Once upon a time, in the land of post-Brexit Britain, there was a brave and handsome prince beloved by his subjects who wanted to get married. Then he met a girl. She was beautiful, intelligent, accomplished and a commoner. And a foreigner. The Prince fell in love with her.
As far as fairy tales go, that’s it for the similarities because Meghan Markle, the now-official girlfriend of Prince Harry, is also a self-assured, talented professional with a distinguished career who hasn’t needed magic to get the prince besotted with her. Nor has she needed a magic horse-drawn carriage to enter his palace because she seems to have her own key.
That was the conclusion of the British press late last week when Markle was spotted going in and out of Harry’s lodgings at the back of Kensington Palace to buy groceries at a nearby Whole Foods on Kensington High Street, wearing his baseball cap. Apparently it’s the first time that the girlfriend of a senior member of the Crown stays openly at the royal residence. “Having your girlfriend stay over may not be that much of a big deal for your average 32-year-old,” wrote Royal correspondent Tom Sykes. “But when you are Prince Harry, it means a whole lot more.”
For many, it was a sign that their relationship continues to blossom despite the scandal caused the week before when, in an unprecedented royal statement on Harry’s behalf, the press office at Kensington Palace denounced Markle’s subjection to “a wave of abuse and harassment” and fielding of racist and sexist comments from social media trolls and in online article comments. Apparently it’s the first time that the girlfriend of a senior member of the Crown stays openly at the royal residence. “Having your girlfriend stay over may not be that much of a big deal for your average 32-year-old,” wrote Royal correspondent Tom Sykes. “But when you are Prince Harry, it means a whole lot more.”
For many, it was a sign that their relationship continues to blossom despite the scandal caused the week before when, in an unprecedented royal statement on Harry’s behalf, the press office at Kensington Palace denounced Markle’s subjection to “a wave of abuse and harassment” and fielding of racist and sexist comments from social media trolls and in online article comments. True, Markle is a commoner – like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge who, until now, has been the best representation of the “normal girl” who got the prince and slid impeccably into her role as future consort of the king and shining member of the British crown.
But Markle is also a foreigner, an American, a television actress, jetsetter, divorced, biracial – and three years older than Harry.
With her new fame as the girlfriend of the most sought-after bachelor prince on the planet, it’s now known that Meghan is also a very accomplished woman in her own right through hard work, ambition and talent. She’s best known for playing Rachel Zane in TV’s legal drama “Suits,” and has also appeared in “General Hospital,” “CSI: NY” and “Castle,” as well as in the films “Get Him To The Greek” and “Horrible Bosses.”
Recent reports describe her as admirably articulate about matters of gender equality and race. She’s served as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, traveling to Rwanda to participate in a clean water campaign, and to meet female political leaders. She’s worked with United Nations Women in the field of gender equality and been a women’s rights activist for the Women’s Political Participation & Leadership programme.
She’s also travelled to Afghanistan with General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a United Service Organizations tour in December, 2014, and with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the Young World Summit in Ottawa in September. “I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches,” she has said. “I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of work is what feeds my soul, and fuels my purpose.”
She also has a lifestyle website and brand, The Tig, where she offers advice on food, travel, fashion, home design, beauty and fitness, as well as hosting interviews with powerful women and articles on politics and social inequality. The Tig also promotes her own brand of accesible clothes, The Meghan Markle Collection, which was launched with Canadian retailer Reitmans.
She lives in Toronto, where “Suits” is filmed and where reportedly she met Harry in May while he was visiting to promote the Invictus Games 2017 – although according to rumors the couple actually was introduced in June by a mutual friend, Marcus Anderson, director of central London’s Soho House. She was born in Los Angeles, daughter of Doria, an African American clinical therapist, and Thomas, a white television lighting director. The couple divorced when Meghan was six. Meghan also was married with her boyfriend of seven years and divorced two years after.
Prince Harry, fifth in line for the throne is an exuberant and active young man who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot and is passionately involved in causes including the Invictus Games for wounded army personnel, charities for children and the protection of endangered species in Africa. He has been outspoken about his desire to get married and start a family.
He’s also frequently complained about the difficulties of conducting a relationship under the microscope of the media and the public following every stage of his courting – and marrying him off to practically every woman he meets. This time, according to royal experts, Harry is trying carefully to balance the demands of tradition and a modern relationship. “He’ll be respectful, he’ll do his duty, but Harry’s relationship with Markle makes it clear that he is claiming the right to conduct his private life his own way,” Sykes writes.
The consensus, though, is that given her age, the royal statement last week and her apparent free entrance to the palace, the relationship is serious and that things will move fast. Now the betting begins: When will Harry propose?