The world is buzzing-- and young women are sighing and giving up their unrealistic childhood dreams-- with the news that Prince Harry is officially off the market for good.
The fifth in line to the British Throne (soon to be sixth, when William and Kate have their third child) announced his engagement to actress Meghan Markle on November 27th.
The pair will be marrying in May at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and with all the excitement of a royal wedding in the works, fans of pomp and circumstance will spend the next few months all a-flutter over the impending nuptials.
This is going to be the last major royal wedding for some time too, as the next won’t be until William and Kate’s children are grown and looking for brides and grooms of their own. This means that this is going to be a big one -- and even if it won’t be quite as huge as that of Harry’s brother, there is no doubt that this is going to be the biggest event of the year in the UK.
The couple have been together for some time now, of course, but have kept their relationship fairly private-- so we bet you won’t know any of these things about the newest royal fiancées.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Meghan Markle And Prince Harry’s Relationship.
Meghan may have become famous thanks to her starring role on Suits, but the actress is going to be leaving all that behind when she marries into the royal family. She’s been a part of the show for seven years, and says that she doesn’t consider this to be giving anything up, stating “I don't see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It's a new chapter, right?”
Now that she is officially done with acting entirely, she will be focusing on doing charity work with Harry. She will be making several other big changes too.
As well as being baptized and confirmed, Meghan will be moving to the UK, to live with Harry in Nottingham Cottage, and will be starting the process of becoming a British citizen.
Apparently dreams do come true… or at least ones concerning celebrity crushes do. It turns out that Prince Harry had a crush on Meghan years before he actually met her.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl revealed that Harry had seen his future wife on Suits, and then described her as his "ideal girl" when asked what he was looking for.
“He had a crush on Rachel Zane two years before he met Meghan and the reason I know is because I was having drinks with one of his friends. She told me she’d been on a night out with Prince Harry. He was single at the time, so she said, ‘Harry, who’s your ideal girl?’ And he said ‘Meghan Markle from Suits,’” Nicholl stated.
It seems that being a Prince of England might help when it comes to actually meeting your celeb crush.
No need for dating apps when you are a famous actress and a member of the Royal Family. The two met in London in July 2016, and have said that they were introduced by "friends."
This enigmatic answer led to a lot of speculation, with many believing that the two were set up by Markus Anderson, a consultant for Soho House. However, a later interview revealed that it was a female friend who introduced the pair.
It turns out that it was Misha Nonoo, a fashion designer who is a good friend of Markle’s and who was previously married to Alexander Gilkes, who has been a close friend to Prince Harry since the boys went to school together.
The pair have still not confirmed this outright, of course, but all signs point to Nonoo and Gilkes being responsible.
Although many people think that any woman who marries a Prince becomes a Princess by default, that’s not actually how the monarchy works. (Just don’t tell Disney.)
Instead of becoming a Princess, Meghan will become a Duchess once she is married to Harry -- just as Kate is Duchess of Windsor. She is likely to become Duchess of Sussex, rather than Princess Meghan.
The reason for this is simply that a commoner marrying royalty cannot be a Princess-- only a woman of royal blood can gain the title "Princess" through marrying a Prince.
This also means that Princess Diana wasn’t technically a Princess either-- although that never stopped anyone using the moniker for Harry and William’s mother.
After meeting in July, the pair still weren’t officially together for nearly six months. There were a few hints ahead of time, of course, with two such public figure. An Instagram post revealed Meghan wearing a bracelet given to her by Harry, that Harry himself later wore.
Then, at the end of October, the first reports started to surface before Harry officially confirmed the rumors in early November. From there, the two spent the holidays together, but did not make their first official public appearance until May, when she went to a polo event where Harry was competing.
Now, of course, the two have become much more comfortable being seen in public together, even if it took them some time to get there. The pressure is truly on when you are dating a Prince.
There’s another reason why Harry’s choice in bride is controversial -- Meghan is a divorcee. The new royal fiancée was married to Trevor Engelson, a producer and manager in LA.'
The two split in 2013, long before she started dating Harry. This is still a big deal for the Royals, though. Meghan will be the first divorcee to marry into the family in over eighty years, since King Edward III married American Wallis Simpson.
This was a huge scandal at the time, as Edward was forced to abdicate the throne in order to continue his relationship with Wallis. She was also seen as unsuitable for him-- she was American, divorced, and had no knowledge of how to behave in the British upper class. Edward’s wish to put Wallis over the throne was one that shocked the nation.
It seems that, in the early stages of their relationship, Harry and Meghan just couldn’t keep themselves apart. After his tour of the Caribbean in December 2016, the Prince was scheduled to return home to the UK with his staff.
Instead, he sent them home and took a detour… to Toronto, where Meghan lives. Although the Prince refused to comment on the impromptu trip to see his girlfriend, it certainly showed that he didn’t want to be separated from her for so long. Meghan didn’t come with him on the tour of the Caribbean because it was a such a high profile trip, but she wasn’t forgotten.
The Prime Minister of Antigua referenced her at an event, where he said “I am told that there may be a new princess and I just want to say that should you make the decision to honeymoon – then Antigua and Barbuda want to welcome you."
It’s not too surprising that the Royal Family have a lot of restrictions when it comes to marriage material… including a requirement for the monarch to approve any engagements before they become official.
That means that Harry had to ask his grandmother’s permission to propose -- and not in a cute, sticking-to-traditions way, either. Had the Queen decided that Meghan wasn’t acceptable, she could have theoretically prevented them marrying.
Of course, that didn’t happen, but it’s still the rules-- at least for the first six in line to inherit the throne. As William’s new baby will push Harry into that sixth-in-line spot, he could even have waited to see if his brother would increase his family by one more. However, luckily that wasn’t necessary.
Both Meghan and Harry are well-known for their charity work, so it’s not surprising that these two found some common ground quickly. Harry has worked with a whole range of different charitable organizations, including UNICEF, Sentebale, and National AIDS Trust.
Meghan has also worked with a range of charities for years, travelled to refugee camps, and worked with the UN, One Young World, and Myna Mahila Foundation.
Now, Meghan is going to be refocusing and starting her charity work afresh with a focus on the causes that are closest to the Royal Family and her fiancé’s heart. We’re sure to see them on plenty of trips together in the near future, doing the kind of good work that they bonded over in the first place.
Since the days of Henry the VIII, religion and the crown have been closely linked in England-- the monarch is also the head of the Church of England. This meant that royal protocol used to demand that anyone in line to the throne marry a fellow Anglican, with Catholics strictly prohibited.
However, a 2015 amendment to the Act of Settlement removed this requirement to allow royals to marry people of other faiths. This is good news for Meghan, whose religious background is… complicated.
Her father is Jewish, as is her ex-husband, and she has occasionally identified as Jewish in interviews. However, she has also talked about her Protestant mother, and identified with that faith too. To make things even more complicated, she also went to Catholic school.
Like many people, it seems that Meghan’s religious background borrows from both parents.
Despite the restrictions on inter-faith marriage being lifted, there would still be a problem in the unlikely event that Meghan and Harry's children ended up on the throne.
Because the monarch is also the head of the Church of England, they are required to be Anglican. However, it has now been revealed that Meghan will be baptized and confirmed in the church before her wedding to Harry, so if something goes horribly wrong and Charles, William, and William’s children cannot inherit the crown, Harry’s future offspring will still be able to.
(While Kate was already baptized, she was also confirmed once she became engaged to William, suggesting that this conversion may be strongly recommended, even if it’s no longer legally required.)
For many years, any woman marrying an heir to the throne would have to prove her virginity -- including Harry’s mother, Diana, who had to make a public statement about the state of her maidenhead (and there were even rumors of an inspection by a doctor).
However, Kate did not have to make any such statement, and neither did Meghan. Part of this is simply the change in cultural norms-- it’s no longer expected that a grown woman will remain a virgin by the time she marries.
More to the point, however, is that it's no longer necessary. The requirement of virginity used to be needed to prove that both virtue and any children of the marriage would be guaranteed to be of royal blood. Now that DNA tests exist, this outdated rule has been cast aside.
Another rarity for a royal is the fact that Harry will marry a woman older than himself. Meghan is 36 years old, while Harry is 33. This is not a huge age gap, by any means, but it’s certainly more common for royal men to marry younger women.
However, Meghan is not the first in this situation. Instead, that prize goes to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was eleven years older than Henry II of England. Two hundred years later, Edward the Black Prince married Joan of Kent, who was two years his senior. Edward’s son Richard II also married an older woman, as did Edward IV who married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464.
Similarly, Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was also older than him, and then 200 years later Queen Caroline of Ansbach was only a few months older than her husband. Kate Middleton is also a few months older than William.
However, Meghan, with her three years, represents the biggest age gap in line to the throne in nearly two centuries.
Meghan has been flashing a gorgeous rock since the announcement, but it’s more than just a pretty diamond. Before the two became officially engaged, some thought that Harry might propose with one of the Queen Mother’s rings, but it turns out that he had one custom made.
The new ring features one large diamond with two smaller diamonds on either side -- and there is a story to them. The central diamond is from Botswana -- an area that means a lot to both of them (from their charity work) and the two smaller ones are from Diana’s jewelry collection.
Harry said that he made the choice to include her diamonds “to make sure that she's with us on this crazy journey together.”
A lot has been said of Meghan’s ethnicity (her mother is black and her father is white), as some were shocked at the idea of Prince Harry marrying a bi-racial woman. Harry himself, as well as his brother William, have made public statements calling out the appalling commentary that follows Meghan since her relationship with Harry was revealed.
However, she’s not the first woman of color to join the royal family. That title goes to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who married King George III in 1761.
Charlotte was descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House -- and Queen Charlotte is also Harry’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother. It’s still fantastic to see a little diversity coming to the palace, but Meghan isn’t the first… and hopefully won’t be the last.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship? Let us know in the comments!