Settling into royal life in front of millions is far from easy.
Former American actress Meghan Markle officially became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Prince Harry in May 2018, and became a mom a year later, when the couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. And while the 37-year-old is seemingly enjoying a fairy-tale existence, life behind palace doors hasn't always been smooth sailing.
“I think it’s very hard for her,” British journalist Angela Levin told Fox News. “I think she’s done brilliantly at some things. She’s marvelous when they are out and about. She’s very good at talking to people. It’s an awful lot to learn and she’s very energetic and keen. But it might be good for her if she took a little bit more advice. Before in her life, she was very used to making her own decisions. I do think it’s very difficult for her. This is a very strict, traditional path. It takes a while to get used to it.”
Levin, a veteran reporter on royal affairs, published a biography in 2018 titled “Harry: A Biography of a Prince,” which is based on her exclusive conversation with the 34-year-old at Kensington Palace before he married Markle. Levin had accompanied Harry on his many engagements and shadowed him for more than a year.
Most recently, Levin released a paperback version of her book, which takes a closer look at Harry’s marriage to the star. For her newest release, Levin had access to numerous sources who had insider knowledge of the couple.
“In the early stages, I don’t think the duchess really understood the difference between being a show business person and being a member of the royal family,” Levin explained. “Prince Harry was very anxious when we spoke originally and said he didn’t want to be thought of like a show business person. His feeling about being royal was that it was about duty, it was about helping the queen and that it was a very serious job. But the line has been a very narrow one, I think.”
Levin claimed that Markle received criticism from Harry’s friends over her modern, healthy lifestyle, which is believed he adopted since they met in 2016.
“I think that when people marry, they sort of slightly change so that they can work together as a team,” she explained. “There has been some criticism about her changing Harry. But I think she’s very confident… And he doesn’t mind at all. He is very, very proud of her. He’s actually in awe of her. He wants to be with her more than anything. His relationship with her is more important than anything.”
“Some of his friends were with him when he was heavily drinking, smoking and behaving like a bad boy,” Levin continued. “And he doesn’t want to do that anymore. He’s completely devoted to Meghan who is great into looking after yourself and keeping fit with yoga… He’s dropped a few people who just didn’t connect with her.”
Levin alleged that Markle’s eagerness to take on her royal duties didn’t sit well with some of the palace staff, who were already accustomed to a completely different approach.
“It’s been said she was emailing [her staff] at 5 a.m., but truthfully, I’m not sure how difficult that can be,” she chuckled. “People have left and they have talked. It is hard when you’re in such regal circumstances to know how to handle staff. That takes a bit of a while… The queen is also very, very polite to her staff and treats them extremely well with lots of courtesy. I’ve been told Meghan isn’t like quite like that and slightly gives orders. It’s a completely different life to settle into.”
Despite the challenges Markle may have endured, Levin stressed Harry has been incredibly supportive of his spouse.
“He’s thrilled he found someone he felt totally in love with,” said Levin. “He also understands it’s not easy for her. She’s given up her freedom. But it’s been an exciting time for both of them, especially with the baby. You’re running and you’re not going to look around you.”
While Markle has proven to be a breath of fresh air in the palace, Levin said the one rule she should avoid breaking is staying silent on personal political views.
“Royals are not supposed to say anything political at all,” Levin warned. “But most of all, when they’re out on a royal engagement. She has done this a few times. It caused a lot of concern. She doesn’t seem to fully understand the royal ways, which I think it’s absolutely understandable. But you also need to be a bit careful because we’re used to many traditions that perhaps are not so acceptable to someone who wasn’t born and brought up in a royal setting.”
As for what the future holds for the couple, Levin said Markle will continue to navigate life only life as a duchess but also life as a new mom in the public eye. Despite the challenges it will certainly deliver, Harry is determined to be by her side no matter what.
“I think Harry so far has become more showbiz,” she said. “But that might change. You view the world in such a different way when you have a child. And I think Harry is very keen to do good. He told me he wants to make a difference. He wants to help people as much as he can. And this time is so thrilling to him. He wanted to be a father from a very early age. He’s brilliant with children. And it’s quite right.”