a tent together and all that kind of stuff. It was fantastic, it was absolutely amazing to get to know her as quickly as I did.”
As everyone takes in the news that the once untameable Prince Harry is going to be wed, one thing many can’t get over is how fast it all happened. Since the pair became engaged only 16 months after they first met, their romance has been described as a “whirlwind” but, despite the short period of time, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle don’t feel that way at all. “I don’t think that I would call it a whirlwind in terms of our relationship, obviously there have been layers attached to how public it has become,” Meghan explained. She added that, despite what others may think, they really took the time to get to know each other, it just so happens they knew earlier on they wanted to commit to each other. “We had a good five-six months almost of just privacy […] we were really able to have so much time just to connect, and we never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though we were obviously doing a long-distance relationship, so we made it work.”
One of the most interesting aspects of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship has been all of the stories about how they perceived each other before they met, but as it turns out, despite both being famous in their own way, they didn’t know anything about each other. Meghan revealed that growing up in the States, she obviously knew who Prince Harry was but didn’t have the same “understanding” of the Royal family “so [she] didn’t know much about him.” She then revealed when her friend wanted to set them up, her only concern was if Prince Harry was nice or not. “Because if he wasn’t kind it just didn’t seem like it would make sense,” she said. Similarly, despite numerous outlets stating that Prince Harry had told friends he had a crush on “Rachel Zane from Suits,” he admitted he knew nothing of her or about her. “So no, I had never watched Suits, I had never heard of Meghan before.” The former Suits actress then added, “I think for both of us though it was really refreshing because given that I didn’t know a lot about him, everything I have learned about him, I learned through him. As opposed to having grown up around tabloids, different news stories or whatever else, everything I learned about him and his family was what he would share with me and vice versa. So for both of us it was just a really authentic and organic way to get to know each other.” Harry added that getting to know someone outside of his usual circle and being able to start “afresh” and take things “step-by-step” was hugely “refreshing” for him.
While the big engagement news was revealed to the public on Monday, November 27th, the couple revealed they were actually engaged for a few weeks before the announcement. Like much of the rest of their relationship, Prince Harry kept things sweet, romantic and very private as he revealed he proposed right in their own home which is Nottingham Cottage one night that was like any other. “It was a standard typical night for us,” he said as Meghan added, “Just a cosy night.” “What were we doing? Roasting a chicken…trying to roast a chicken,” she continued. “It was just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic – he got on one knee.” They also revealed that Meghan was so excited she couldn’t let him finish asking. “She didn’t even let me finish, she was like, ‘Can I say yes, can I say yes,’ and then there was hugs and I had the ring in my finger and I was like, ‘Can I give you the ring?’ And she was like, ‘Oh, yes the ring!'” His Royal Highness said. “So yes it was just a really nice moment and I think I was able to catch her by surprise as well.”
Similar to all engagements, a lot of focus has been on the ring which, of course, Harry designed himself. It was made by Cleave and Company who are the court jewelers and medallists for Queen Elizabeth II. The ring is yellow gold “because that is her favorite,” Prince Harry explained. He also revealed the center stone is from Botswana because it holds such a special place in their hearts and is significant to the beginning of their romance. The smaller diamonds on either side of the center stone are from Princess Diana’s own collection which Harry explained was to “make sure she was with us on this crazy journey together.” When asked what it meant to her to be wearing Princess Diana’s stones, Markle said, “I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness and the inclusion of that, and obviously not being able to meet his mom, it is so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us.”
It was impossible to determine who Prince Harry would end up with and it can’t be denied there was a period of time where it didn’t seem like he was ever going to follow the expectations of him, whether he was a Royal or not. Even with his unpredictable and rule-breaking ways, it still could never be predicted that he would end up engaged to not only an American but an actress, but not only an American actress, a divorcee. Prior to her relationship with Prince Harry, Markle was married to Trevor Engelson. The two met in 2004 and were together for 6 years before becoming engaged in 2010. After a wedding in 2011, the long-distance took a toll on their marriage and they split in 2013 citing “irreconcilable differences.” Although marrying an American divorcee would seemingly never be approved by the monarchy, it is clear both Harry and Meghan have learned from their separate yet equally complicated pasts.
After remarkably getting months to themselves, they both knew eventually their relationship would be released to the public, and while they tried to prepare themselves, they could never fully be ready for the scrutiny that came along with the well wishes. “I think you can have as many conversations as you want and try to prepare as much as possible, but we were totally unprepared for what happened after that,” Harry said. Unfortunately, with the scrutiny that was naturally going to come — much of the negativity focused on Markle’s ethnicity as her mother is African American and her father is Caucasian. The media coverage and criticism became so bad that in November 2016, Prince Harry publicly acknowledged their relationship for the first time by releasing an official statement of defense. While Meghan said it was “disheartening” she decided their best plan was to not focus on what was said. “At the end of the day, I’m really proud of who I am and where I come from. We have never put any focus on that. We’ve just focused on who we are as a couple. And so, when you take all those extra layers away and all of that noise, I think it makes it really easy to just enjoy being together and tune all of the rest of that out.”
When Prince Harry and Meghan went public, there were numerous reports that she had already met the Queen, which only fueled engagement rumors, and Harry revealed the meetings went even better than expected. He joked that aside from the Queen’s approval, his fiancee actually got the approval of his grandmother’s corgis, something even he hasn’t done. “The Corgis took to you straight away,” teased Harry. “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing.” Meghan added, “That’s true. Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.” The 36-year-old actress also had an interesting perspective on meeting the Queen, because for her it wasn’t just meeting the monarch, it was meeting her fiance’s grandmother. “It’s incredible, I think, you know, a) to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother. All of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being able to have that time with her. And we’ve had a really – she’s – she’s an incredible woman.”
Aside from getting ready to go public, the majority of the pair’s relationship has been focusing on Harry trying to really prepare his fiancee for the fact that being his wife is, in part, a job. He added that they had many “frank conversations” about what this marriage means outside of their relationship. “It’s a big deal,” and “not easy for anybody,” he said. “I know that she will really be unbelievably good at the job part of it as well is obviously a huge relief to me because she’ll be able to deal with everything else that comes with it. You know, we’re a fantastic team, we know we are and we hope to over time try and have as much impact of the things we care about as much as possible,” he continued.
Most couples begin their relationship with dates and outings before becoming too serious, but with not a whole lot being completely traditional about their relationship, the two revealed much of their “getting to know each other” time was spent in intimate, secluded settings in order to stay out of the public eye. “We kind of had to reverse the whole process. Cozy nights in, in front of the television, cooking dinner and just the two of us staying in together just the two of us in our little cottage rather than going out for dinner and being seen in public. So we have, we’ve reversed the whole process, which has provided different opportunities and has made us a hell of a lot closer in a shorter space of time,” Harry said candidly before offering the viewers some advice with, “So anyone at home listening, maybe slow down the dates and maybe spend more time at home.” He continued, “For us, it was really an opportunity to get to know each other without other people looking and trying to take photos.”
One of the biggest interests for both fans of the Royal family and Meghan Markle herself is how someone gets introduced to the royals as the significant other, and how someone introduces Prince Harry as their significant other. As mentioned, many also suspected the Queen would frown upon the relationship, but the two have had nothing but constant support from their whole families and close friends. Harry revealed he had actually been seeing Meghan for quite some time before he even told anyone, but once he did his brother Prince William couldn’t wait to meet her. The pair then revealed that William’s wife Kate has been crucial in helping Meghan adjust and being a support system for her, having gone through the same process when she married William. “The family together have been absolutely solid support and my grandparents as well have been wonderful as well throughout this whole process, and they have known for quite some time,” Harry explained. Meanwhile, Meghan revealed they have spent a lot of time with her mom, and Harry chimed in “her mom is amazing.” “It’s all been worth every effort,” Meghan happily concluded.