On a cold winter night, while roasting a chicken inside their cosy cottage, Prince Harry surprised Meghan Markle by getting down on one knee and popping the question. Markle described the experience as “an amazing surprise… so sweet and so natural… very romantic”.
The couple kept their engagement secret for several weeks, choosing to inform those closest to them about the engagement first. When asked what he thought his mother would have thought of their engagement, Harry answered that she would have been “over-the-moon” and “so excited.”
“It is days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news, but with the ring and everything else that’s going on I’m sure she’s jumping up and down somewhere.”
“She’s with us.” Markle assured Harry.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially announced their engagement to the world in November 2017. Up until now, the two have kept their relationship out of the public eye as much as possible.
Ever since Markle and Prince Harry were first seen together, the American actress has undergone major scrutiny by the press – including degrading racial references and false allocations of Markle being involved in porn. However, in their first interview together, the couple have finally spilled the beans on how they met, what their relationship has been like, and how Harry proposed.
How they met…
The couple were first introduced by a mutual friend – whose identity remains unknown – in July 2016. Their mutual friend set the two up on a blind date, which resulted in back-to-back dates for Markle and The Prince in London. Three or four weeks later, The Prince managed to convince the American actress to join him on a camping trip to Botswana. For five days the pair were completely alone under the African stars – which Prince Harry described as “absolutely amazing.”
They had to ‘reverse the whole (dating) process’ by choosing cosy nights at home over fancy dinners and public dates to avoid further public scrutiny of their relationship. Now that news of their engagement is out, the two will start the ‘dating process’ in public.
Dating The Prince….
The reality of dating a prince has proved to be very different from the Disney fantasy of being swept up into a whirlwind romance of glitz and glamour.
“I don’t think I would call it a ‘whirl-wind’ in terms of our relationship”, Markle stated. Being from the United States, Markle did not have the same understanding of The Royal Family as those raised in Commonwealth countries.
“I didn’t know much about him”, she admitted in a recent interview, and went on to add that she only agreed to the date because she had been assured by her friend that Prince Harry was kind.
The Prince, as it turns out, had absolutely no idea who Markle was. He had never watched Suits or heard of the actress before, but describes being “beautifully surprised” when he saw and met her for the first time.
“I was like: Okay, I’m going to have to up my game here!” Harry admitted.
The couple agreed that not knowing much about each other prior to meeting has helped their relationship.
“Everything I know about him I’ve learned through him as opposed to having grown up with different news stories or tabloids” Markle points out. “For both of us, it was just a really authentic and organic way to get to know each other.”
From long country walks and home-made dinners, to private teas with the Royal Family, dating a Prince is not quite what most have expected. Instead of the glitz, glamour and ballgowns, Meghan and The Prince opted for privacy to shield them from public scrutiny.
“We had a good 5/6 months of just privacy, which was amazing.” Markle stated. “We were able to really 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.”
How they made long distance work
“It was just a choice.” The two admitted.
Because of Markle’s packed filming schedule for the popular show, Suits, and The Prince’s Royal commitments and trips to Africa, the couple faced the challenge of long distance right from the very beginning of their relationship.
“Very early on we realized we were going to commit to each other, and we knew we had to invest the time and the energy and whatever it took to make that happen.” Markle told interviewers.
“Just trying to stay as close as possible but, you know, on two different time zones and five hours apart does have its challenges,” The Prince agreed, “but we made it work, and now we’re here.”
The reality of dating a royal
“I didn’t have any idea of what it would be like.” Markle confessed.
“I tried to warn you as much as possible,” The Prince replied, “but I think both of us were totally surprised at the reaction… I think you can have as many conversations as you want and prepare as much as possible, but we were totally unprepared for what happened after that.”
“We were hit so hard at the beginning with so many mis-truths.” Markle stated, alluding to the wave of negative and false press concerning their relationship. “I made the choice not to read anything… instead, we focused all our energy on nurturing our relationship.”
Facing ethnic scrutiny
From the moment Markle and The Prince were first seen together, the press have spun articles with racial overtones regarding Meghan.
“It’s a shame that this is the climate in the world to focus that much on (race)… but at the end of the day I’m just really proud of who I am and where I come from, and 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 of those extra layers away and all of that noise, I think it makes it really easy to just enjoy being together and tune all the rest of that out.”
When The Prince was asked if ‘Meghan’s background’ was something new for the Royal family, he simply answered “I don’t think it’s something new. I think for me it’s an added member of the family. It’s another team player as a part of a bigger team. The four of us; all we want to be able to do is carry out the right engagements, carry out our work, and try encourage others in the younger generations to be able to receive the world in the correct way instead of perhaps having a distorted view. The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned and that everything was just perfect.”
Meeting The Royal Family
“The corgi’s took to her right away.” Prince Harry joked when describing Meghan’s first meeting with his family. Markle went on to describe how the Royal family have treated her like family, and given her support and advice concerning dating a royal and being in the public eye to such a large extent.
The ring has a yellow gold band, and the main diamond was sourced by Prince Harry in Botswana. The two diamonds on either side are from the jewellery collection of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In this way the couple feel that The Prince’s late mother is included in the engagement,
“It’s beautiful,” gushed Markle, “He designed it. It’s incredible!”
“It’s so incredibly special to be able to have this (the ring), and it sort of links where you (Harry) come from, and Botswana – which is important to us. It’s perfect.”
This power couple both have a passion for helping people and creating positive change. Markle has been an advocate for the United Nations since she was 11 years old; her focus being primarily on women’s rights and empowerment of women. While Markle plans to work with organisations closely related to her passions, The Prince will continue his work in Africa, and each will be subject to their own Royal duties.
While they will both have plenty of duties and responsibilities, the couple plan to use their positions of influence for the greater good of mankind.
But most of all, they plan to put their relationship first in all things. They’ve realised that in order for them to be effective in the world, their closest relationship needs to be healthy and protected from the scrutiny of the media. Of course, being such prominent public figures from two contrasting worlds, they don’t expect their future together to be easy.
But, as Prince Harry assures us; “At the end of the day, I choose her and she chooses me.”