Inside Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's honeymoon

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's fairytale romance began when he popped the question in November 2017. The world waited in anticipation for the couple to tie the knot, and the glorious ceremony finally took place at St. George's Chapel on May 19, 2018.

The fascination with the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's life as a married couple will never end. And naturally, following their wedding, we all wanted to know where the madly-in-love couple would honeymoon. Would they jet off to Botswana — the place where their love flourished and the same country where Harry sourced the diamond for Markle's stunning engagement ring? Or would a private island in the middle of nowhere be more their speed?

Either way, it's likely the details of their honeymoon destination will remain under wraps for the foreseeable future, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate about the events surrounding their post-wedding vacation. Here's what we do know about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's honeymoon.

Tight security

We may not know where they went exactly, but we do know that the royals were likely flanked by security. And the added detail was likely due to Prince Harry's four-month stint in Afghanistan with the Army Air Corps in 2012. 

Dubbed "Captain Wales" by his fellow servicemen and women, he manned a $60 million Apache helicopter and admitted to firing upon Taliban extremists. "If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose," he said in an interview. "Take a life to save a life … the squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount."

Deemed a hero for making the ultimate sacrifice to bring about peace, Harry's battlefield admission came back to bite him when it came time to plan his honeymoon, according to Radar Online. To keep him and Markle safe from possible insurgents, the website reported the groom and his new bride would be protected by "elite special ops officers, armed with military-grade weapons" during their trip.

The website also speculated the couple had cozied up in the countryside of England's Cotswold District for the first half of their honeymoon, and residents had noticed a strong police presence in the surrounding area. Their getaway inside of a farmhouse was also reportedly outfitted with motion sensors and surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the royals. You know, just in case.

Duties first, honeymoon second

As the world speculated as to which corner of the world the duo was holed up in, the newly crowned Duke shocked us by posting a very important message on the Kensington Palace social media accounts at the time he was reportedly on his honeymoon.

The statement announced the location of the next Invictus Games — a multi-sport event he created in 2014 for wounded members of the armed services. "I am delighted to announce that The Hague is taking up the challenge of hosting the fifth Invictus Games in 2020. The city will soon become the motivation for hundreds of servicemen and women using the Invictus Games to inspire their recovery from physical and mental injuries," read the statement posted on June 4, 2018.

It's likely Harry crafted the message before he jetted off to his undisclosed honeymoon destination, and it's even more likely that a trusted staff member posted the message on his behalf. But it still doesn't change the fact that his royal duties weren't far from his mind even while he was celebrating one of the happiest moments of his life.  

Did they mini-moon in Ireland?

The Independent suggested that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had planned on going on ultra-trendy "mini-moons," which is described as "shorter post-wedding trips taken closer to home."

The website reported the couple had ironed out plans to spend some time in Ireland, but the real juicy details came courtesy of a Twitter user who confirmed the couple's whereabouts. "The first time I go to ashford castle and we couldn't get into the actually (sic) castle and around it because the ROYALS are within," the tweet read.

Ashford Castle, a Victorian palace that was later converted into a beautiful, five-star hotel, is located near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border in Ireland. According to Express, the accommodations had been renovated and all decked out with a cinema, billiards room, spa, and cigar terrace, which, to us, sounds like the makings of an unforgettable mini-moon the couple would always remember. 

Or maybe they went to Alberta, Canada?

TMZ reported the royal couple had plans to spend time in Alberta, Canada's Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by glorious views of nature and wildlife. The Duke and Duchess were reportedly snagged the lodge's 6,000-square-foot Outlook Cabin — also known as "The Royal Retreat."

The accommodations had been frequented by many members of the Royal Family, including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in June 2005. So it makes sense that the pair would follow in the monarchs' footsteps, right?

Well, on May 29, 2018, a lodge representative denied hosting the royals. "Though Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has a longstanding history of serving as a royal retreat, we can confirm that the couple is not currently booked for a stay," the spokesperson told People magazine.

Hmm… we're not sure if we believe the lodge, though. They could've been trying to throw us off the scent to maintain the duo's privacy. 

Honeymoon switcheroo

Keeping their honeymoon destination low-key was a top priority for the royals, but no matter how hard they tried to keep things a secret, tidbits of information managed to leak to the press.

Travel + Leisure reported in April 2018 that the couple would be making the trek to Namibia for their period of harmony. People magazine confirmed this same itinerary by stating the couple would likely be staying at Namibia's luxury Hoanib Valley Camp.

But before the world could get excited about the honeymoon plans, E! News stated just a few days after the royal wedding that Namibia was not the couple's honeymoon destination, which left us all sorts of confused.

The reason for the conflicting reports was later broken down. "The honeymoon destination has changed a few times since they started planning," Royal expert Omid Scobie told Elle magazine. "If a location leaks prior to travel, it compromises their safety on the trip, and they'll be advised by their protection team to change plans … Harry and Meghan hadn't even booked a destination, so these plans have come together rather quickly!"

No wonder we can't keep up with all the deets!

Beach, please

Royal expert Omid Scobie knew Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's honeymoon destination would never be made public, but he did receive some hints as to what type of getaway the Duchess preferred. "I hear that Meghan has been keen to go on a beach holiday with Harry, so I can definitely see them by the sea," he told Elle. "I don't think they'll be back in Botswana or on safari as they're keen to explore countries on the continent that they haven't seen before."

Scobie went on to say that Harry's brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate Middleton, had such an amazing time on their 2012 honeymoon to North Island in the Seychelles that he wouldn't be surprised if the East African islands made their way onto their honeymoon's itinerary. "The most important thing will be making sure it's somewhere they can feel safe and have privacy," Scobie added.

William and his wife had also attempted to keep their honeymoon locale top secret, but an Australian tabloid blew the lid off of their Seychelles getaway by publishing photos of them frolicking on the beach. So, we wouldn't be surprised if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex scratched this destination off of their list due to privacy concerns.

Keepin' things hot ... and sunny

Three days after their wedding on May 19, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended their first official event as husband and wife at a garden party in honor of Prince Charles' 70th birthday. A few days later, they were reportedly whisked away to their ultra-secretive honeymoon destination.

"Both want to be somewhere hot and sunny for two weeks. They want a good mix of sea and sun," an insider told Us Weekly. Yeah, that really doesn't narrow the location down at all.

What we can confirm is their honeymoon lasted a full two weeks, and, by the time the annual Trooping the Colour event in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's birthday took place on June 9, 2018, the couple had already returned from their vacation, with Markle sporting a beaming smile on her face — a sign of a successful honeymoon in the sun! 

...Then comes baby in the baby carriage?

With the wedding behind them, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry embarked on their royal obligations. "Meghan is keen to start working as soon as they return from honeymoon," a royal insider told Elle magazine. "She has been quietly working on a project that will be announced later this year."

But the project that would trump them all would be their reported desire to expand their family. "Having children is definitely a priority," a source close to Markle told Us Weekly. "She and Harry want to start a family right away — and she'll start trying as soon as she can."

A romantic honeymoon would be the perfect place to put a bun in the oven, no?  Well, not so fast. Another source told the website, "Harry and Meghan won't rush into anything. They have a lot on their plate right now. But they both think that when the moment feels right, that will be the time to go for it. They'll make fantastic parents."

One person who would gladly accept the arrival of baby Sussex nine months after the honeymoon, or fairly soon thereafter, is Markle's mother, Doria Ragland. "Doria is expecting to be a grandmother by this time next year. She's very excited for Meghan to become a mother," the source stated.