Prince Harry in love:

the in­side story of the sexy Amer­i­can ac­tress who stole his heart

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Are wed­ding bells in the air at Kens­ing­ton Palace? It is the ques­tion that many in royal cir­cles are pon­der­ing, as Prince Harry’s ro­mance with US ac­tress Meghan Markle be­comes se­ri­ous. Ac­cord­ing to Harry’s friends, the re­la­tion­ship has stepped up a notch, with Meghan hav­ing ef­fec­tively “moved in” with him af­ter Christ­mas and the pair of them now “in­sep­a­ra­ble”.

While Meghan, who found star­dom in the US tele­vi­sion le­gal drama Suits, lives in Toronto, Canada, where the show is filmed, she has been stay­ing with Prince Harry at Not­ting­ham Cot­tage, his Kens­ing­ton Palace home, for much of the past few months. They have en­joyed din­ner at London’s fashionable Soho House, West End theatre, cosy din­ner par­ties at the Palace and, just af­ter Christ­mas, a ro­man­tic get­away to Nor­way, where Harry whisked Meghan off to a se­cluded log cabin on the edge of the Arc­tic Circle to see the North­ern Lights.

Meghan is said to have met the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge, and those close to Harry say he seems “hap­pier than ever”, with a new con­fi­dence as he goes about his royal and char­i­ta­ble work.

His girl­friend ap­pears to be very much part of that con­tent­ment and although the cou­ple of­fi­cially lives thou­sands of kilo­me­tres apart, they have made every ef­fort to spend as much time to­gether as pos­si­ble.

In early March, Harry and Meghan made their most high-pro­file ap­pear­ance to­gether yet, dur­ing a ro­man­tic get­away to Jamaica, at­tend­ing the wed­ding of one of Harry’s clos­est friends, Tom In­skip, to Lara Hughes-Young. Meghan flew by pri­vate jet from Toronto to Jamaica to join Harry for the three-day cel­e­bra­tions at the exclusive Round Hill Ho­tel in Mon­tego Bay.

The cou­ple stayed in the re­sort’s most lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tion – a six-bed­room villa with a pri­vate pool – and were said to be “in­sep­a­ra­ble” through­out the fes­tiv­i­ties.

One friend of Harry’s said, “This was the first time that she and Harry have so­cialised so openly as a cou­ple and is a sig­nif­i­cant step up in their re­la­tion­ship. Make no mis­take, he is head over heels about her. This one could go all the way.”

Harry and Meghan are thought to have been in­tro­duced in London last June by their mu­tual friend, Markus An­der­son, a con­sul­tant for pri­vate mem­bers’ clubs, the Soho House Group, and the

at­trac­tion was said to have been in­stant. Within weeks, Meghan was seen en­joy­ing the ten­nis in the Royal Box at Wim­ble­don and, last July, sight­see­ing in London, she posted a pic­ture on In­sta­gram of a visit to Buck­ing­ham Palace. An­other post showed a pic­ture of a lolly bear­ing the cap­tion, “Kiss me”, ac­com­pa­nied by the words, “Love-hearts in London”, per­haps hint­ing at her blos­som­ing ro­mance with Harry. He then flew to Los An­ge­les in July to spend time with her be­fore head­ing to Africa for much of the past north­ern sum­mer to work on con­ser­va­tion projects.

At his cousin Ge­orge McCorquo­dale’s wed­ding in South Africa last Au­gust, while his new re­la­tion­ship was still un­der wraps, Harry’s friends teased him for not hav­ing a girl­friend.

His re­sponse hinted at his feel­ings for Meghan even in the early stages of their re­la­tion­ship. “Well, I have got one and I hope some­thing is go­ing to come out of it,” he told them.

Meghan then vis­ited Harry when he re­turned to London in Septem­ber and was re­ported to have spent time with him at Bal­moral, the Queen’s Scot­tish es­tate, for a shoot­ing party for his 32nd birth­day. The Queen was in res­i­dence, host­ing Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May at the time, but it is very un­likely that Meghan would have met Her Majesty or even stayed at the cas­tle on this oc­ca­sion.

More likely is that she would have stayed at Birkhall, the Prince of Wales’ home on Bal­moral es­tate, where Wil­liam and Harry some­times take their friends. The party in­cluded Princess Eu­ge­nie and her boyfriend,

Jack Brooks­bank, with whom Meghan has formed a friend­ship.

Harry has also made sev­eral trips to Toronto, where Meghan lives in The Annex, an exclusive neigh­bour­hood. They have en­joyed cosy nights in with her two res­cue dogs, Bog­art and Guy, but have also hit the city’s so­cial scene.

In Oc­to­ber, they donned cos­tumes and masks for a Hal­loween party at Soho House in Toronto as news of their ro­mance was about to break. And just hours af­ter their re­la­tion­ship be­came world news, Meghan posted a pic­ture of cud­dling ba­nanas on In­sta­gram with the cap­tion, “Sleep tight. xx”.

Who is Meghan?

So who is the woman who ap­pears to have cap­tured Harry’s heart? Born in Los An­ge­les to an AfricanAmer­i­can mother, Do­ria, and a fa­ther of Dutch and Ir­ish de­scent, Thomas, Meghan en­coun­tered show­busi­ness as a child when her fa­ther worked as a Hol­ly­wood light­ing di­rec­tor.

She stud­ied theatre and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at North­west­ern Univer­sity in Illi­nois, be­fore find­ing small parts in US tele­vi­sion se­ries, in­clud­ing Gen­eral Hospi­tal, Knight Rider and CSI:NY. Her big break came in 2011, when she landed the role of sassy paralegal Rachel Zane in Suits.

Meghan is also a busi­ness­woman and en­tre­pre­neur, with her own life­style web­site and blog, The Tig, named af­ter her favourite red wine Tig­nanello, which cov­ers food, fash­ion, travel and beauty. She has de­scribed her­self as a “foodie” and a hope­less ro­man­tic. In one blog, she con­fessed to be­ing “a sucker for Valen­tine’s Day” and gave a hint of what she may ex­pect from Harry in the ro­mance stakes, “Be it break­fast in bed, a sweet love note or a sin­gle flower, it’s re­ally the thought that counts.”

In a mag­a­zine in­ter­view, she also said, “I love how Bri­tish guys dress for the cold. There’s some­thing so ro­man­tic about a man in a scarf and a knit­ted hat.” Harry has taken note, don­ning a woolly hat on their date nights in London.

Meghan has also added the “de­signer” string to her bow. Last Novem­ber, she launched a fash­ion range for Cana­dian depart­ment store Re­it­mans. In an in­ter­view to pro­mote the range, she said, “My cup run­neth over. I’m the luck­i­est girl in the world.” Yet it is her hu­man­i­tar­ian work, a shared pas­sion of Harry’s, which is said to be a key at­trac­tion for the Prince. Meghan is a Global Am­bas­sador for World Vi­sion, a char­ity once sup­ported by Harry’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. In Jan­uary, Meghan trav­elled to In­dia for the char­ity, pro­mot­ing young women’s health and hy­giene. She has also worked for the United Na­tions, sup­port­ing its gen­der equal­ity cam­paign, and de­liv­ered a speech in front of then UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, Ban Ki-moon, in which

she de­clared, “I am proud to be a woman and a fem­i­nist.”

Dis­cussing her hu­man­i­tar­ian work, she has said, “While my life shifts from refugee camps to red car­pets, I choose them both be­cause both these worlds can co-ex­ist. And for me, they must.”

Royal bi­og­ra­pher In­grid Se­ward, ed­i­tor of Majesty mag­a­zine, says, “Meghan’s keen char­ity work will be ap­peal­ing to Harry. He will also be at­tracted to her be­cause she is so dif­fer­ent from girls he has pre­vi­ously dated, plus she is glam­orous and driven.”

It hasn’t been smooth sail­ing, though. Since emerg­ing as Harry’s girl­friend, Meghan has faced some dif­fi­cult head­lines. In Jan­uary, her half­brother, Thomas Markle Jnr, was ar­rested for al­legedly hold­ing a gun to a woman’s head dur­ing a drunken ar­gu­ment, although he has since been cleared. And her half-sis­ter, Sa­man­tha Grant, gave an in­ter­view ac­cus­ing Meghan of be­ing “nar­cis­sis­tic and self­ish”, a “shal­low so­cial climber” and of aban­don­ing her fam­ily, in­clud­ing their bank­rupt fa­ther. “The royal fam­ily would be ap­palled by what she’s done to her own fam­ily,” she said. “The truth would kill her re­la­tion­ship with Prince Harry.”

While Meghan re­mained silent, her half-brother de­fended her, say­ing the royal fam­ily would be lucky to have her, while his for­mer girl­friend,

Eri Specht, added, “She’s very smart, very well ed­u­cated and very poised. If any­one is well suited for a prince, Meghan is.”

She has, how­ever, been mar­ried be­fore. In 2011, Meghan wed her longterm boyfriend, film pro­ducer Trevor En­gel­son, in Jamaica, but they di­vorced two years later.

Di­vorce was his­tor­i­cally a no-go for the royal fam­ily, fa­mously forc­ing King Ed­ward VIII to ab­di­cate in 1936, when Wal­lis Simp­son, an Amer­i­can di­vor­cée, was deemed an un­suit­able bride. And, in the 1950s, Princess Mar­garet also gave up hopes of mar­ry­ing the love of her life, Group Cap­tain Peter Townsend, a di­vorced war hero, be­cause, as she said in a state­ment, a royal must be “mind­ful of the Church’s teach­ing that Chris­tian mar­riage is in­dis­sol­u­ble.”

Yet times have changed and di­vorce is no longer a royal taboo. Af­ter all, the fu­ture King and his con­sort – Charles and Camilla – are both di­vor­cées, as are Princess Anne and Prince An­drew. In­grid Se­ward be­lieves that nei­ther Meghan’s di­vorce, nor her dif­fer­ent back­ground to Harry’s, would stand in the way of a pos­si­ble mar­riage. “If Harry loves some­one, the royal fam­ily would em­brace her, who­ever she is,” she says. “The world has changed so much, I re­ally don’t think it would mat­ter where she was from.”

The pro­tec­tive Prince

Harry has made it clear he is de­ter­mined to pro­tect Meghan from in­tru­sion into her per­sonal life or their re­la­tion­ship. He has spo­ken of the dif­fi­cul­ties of main­tain­ing a pri­vate life and that lack of pri­vacy is said to have played a part in the break­down of his pre­vi­ous se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ships with Cres­sida Bonas and Chelsy Davy.

In a can­did in­ter­view with me last year, Harry spoke of the “mas­sive para­noia” he feels when he meets some­one: “Even if I talk to a girl, that per­son is sud­denly my wife; peo­ple go knock­ing on her door. If, or when, I do find a girl­friend, I will do my ut­most... to en­sure that me and her can get to the point where we’re ac­tu­ally com­fort­able with each other be­fore the mas­sive in­va­sion that is in­evitably go­ing to hap­pen into her pri­vacy.”

While Meghan and the Prince man­aged to keep their ro­mance se­cret for a few months, within days of be­com­ing pub­lic it was re­ported that her friends and fam­ily were be­ing of­fered large sums for interviews and pho­tog­ra­phers had at­tempted to gain en­try to her home.

The media frenzy prompted an un­prece­dented and fiercely pas­sion­ate state­ment from Harry last Novem­ber, plead­ing for the cou­ple to be left alone. It said there had been “a line crossed” with the media’s cov­er­age of Meghan, who had been “sub­ject to a wave of abuse and ha­rass­ment”.>>

If any­one is well suited for a prince, Meghan is.

Harry was fu­ri­ous at what he de­scribed as “the out­right sex­ism and racism” of some re­ports.

“Prince Harry is wor­ried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply dis­ap­pointed that he has not been able to pro­tect her. It is not right that, just a few months into a re­la­tion­ship with him, Ms Markle should be sub­jected to such a storm,” said the state­ment. “This is not a game – it is her life and his.”

Robert Lacey, a revered royal his­to­rian, said that this un­usual state­ment spoke vol­umes about Prince Harry’s state of mind. “He’s step­ping up as her knight in shin­ing ar­mour to de­fend his damsel in dis­tress,” he said. “It’s very gal­lant. It will be re­mem­bered as the day he de­clared his love for her.”

Con­stant scru­tiny

Meghan is due to re­turn to Toronto to film the sev­enth se­ries of Suits. Yet there has been spec­u­la­tion it could be her last and that she may quit the show, move to London and try life as a royal con­sort.

So how would that work? While she is used to be­ing in front of the cam­era and on the red car­pet, the scru­tiny that comes with be­ing a mem­ber of the royal fam­ily is on a dif­fer­ent level. As bi­og­ra­pher In­grid Se­ward says, Meghan would be sac­ri­fic­ing her en­tire way of life. “It is dif­fi­cult for any­one com­ing into the royal fam­ily, es­pe­cially some­one who has had such a free life,” she says. “Be­ing royal is very re­strict­ing.”

If Meghan does be­come the next royal bride, there’s al­most no doubt she would have to give up her act­ing ca­reer and all her other busi­nesses, to em­bark on a life of of­fi­cial royal du­ties and char­ity work.

That could be tough for Meghan, even if the prize is her Prince. As she once said, “I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches – I’ve al­ways wanted to be a woman who works.” And while she might be a Princess, Meghan also re­cently wrote of the need to “fo­cus less on glass slip­pers and more on push­ing through glass ceil­ings”.

If a royal mar­riage is on the cards, chil­dren would likely be, too. At 35, Meghan may wish to start a fam­ily soon, while Harry, 32, has al­ready said he is ready. “I would love to have kids now,” he said in 2015.

Meghan would be the first Amer­i­can to marry a Bri­tish Prince and, while his cousins, Princesses Eu­ge­nie and Beatrice, have both spent time liv­ing in the US, it is highly un­likely that Prince Harry would fol­low suit.

He is a se­nior mem­ber of the royal fam­ily and un­less he re­lin­quished his HRH sta­tus (which is also highly un­likely), his duty will be to carry out of­fi­cial royal du­ties in sup­port of the Queen or the fu­ture monarch, to­gether with his char­i­ta­ble work. Harry knows this is ex­pected of him and any fu­ture wife.

Of course, where the cou­ple might live re­mains pure con­jec­ture at this stage, but the most likely London home, ini­tially, for the Prince and his fu­ture wife would be apart­ments at Kens­ing­ton Palace, St James’s Palace or Clarence House.

To marry, Harry would “of­fi­cially” need the Queen’s con­sent, a pro­to­col dat­ing back to the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which re­quires all de­scen­dants of Ge­orge II to ob­tain the sov­er­eign’s agree­ment be­fore mar­ry­ing.

Yet, in re­al­ity, the Queen would be un­likely to ob­struct her grand­son’s path to hap­pi­ness. And, with Meghan, Harry does in­deed seem to be happy.

This is not a game – it is her life and his.

ABOVE: Prince Harry, at 32, is ready to set­tle down. “I would love to have kids now,” he said in 2015. OP­PO­SITE: Could US ac­tress Meghan Markle be the one who fi­nally cap­tures his heart?

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