Meeting a prince, falling in love, and becoming a princess is the premise of so many romance films.
But what if I told you this doesn’t only happen in the movies?
The beginning of Harry and Meghan’s relationship is almost exactly like a royal romance film.
Though it hasn’t always been perfect, their secret courtship, romantic engagement, and magical wedding truly makes their love story seem like a fairytale.
Interested? Read on to learn more about how Harry and Meghan’s relationship started!
1) They met on instagram
In the beginning of Harry & Meghan, Harry recounts the first time he saw Meghan: through a mutual friend’s instagram. After he saw photos of her, the Prince’s attention was instantly caught.
“I was scrolling through my feed, and someone who was a friend had this video of the two of them, it was like a Snapchat… with doggy ears. That was the first thing. I was like, ‘Who is that?’”
Because of this, the mysterious mutual friend ended up setting them up for a blind date in July 2016 when Meghan was in London for Wimbledon, which set the stage for the beginning of their royal love affair.
2) Meghan stalked Harry’s secret instagram
In the beginning, Meghan admits to not knowing Harry despite his global fame as a prince.
“Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” she explains in an interview with BBC. “I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked … was, ‘Well is he nice?’ Cause if he wasn’t kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense.”
She also revealed that she had stalked Harry’s private Instagram after their mutual friend let her know of his interest. Seeing mostly nature shots of the Prince’s trips to Africa, Meghan was taken with adoration.
Soon, the first date was set up in the prestigious Soho House on 76 Dean Street.
3) Harry was late to their first date
“We met at 76 Dean Street. You were late!” Meghan teased Harry in Harry & Meghan.
“But he kept texting. He was like, ‘I’m in traffic. I’m so sorry. I’m in traffic. I’m so sorry.’… Then I didn’t know him, so I was like, ‘Oh, is this what he does? Got it.’ And I was just not interested in that.”
Flustered, Harry admits that it wasn’t just a nice boy facade—he was actually panicking and embarrassed.
“I was freaking out. I was, like, sweating.“ He says, adding that he ended up showing up “a hot, sweaty, red ball of mess.”
Despite this, however, the sparks didn’t take too long to fly between the two. “He was just so fun, just so refreshingly fun. And that was the thing. We were like, childlike together,” Meghan recalls.
4) They tried to keep their relationship secret
When Harry met Meghan, he immediately wanted to protect her from the media and the British press.
“When I got to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media—the same media that had driven so many other people away from me,” the former Duke of Sussex confides. “I knew that the only way that this could possibly work is by keeping it quiet for as long as possible.”
After 4 months of keeping it quiet, the couple was informed that news of their relationship had been leaked to the tabloids.
On October 31, 2016, the relationship was finally made public. On the same day, Meghan posted a photo of two bananas spooning on her Instagram account, which hinted at being in a relationship.
Meghan later expressed appreciation of being able to date in private for a couple of months, saying that the five or six months they shared in privacy was “amazing.”
5) A knight in shining armor
It wasn’t always perfect. After news got out of the two’s relationship, Meghan almost instantaneously started getting abuse from the media.
On November 8, 2016, Harry issued a press statement about the issue. It reads:
His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.
The prince also shared how they have had “nightly legal battles” to prevent defamatory stories from being published.
He details how even Meghan’s mother herself has had to struggle past paparazzi just to get to her front door, and how photographers tried to trespass Meghan’s property.
This, of course, is worrying to Harry. Since the start of the relationship up to the present moment, they’ve been battling to preserve their privacy.
6) It’s a date!
In the summer of 2016, when Harry was to do some work in Africa and Meghan had a break from filming suits, the prince wanted to take Meghan to Botswana.
“He said, do you want to come to Botswana?” Meghan says.
She, of course, accepted the offer, but not without some doubts. “I’m getting on a plane and I’m going to the middle of the bush? What? What am I doing? What if we don’t like each other, and then we’re stuck in the middle of the bush in a tent?”
Still, Meghan took the leap of faith—which rewarded the couple very graciously.
Harry later shared that the trip was “fantastic,” and showed appreciation towards Meghan for “living in a tent [with him] for five days” despite having been with him only twice before.
“You put a lot of faith and a lot of trust in me on that trip,” he tells the actress.
Being by themselves for five days was really it for the couple. This period was when they got to know each other better, which, to Harry, was crucial.
“It just felt so right, and it felt so normal,” he said in Harry & Meghan. “That was when it just hit me, like, “‘Okay, this girl, this woman is amazing, is everything I’ve been looking for, and she’s so comfortable and so relaxed in my company.'”
7) She meets the family
In the docuseries, Harry reveals that his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, was the first royal family member that Meghan met.
“It’s surreal. It wasn’t like some big moment of like, ‘Now you’re going to meet my grandmother,” Meghan said. “I didn’t know I was going to meet her until moments before. We were in the car, and we were going to Royal Lodge for lunch. And he’s like, ‘Oh my grandmother’s here, she’s gonna be there after church.'”
Understandably, this was very nerve-wracking—after all, she didn’t know she was going to meet the Queen of England!
“And I remember we were in the car and we were driving up and he’s like ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ And I just thought it was a joke,” Meghan shared.
“How do you explain that to people? How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother and that you would need to curtsy? Especially to an American. That’s weird,” Harry said. How cute!
8) Will you marry me?
After dating for about a year, Harry proposed to Meghan in Kensington Palace.
In Harry & Meghan, he reveals that he “wanted to do it earlier” but couldn’t because he had to ask permission from his grandmother.
“I did pop a bottle of champagne while she was roasting a chicken and that kind of slightly gave the game away. She was like, ‘You don’t drink champagne. What’s the occasion?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. Just had it laying around here, whatever.’”
After that, he walked Meghan into the gardens of Kensington Palace, where a blanket and some electric candles had been elegantly laid out.
Sharing that Meghan had already moved her dog, Guy, over to their flat, Harry jokes, “It wasn’t that I knew she’d say yes, but she’d already moved Guy over, so I had Guy as a hostage.” So adorable!
9) A thousand times, yes!
On November 27, 2017, the royal couple finally publicly announced that they were “thrilled and happy” to be engaged.
In Harry & Meghan, they shared that their engagement party had an unusual theme: everyone in animal onesies!
The two wore matching penguin onesies, joking that it was because “penguins mate for life.”
Meghan’s friend, Serena Williams—a world renowned athlete—shared in the documentary that Harry and Meghan had a lifelong compatibility.
“I’m looking at it through the lens of my friend, not as a princess—they, as a couple, are so tight and rely on each other so much and are each other’s best, best, best friends. I was just super excited,” Serena shared.
10) The wedding of the year
Royal weddings are always a big deal—and this was truly the case for Harry and Meghan’s wedding!
On May 19, 2018, Harry and Meghan finally tied the knot at Windsor Castle.
An estimated 1.9 billion people held their breath for the royal wedding of the year, making it one of the biggest televised events in history.
It truly is a love for the ages!