Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: A love story

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in love

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    A date with destiny

    Britain's Prince Harry first met American actress Meghan Markle on a blind date in early July 2016 set up by a mutual friend. Their initial first date was quickly followed by two back-to-back dates in London. Harry insisted the two go over their schedules to find out when they could meet again.    
    Alexi Lubomirski/Courtesy of Kensington Palace/Handout via REUTERS
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    Getting to know Prince Charming

    Despite Prince Harry's worldwide fame, Markle insisted she didn't know much about the royal before their first date. "Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family," she explained during a BBC interview after the couple's engagement. "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."
    REUTERS/Mark Blinch
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    An instant attraction

    It didn't take long for the two to fall head over heels for each other. "We met for a drink," said Markle, "and then I think very quickly into that we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.'"
    REUTERS/Mark Blinch
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    Word gets out

    After four months of dating, the news finally leaked on October 31, 2016 that Prince Harry was dating Markle. That same day, Markle posted a photo on her Instagram of two bananas spooning, possibly hinting at her new romance. Markle later said, "We had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing."
    REUTERS/Toby Melville
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    Harry protects his new love

    While many celebrated the relationship of Harry and Markle, the growing media scrutiny on Markle's biracial background and live as a divorcee prompted the royal to release a statement implying to back off. "... Meghan Markle has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," said the statement. "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... Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his."
    REUTERS/Toby Melville
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    The Queen approves

    Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was reportedly thrilled to learn that her beloved grandson had found someone special. US Weekly reported at the time the Queen is “fully supportive” and another source revealed that the Queen is “delighted to see Harry in a loving relationship.” Markle said it was “incredible” to meet the queen. "It's incredible, I think, you know, to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother," she said. "All of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and of course incredible respect for being to have that time with her."
    REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
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    The couple gets closer

    By the end of 2016, Markle had reportedly been introduced to Harry's father Prince Charles and the relationship continues to grow After spending Christmas with their own families, the pair chose to spend New Year's Eve together in London.
    Alexi Lubomirski/Courtesy of Kensington Palace/Handout via REUTERS
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    Saying goodbye to The Tig

    In April 2017, Markle made a bold move by announcing she was shutting down her popular lifestyle blog The Tig, which she had founded three years earlier. "What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity," she wrote. "You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being the change you wish to see in the world." Many believe Markle said goodbye to the blog so she could focus on her royal relationship.
    REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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    Meghan opens up

    Markle finally spoke about her relationship with Harry for the first time in the October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair where she appeared as their covergirl. "We’re a couple. We’re in love," she declared. "I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story."
    REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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    A royal engagement

    After dating for more than a year, Harry and Markle finally announced their engagement on November 2017. It was noted by the press that Markle will make history as the first biracial American actress actress to be welcomed into the British royal family, most likely as a royal duchess.
    REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski
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    After the engagement, Markle and Harry appeared on the BBC where the royal vividly described a five-day camping trip in Botswana three to four weeks later after their first date. He said "the stars were aligned" and he instantly knew Markle was the one. "The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned," he said. "This beautiful woman just tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life. I know that she will be unbelievably good at the job part of it as well."
    EUTERS/Ben Birchall
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    A Hollywood ending

    After the engagement, Markle revealed she was “transitioning” out of her acting career, confirming she wouldn't be returning to the eighth season of her show “Suits.” Instead, the future duchess revealed she was moving "into the role" of being part of the royal family. "I'm excited to really get to know more about the different communities here and smaller organizations that are working on the same causes that I've always been passionate about,” Markle said. "I don't see it as giving anything up. I see it as a change. It's a new chapter." 
    REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
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    After the engagement, many wondered how soon the couple would have children. "One step at a time," replied Harry. "opefully we'll start a family in the near future."
    REUTERS/Andrew Milligan
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    Making a new friend

    While some tabloids insisted Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton allegedly felt threatened by Markle's arrival in the royal family, Vanity Fair reported the two women have become fast friends and have even reportedly traded fashion tips.
    REUTERS/Chris Jackson
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    Remembering Diana

    Harry spoke about his late mother Princess Diana and how she would be “over the moon, jumping up and down” knowing he was engaged to Markle. The future royal also has “something old” added to her engagement ring, designed by Harry himself — two diamonds from Diana’s jewelry collection. The center stone is from Botswana, where they camped early in their relationship. "The ring is — is obviously yellow gold because that's... her favorite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana and the — the little diamonds either side are from my mother's jewelry collection to make sure that she's with us on this — on this crazy journey together," he said. "It's days like this I really miss having her around," he said. "Not being able to meet his mother, it's so important to me to know that she's a part of this with us," Markle added.
    AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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    17

    Britain's Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle receives a bouquet of flowers after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, March 12, 2018.
    REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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    Setting a date

    Harry will Markle on May 19 in an hour-long ceremony starting at 7 a.m. EST, or noon local time. The date is a Saturday -- unusual, as most British royal weddings take place on a weekday. The wedding will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth's main residences. The palace said the wedding will "reflect [the couple’s] characters and personalities" and be a moment of "fun and joy."
    Victoria Jones/Pool via Reuters
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    United in faith

    Markle was baptized on March 6 in the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace, according to a Daily Mail report. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, attended the baptism as representatives of the crown. Afterward, Markle was reportedly confirmed into the Anglican faith, allowing her to join her soon-to-be husband at Holy Communion.
    Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters
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    Sharing the wealth

    The pair announced on April 9 that they will be accepting donations to seven charities they support as wedding gifts for their upcoming royal nuptials. “Prince Harry & Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill they have received since their engagement, [and] have asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion of their wedding considers giving to charity, instead of sending a gift,” Kensington Palace wrote in a news release.
    REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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    A tale of two families

    According to AP Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, will arrive during the week before the May 19 wedding so they have time to meet Harry’s family. In addition to visiting the queen, the exes will meet her husband Prince Philip, Harry’s father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and with Harry’s brother Prince William and his sister-in-law Kate. Ragland will travel with her daughter by car to Windsor Castle on May 19 and Thomas Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel for the ceremony.
    REUTERS/Toby Melville
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    Keeping one last secret

    One secret Markle is determined to keep is the name of the designer behind her wedding dress. Some speculate it will be a Ralph & Russo gown, the same British designer she used for her engagement photos. The wedding dress reportedly costs $135,000. However, the hefty price tag will be covered by Prince Harry and his family.
    Eddie Mulholland/Pool via Reuters
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    Always by her side

    As the world prepares for May 19, Markle is getting much needed-support from her beau on settling into royal life with ease. Vanity Fair reported Harry has instructed aides to be helpful and inclusive at all times with Markle. And even in the early days of their courtship, she had a direct line to his private secretary, Edward Lane Fox, as well as his communications secretary, Jason Knauf, who have been reportedly instrumental in helping her adjust. 
    Reuters
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