Prince Harry is young, handsome, and royal. Meghan Markle is a lovely and outspoken actor best known for her role on the TV show “Suits.” When these two charming individuals fell in love and decided to get married, it was a foregone conclusion that they’d capture the world’s attention and affections, even more so after their monumental royal wedding ceremony in 2018 and birth of their first child, Archie, in 2019.
As the second son of Prince Charles and the late and beloved Princess Diana, Harry and his older brother are no strangers to the public’s watchful gaze. But while Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoy a relatively controversy-free existence of public appearances and glad-handing, Harry and Meghan’s time in the spotlight has been fraught with rumor, scandal, and tragedy. The duo has been extensively criticized by British tabloids, both before and after they stepped back from royal duties in 2020. The result has been a great deal of conjecture and misinformation about Harry, Meghan, their relationship, their child, and how they deal with the greater royal family. Here are all the things out there about Harry and Meghan thought to be common knowledge that are just plain not true.
Meghan and Harry are like Cinderella and Prince Charming
As one of the most popular, familiar, and pervasive stories in the western world, the “Cinderella” story is easily and readily embraced by the masses. When something in real life happens that reflects the events of that classic, Disney-juiced fairy tale, the media and the public completely buy in and overlook the details that conflict with the greater narrative. For example, and on the surface, the love story of Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle is also a Cinderella story. Like some kind of Prince Charming, the dashing and royal Harry chose Meghan to be his bride and one true love, assumingly eschewing a number of women who were of more noble lineage (or at least British).
While it’s true that Meghan is an American and not an aristocrat, she wasn’t exactly doing backbreaking chores day and night for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters waiting for her prince to whisk her away to a life of luxury and love. She was a successful, well-paid and moderately well-known actor starring on the hit USA series “Suits,” following a run as a briefcase-holding model on the popular game show “Deal or No Deal.” As for Prince Harry, he wasn’t exactly the poster boy for royal refinement; he reportedly once stripped naked during a Las Vegas party, got into a fight with a photographer, and wore a Nazi uniform to a party, among other incidents.
Meghan Markle made Kate Middleton cry
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, hereafter known as the Duchess of Sussex, wed in a lavish, well-publicized, storybook ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in May 2018. But that “happily ever after” was soured and called into question in November 2018 when The Sun, among other tabloids, reported that royal sources said that in the run-up in the wedding, Meghan made Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Harry’s brother Prince William, cry. A few weeks before the ceremony, Middleton’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, was in the middle of a dress fitting. Meghan was reportedly so blunt, meaning, and exacting in her requirements and demands that the dress be absolutely perfect and every detail taken care of that she reduced Middleton to tears. To be fair, Middleton was also reportedly a bundle of raw nerves and hormones having just given birth to her third child while Meghan was in the midst of planning a wedding — a daunting task even if it’s not a royal affair.
In her March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan discussed the unfortunate event. “The reverse happened,” she said (via People), meaning that she was the royal lady who cried during a bridesmaid dress fitting and that Middleton was the one whose behavior caused the breakdown. “It was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something,” Meghan explained. “But she owned it, and she apologized and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing.”
Meghan Markle received lessons on how to act like a royal
When Prince Harry asked Meghan Markle to be his wife — and join the British royal family — her life would necessarily and expectedly change. After all, before the relationship, she lived in Los Angeles and starred on the TV show “Suits,” and she’d at the very least have to walk away from the USA series and move to the United Kingdom. As an American commoner who didn’t grow up amid the rules and structures of upper-crust English society, she’d have to be trained in proper princess composure. And according to The Times, Meghan was set to receive a lengthy, rigorous, personalized, and highly specialized education on how to fit in with the royal ilk. “It will be six months of listening,” a source reported. “She is seeking out advice on a range of people. She is going to proceed with humility.”
But according to Meghan, her half a year of “duchess school,” or real-life “My Fair Lady” training didn’t transpire. “There was no guidance,” Meghan said in her March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey (via E! News). “There’s no class on how to speak, cross your legs, how to be royal. That might exist for other members of the family, but that was not something that was offered to me.” Instead, Meghan kind of picked up what she needed to know on her own.
Harry and Meghan were married on May 19, 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love affair for the ages was sealed on a spring Saturday in May 2018. With him in his military dress uniform and her in an elegant white Givenchy gown and in front of about 600 invited celebrities and aristocrats, Harry and Meghan said their vows at St. George’s Chapel in a grand, beautiful, and high-class wedding watched on TV by about 29 million people.
The showy wedding was romantic, sweet, and showy, for sure, but alas, all for show, befitting the ceremonial nature and powers of Harry’s royal family into which Meghan was marrying. That doesn’t mean the couple weren’t truly in love and didn’t want to get hitched. “Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us,” Meghan said in her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey (via Daily Mail). She explained that three days before the big made-for-TV event, she and Harry had already married in an intimate, quiet, ceremony at home. There were zero invited guests, but the ceremony was impressively presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England.
Meghan Markle refused to take photos with newborn baby Archie
As the figurehead family long installed at the top of the United Kingdom’s culture and society, it’s long been considered traditional and correct for royals to pose for photos with their newborn babies outside the hospital shortly after giving birth. It’s a custom in which both Princess Diana and Kate Middleton indulged, according to Reader’s Digest. But Meghan Markle (and Prince Harry) chose to sat out that particular ritual. “Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” the couple said in a statement. “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
Rumors abounded that Meghan didn’t think she’d be comfortable having her photo taken after the overwhelming medical ordeal of delivery. And while that statement makes it sound like Meghan made clear before the birth of Archie that she didn’t want to do a photo, but she only said what she said apparently to save face. “We weren’t asked to take a picture,” Meghan said in her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey (via Marie Claire). “That’s also part of the spin that was really damaging.”
Meghan and Harry declined a royal title for their son
Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son Prince Charles is next in line for the throne, and his eldest son Prince William follows him. After that come William’s three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Following them is Charles’ other son, Prince Harry, and then his first-born, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The toddler’s name reads a lot different than that of his cousins; unlike George and Louis, he’s not a Prince.
In early 2021, shortly after Harry and Meghan Markel announced they were expecting a second child, Daily Mirror royals editor Russell Myers told ITV (via Express) that the new baby would be title-less, just like their older brother. “Harry and Meghan for their firstborn Archie didn’t want him to have a title. He could have been a ‘His Royal Highness’ and the same goes for this baby as well,” Myers said. “But Harry and Meghan are set to shun any sort of title.” Was that because Meghan and Harry are modern royals attempting to be more relatable to the common people? Not at all. They actually wanted Archie to be Prince Archie, but were denied the honor by the royal family. “They didn’t want him to be a prince,” Meghan said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey (via People). “Which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security.”
Queen Elizabeth was 'blindsided' by Harry and Meghan's decision
When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they’d no longer serve as senior members of the royal family, many publications, including The Sun, took the pair to task, accusing them of shocking and surprising Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother and the head of the royal family. The notion persisted that Harry and Meghan had “blindsided” Her Majesty, the poor thing left both sad and angry. “I’ve never blindsided my grandmother, I have too much respect for her,” Harry explained in his 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey (via Reuters).
He also didn’t think that it was the tabloids who floated the idea of a hurt and angry monarch. “I’d hazard a guess that it probably could have come from within the institution,” he said, meaning the royal family itself. That’s because Harry didn’t “blindside” anyone, making sure both his father, Prince Charles, and Queen Elizabeth were well aware of his intentions and motivations. “I had three conversations with my grandmother, and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls,” he revealed.
Harry and Meghan had plenty of income streams when they left England
Members of the United Kingdom’s royal family live a life of taxpayer-funded, jewel-encrusted, palace-bound luxury: According to Celebrity Net Worth, monarch Queen Elizabeth II is worth a whopping $600 million. One might assume that when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step back from royal life in January 2020, they had a solid financial foundation upon which to do so. But those farther down the royal line, like Harry, are mostly dependent on his elders. “My family literally cut me off financially,” Harry told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 (via Newsweek). He at least had a sizable inheritance of about $13 million from his late mother, Princess Diana, according to Page Six, which financed his family’s new life in North America.
The couple has other sources of income. Harry and Meghan signed deals with Netflix and Spotify, but those weren’t in place when they extracted themselves from the royal family, according to Vanity Fair. The most high-profile (and scandalizing) endeavor in which Harry and Meghan have participated after leaving royal life behind was the tell-all interview with Winfrey that aired on CBS in March 2021. According to The New York Times, 17.1 million people tuned in. That’s a huge audience, and selling ads made CBS a lot of money, but the subjects didn’t earn a penny — as Meghan confirmed at the top of the special, she and her husband were not paid for their participation.
Prince Philip's death was linked to the Oprah interview
On April 9, 2021, Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years and thus the longest active royal consort in U.K. history, according to CNN, died at the age of 99. Over the last decade or so of his life, Philip was frequently hospitalized over a number of significant ailments, including a chest infection, back injury, blocked coronary, bladder infection, hip replacement surgery, respiratory infection, and a heart issue. Even so, Philip still managed to stick it out for nearly a century.
As The Cut noted, some members of the media tried to pin his not remotely sudden death on Meghan Markle. The reason: Philip died less than a month after Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell-loaded, royal family-skewering chat with Oprah Winfrey. “There are reports that he was enraged after the interview,” said “Fox and Friends” cohost Brian Klimeade. “Here he is trying to recover and then he gets hit with that.” Of course, it’s highly unlikely that his death was linked to his grandson and granddaughter-in-law talking on TV. The man was of a very advanced age, and had a well-documented history of health problems, which led to his retirement from public life in 2017.
Meghan skipped Prince Philip's funeral over royal drama
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spoke extensively of the rift between themselves and the rest of the royals in their 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, but family is family, and family comes together during a tragedy. When Prince Philip died in April 2021, Prince Harry traveled from the home he shared in California with Meghan back to the United Kingdom, to gather with his relatives and attend the funeral of the man who helped raise him after the death of his mother, according to Town and Country. Not along for the trip: Meghan. According to the Daily Mail, sources claimed Meghan told friends that she didn’t want to go to avoid being the “center of attention” in the wake of the Oprah interview,” but also that she had a deep affection for and “bond” with Prince Philip.
But the real reason that Meghan stayed in the U.S. while Harry went back to the U.K. was medical-related. At the time of the funeral, Meghan was pregnant with her second child. “The Duchess of Sussex has been advised by her physician not to travel,” a source close to the situation told Page Six, explaining that a 12-hour flight could be potentially straining for a pregnant woman.
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