The Truth About Harry And Meghan's Marriage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made history when they tied the knot in May 2018. The couple moved very quickly, announcing their engagement after only dating for about a year and a half, and she made some major life changes to accommodate and acclimate to the royal family. About a year after getting hitched, they welcomed son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Since then, the couple have been major paparazzi magnets and covered incessantly in the press for various reasons and non-reasons: Meghan remains estranged from her father's side of her family and may have crossed some of the Windsors with her alleged lack of respect for some royal protocols. In addition to ongoing rumors of familial in-fighting sparked by Meghan's role in the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex famously stepped back as senior royals in January 2020.

That said, it seems like Harry and Meghan's marriage is a happy one among themselves ... but not necessarily a conventional royal union by any means. The duo even revealed to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that they'd gotten hitched in secret three days before their royal wedding was watched by millions. "We just said, 'Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,'" Meghan explained (via The Washington Post). "So the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the archbishop of Canterbury." Here's what else we know about the private life of two of the world's most public figures.

A friend played matchmaker for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle was set up with Prince Harry through a mutual pal. The Daily Mail reported that the duchess' close friend, Soho House higher-up Markus Anderson, introduced the couple. Anderson reportedly ran in the same Toronto circles as Meghan — who filmed Suits in Canada — for years. She and Anderson traveled together frequently, which they documented on social media (before she had to close her accounts before the wedding), and he was even called an "uncle" to her beloved rescue dogs. 

It's unclear how Anderson first met Prince Harry, but the prince reportedly was a member of the exclusive Soho House club where Anderson works and curates party guest lists. In fact, Anderson and the Sussexes are all so close that Anderson sat with Meghan at Prince Harry's Invictus Games in Toronto in fall 2017 — and it's reported that Anderson may have introduced Harry to Markle at the games a year prior. 

However, it seems the two may have been set up by a different, unnamed mutual pal. During the couple's engagement interview with BBC News in November 2017, Meghan revealed, "Because I'm from the states, you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family. I didn't know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, 'Well, is he nice?' Cause if he wasn't kind, it just didn't seem like it would make sense."

Harry was allegedly hooking up with a model while wooing Meghan

Though Prince Harry seemed to fall for Meghan Markle quickly, that doesn't mean he was immediately ready to settle down and ditch his playboy reputation for her. The Daily Mail reported that the prince allegedly dated a British model while he was wooing Markle in the early days of their courtship. Friends of model Sarah Ann Macklin claimed that the Duke of Sussex bombarded her with texts after meeting her at a party, and he allegedly continued to contact her for months when Markle wasn't visiting London.

"Their fling is an open secret among her friends," a pal of Macklin claimed. "It eventually fizzled out but they are on friendly terms." Another insider dished, "Everything was kept very below the radar ... Harry also seemed a bit non-committal and it never really got off the ground. Things fizzled out before he went to Africa for a month in August."

For her part, Harry's dating past was of no concern to Meghan, who revealed to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (via Yahoo! News), "I never looked up my husband online." She added, "I just didn't feel the need to because everything that I needed to know, he was sharing with me — or everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me."

The former actor is much different from other women Harry's dated

Before meeting Meghan Markle, Prince Harry had a type: The Sun reports that most of Harry's exes came from aristocratic families, like Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas. He hadn't shied away from dating entertainers, however, and was rumored to be linked to British pop singers Ellie Goulding and Mollie King (of The Saturdays), as well as TV presenter Caroline Flack.

By contrast, Meghan was a little-known biracial, brunette American actor who, outside of the Suits franchise, seemed more focused on humanitarian work and her lifestyle blog, The Tig, than on partying or high society. She came from humble beginnings and was vocal about her political beliefs before linking up with the ginger prince, even reportedly posting anti-Brexit messages on social media. At three years Harry's senior, Meghan was already established as a personality and in her career — though, in fairness to the prince, he is the reason she quickly became a household name.

The Duchess of Sussex gave up a lot for her prince

Meghan Markle left her role on Suits and was forced to shutter her social media accounts and lifestyle blog, The Tig, as she and Prince Harry's relationship grew serious. But giving up her career was on the tip of the iceberg in terms of what normal luxuries Meghan would have to sacrifice for her marriage to the royal.

The Sun reported that she was also prohibited from ever taking selfies (Queen Elizabeth reportedly finds them "disconcerting" and "strange"), signing autographs, and voting, despite previously expressing her political beliefs (including her opposition to Brexit) on her now-defunct social media accounts. Meghan was also supposedly banned from wearing dark nail polish (which the royals deem "vulgar") and wearing skirts above the knee, though she's broken the latter rule at least once since becoming a royal, rocking a short tuxedo dress at a performance of Hamilton in London in August 2018.

When Harry and Meghan spoke with Oprah Winfrey about feeling "trapped" in the royal life in March 2021, the duchess revealed other facets of freedom she'd been forced to give up upon marrying the prince (via The Washington Post). "You have to understand, as well, when I joined that family, that was the last time ... that I saw my passport, my driver's license, my keys," she said. "All that gets turned over."

Meghan Markle's allegedly 'airbrushing' Prince Harry's reputation

Lady Colin Campbell, a friend of Prince Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, told the Daily Beast that Meghan Markle "is ultra-liberal and that trendy-lefty stuff does not go down well with some of Harry's friends. He has introduced her to them all at parties and weddings and private dinners, but she is very anti- a lot of the things that their world functions upon, such as shooting." It's alleged that Meghan's animal rights beliefs and anti-gun stances are part of the reason why Harry began skipping hunting trips with his family and friends once he coupled up with the former actor.

A royal insider told the Daily Express that Harry began to shun his former pals because his wife believed they may have been bad influences on the ginger prince, alleging, "It's all part of Meghan's quiet airbrushing out of Harry's old posse. She doesn't want temptation of any sort being put in his way while they concentrate on starting a family."

Why this royal married pair doesn't have a prenup

Shortly after their royal wedding, The Sun reported that Prince Harry was worth a cool $38 million and that the royal family as a whole was worth roughly $89 billion. The outlet also noted that the ginger prince didn't get a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot with Meghan Markle (who, Money reported, had an estimated $5 million net worth at the time). There's a reason for that: He didn't really need one.

"I don't think members of the royal family sign prenuptial agreements," royal expert and author Katie Nicholl told Town & Country. "It's commonplace with celebrity marriage, but this is not a celebrity marriage, it's a royal marriage." Most of the Windsor estate and riches actually belong to Queen Elizabeth, not Prince Harry. Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, explained, "You wouldn't need a prenuptial agreement to stop Windsor Castle from being cut in half in the event they divorce, because it's not Harry's."

Meanwhile, a friend of the prince told the Daily Mail, "There was never any question in Harry's mind that he would sign a prenup. He's determined that his marriage will be a lasting one, so there's no need for him to sign anything."

Harry and Meghan are increasingly private

Sources told Vanity Fair in August 2018 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were shying away from the limelight and spending a lot more time in rural areas of England. "They are in the country way more than they are in London and they are enjoying a low-key and very domesticated start to married life," a friend of the couple said. "...Meghan likes him to keep his diary clear at the weekends so they can be together in the countryside." Locals revealed that Harry and Meghan's Cotswolds property was very secluded and "like a fortress" to keep strangers out.

Even royal press members noticed a marked difference in their public presence at events, with one writer griping in the Daily Express (via Closer Weekly), "Royal rota journalists are being kept further away from [Meghan] than we were before the wedding. That means we can't hear what she is saying. If you can't get direct quotes from members of the royal family that often makes for dull stories. You go up afterwards and ask what she said."

Of course, that may have been, at least in part, because it was in the early stages of her pregnancy with son Archie, so it's understandable why they may have wanted time and space away from prying eyes. The Sussexes' penchant for keeping a more private life only increased after stepping back as senior royals, with Meghan telling Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, "I think everyone has a basic right to privacy. Basic. We're not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn't expect."

The Sussexes want to raise Archie out of the spotlight

After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed son Archie in May 2019, sources claimed the couple wanted shrink away from the public eye for the sake of their son. An insider told People that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "knew they were going to hit the nuclear button" almost as soon as Archie was born. 

With Archie being kept largely out of the public eye, save for special occasions (including his world debut and a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu), an insider told People that the Sussexes were intent on "doing what's right for their family." Even the identities of Archie's godparents were kept under wraps until January 2020, when The Times identified Harry's childhood nanny, Tiggy Pettifer, and Mark Dyer, a close friend of Prince Charles and mentor to Harry, as two of the lucky honorees.

Harper's Bazaar reported around this time that Meghan and Harry intended on suing over paparazzi photos taken of the Duchess of Sussex hiking in Canada with Archie and their two dogs. In legal documents obtained by the outlet, the couple asserted that the photographs were an invasion of their privacy. By December 2020, the Sussexes had settled the lawsuit, per The Guardian, with Splash News and Picture Agency agreeing not to photograph this royal family in the future. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behaviour will not be tolerated," the couple's spokesperson stated. "And that the couple takes these matters seriously — just as any family would."

Meghan was accused of sparking a royal rift between Princes William and Harry

Meghan Markle has been scapegoated as the reason for a supposed brotherly beef between Prince William and Prince Harry for years. Royal expert Katie Nicholl speculated in the TLC documentary, Kate V. Meghan: Princesses at War (via Fox News), that William advised Harry that he and Meghan may have moved too quickly in their relationship, and Harry didn't take it well.

"William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly," Nicholl claimed. "And being close to Harry, you know, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, 'This seems to be moving quickly. Are you sure?' And I think what was meant as well-intended brotherly advice just riled Harry." Nicholl added that Harry remained "hugely protective" of Meghan and took William's warning personally, noting, "I don't think things have ever been quite right since." 

Though none of the royals have confirmed or denied the alleged rift or the cause, in 2019, Prince Harry did confess that he and Prince William had grown apart. In March 2021, he told Oprah Winfrey (via People), "I love William to bits. He's my brother. We've been through hell together. But we are on different paths." Revealing that "the relationship is space" at that point, Harry added, "Time heals all things, hopefully." Days later, an insider cited by Page Six claimed that the royal brothers had "opened communication channels" once again.

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle definitely aren't BFFs

Sources told the Daily Mail in November 2018 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to move away from the confines of the royal estate at Kensington Palace, and it may be because of some beef between the royal brides. "Harry and Meghan want to move, and need more space, but they don't want to live next door to William and Catherine," a royal insider revealed. "They will soon have separate offices and separate lives, so it would make sense for them to live further afield. There is no reason why their London home has to be at Kensington Palace. There are plenty of other options, including using their own money to buy their own place." The source added of Meghan and Kate Middleton, "Catherine and Meghan live very different lives and that is likely to become more marked over time."

Indeed, during their explosive sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan indicated (via Yahoo! Entertainment) that her chumminess with Kate may be feigned. Insisting the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry at a flower girl dress fitting before her wedding (but emphasizing that Kate later apologized), Meghan noted of their Wimbledon outing together, "It's nothing like what it looks like."

The Sussexes moved to the newly renovated Frogmore Cottage in Windsor in April 2019, about a month before son Archie's birth, and the Daily Mail reported the couple even ditched their Cotswolds country home before relocating. They later famously moved to Canada, then to Montecito, Calif.

Meghan Markle reportedly stole Princess Eugenie's thunder at her wedding

Despite ongoing rumors of Queen Elizabeth side-eyeing Meghan Markle's alleged diva behavior, the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that the British monarch has always been "wonderful" and kind toward her (via People), saying that their interactions "made [her] think of [her] grandmother, where she's always been warm and inviting and really welcoming." But Kate Middleton may not be the only royal who didn't seem particularly a fan of the former Suits actor.

Princess Eugenie was reportedly not thrilled with Prince Harry and Meghan for stealing the spotlight at her wedding with their pregnancy news in late 2018. "Eugenie disappeared for a while after Harry and Meghan told the royal family the news. She felt furious at having been upstaged again by Harry and Meghan," a source told Radar. "Any bride would have had their nose put out of joint by something like that." However, some insiders defended Meghan to People, sniffing, "It was a happy family event, and that's where happy news gets shared."

Thankfully, Eugenie and the Sussexes seem to get along fine now, and Meghan revealed in her sit down with Oprah that she actually was friendly with Eugenie even before meeting the ginger prince, per People.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke away from the royal family

In January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they were stepping down as "senior royals," sending Buckingham Palace into a frenzy. Later, Queen Elizabeth II revealed the details of the Sussexes' exit, oft-called "Megxit": Neither would be referred to as "His/Her Royal Highness," and they would divide their time between Canada and the U.K. Prince Harry would no longer receive public funding and would reimburse taxpayers for the renovations on Frogmore Cottage. The couple's royal duties would also be greatly diminish.

Prince Harry spoke out about relinquishing his royal titles, telling a crowd at an event just after the Queen's announcement (via People), "It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges." He added that "there really was no other option."

In early 2021, Buckingham Palace announced that the Sussexes had stepped down permanently, though Prince Harry and Markle insisted they planned on "stepping back," not stepping down. "Our plan was to do this forever," Markle told Oprah Winfrey that March of being working royals (via People). She added, "We never left the family and we only wanted to have the same type of role that exists ... there are senior members of the family [with those roles]. We said specifically we're stepping back from senior roles."

Racism may be at the root of the feud between the Sussexes, the Institution, and the media

In their sit down with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed that members of the royal family and "The Institution" had conversations with Harry about son Archie's skin tone. Meghan alleged (via CBS News) that there were "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born." However, the couple declined to name names, citing it would be "very damaging" to the alleged guilty party. For those wondering, Oprah later clarified to CBS This Morning on behalf of Meghan and Harry that neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Philip made the comments.

That said, the Sussexes said that racism, both from the Institution and from the British tabloid media, was a large factor in their exit from The Firm. Harry added that the family didn't speak out in support of his wife, lamenting, "One of the most telling parts and the saddest parts, I guess, was over 70 female members of Parliament, both Conservative and Labour, came out and called out the colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan. Yet no one from my family ever said anything. That hurts."

In a statement after the interview aired, Buckingham Palace said in part (via People), "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately."

Prince Charles cut Harry and Meghan off financially

While speaking with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Prince Harry claimed that Prince Charles not only stopped taking his calls when he and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals in January 2020 (via E!), but that he also "literally cut [them] off financially" and stopped paying for their security shortly after, per People. What's more, the Sussexes alleged that they were told Archie would never be a prince — so he also would never get security, despite the racially charged threats the family often faced — which was a break from royal "protocol."

It was thanks to Harry's inheritance from his late mother, Princess Diana, that the family was able to move to Montecito, Calif., and keep themselves safe from threats (including, TMZ reported, a home intruder who tried to enter their property during the Christmas holidays in 2020). "Without that, we wouldn't have been able to do this," Harry told Oprah, adding that a friend had suggested he and Meghan partner with streaming services to make a living. 

When Oprah asked the Sussexes about their deals with Netflix and Spotify (rumored to be worth $100 million and $25 million, respectively), Harry was frank: Those deals came together pretty quickly because they didn't know how else to make money at the time. "We hadn't thought about it, so there were all sorts of different options," he said. "And, look, from my perspective, all I needed was enough money to be able to pay for security to keep my family safe."

Harry drew parallels between Meghan and Princess Diana's struggles

Meghan Markle revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she was suicidal during her time as a working royal, and sought help from The Firm to get mental health treatment. "I just didn't want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she said (via Reuters), noting that when she told Prince Harry, "I remember how he just cradled me." Per CBS News, Meghan claimed she was denied any aid from The Firm, which ultimately led the Sussexes to leave to preserve their own safety.

The trauma of his own mother's death when he was a child and the trauma that Meghan suffered at the hands of the British tabloid media and royal family, as well as her acrimonious relationship with her own father, terrified Harry. He explained to Oprah, "I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side because I can't begin to imagine what it must've been like for [my mother] going through this process by herself all those years ago." Harry added, "My biggest concern was history repeating itself." 

As Harry previously stated, some of the treatment Meghan faced was dehumanizing, similar to how his mother became a tabloid fixture: "I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' staff allegedly ran for the hills

The Daily Mail reported in November 2018 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lost three palace aides in just a few months since the royal wedding that May, including their private secretary, Melissa Cohen. "Melissa is a hugely talented person," a source said. "She played a pivotal role in the success of the royal wedding and will be missed by everyone in the royal household." Another palace aide quipped, "To lose one member of the household could happen to anyone. To lose three in a few months is starting to look like a stampede." 

Another aide lasted mere months before leaving, and Meghan's former agent hinted that the former Suits actor may be the reason for the mass staff exodus, telling the Daily Mail that she is "picky," adding, "Meghan likes to move on" from anyone who doesn't share her "vision." Sources cited by The Sun also claimed that Meghan wasn't easy for the staff to work with. "Meghan can be difficult," an insider said. "She has very high standards and is used to working in a Hollywood environment. However, there's a different degree of respect in the royal household and Kate has always been very careful about how she has acted around staff."

Just before Harry and Meghan's Oprah Winfrey interview, a report alleged that the Sussexes' former communications secretary wrote to human resources about the duchess' alleged "bullying" treatment of her staff back in 2018. Buckingham Palace announced it would investigate the allegations.

Meghan Markle wasn't prepared for royal life (but felt like a Disney princess)

In March 2021, Meghan Markle admitted to Oprah Winfrey that she had no idea what she was getting into when she married Prince Harry and joined the royal family — even revealing that Harry's aunt, Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, had to teach her how to curtsy minutes before she met Queen Elizabeth for the first time. "That was really the first moment that the penny dropped," Meghan said (via Town & Country). 

Noting that the various royal protocols were a culture shock — especially being "silenced" from correcting false rumors about herself in the press — Meghan added that when Harry was away for work, she felt incredibly lonely, as she was instructed by the Firm to "lay low" at home. "I said: 'I have left the house twice in four months, I am everywhere but I am nowhere.'"

Feeling stifled by life in the Palace, Meghan saw herself in The Little Mermaid's Ariel, a 16-year-old princess and mermaid who signs a deal with sea witch Ursula, trading her voice for legs to win over her land-lubber prince. "I was sitting in Nottingham Cottage and The Little Mermaid came on. Now, who watches ... who as an adult really watches The Little Mermaid? But it came on and I was like, 'Well, I'm just here all the time, so I may as well watch this,'" Meghan recalled (via The Sun). "And I went, 'Oh, my God! She falls in love with the prince and because of that, she has to lose her voice.'" Thankfully, like Ariel, Meghan eventually got hers back.