Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially announced their engagement to the world yesterday, on 27 November 2017. Up until now, the two have kept their relationship out of the public eye as much as possible  – and we completely understand why.

The American actress has undergone major scrutiny by the press – including degrading racial references and false allocations of Markle being involved in porn – ever since she and The Prince were first seen together.  However, in their first interview together, the couple have finally spilled the beans on how they met, what their relationship has been like, and how The Prince proposed.

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American actress, Meghan Markle (left). His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, also known as Prince Harry (right). Image sourced from Hello Magazine

How they met…

The couple were first introduced by a mutual friend – who’s identity remains unknown – in July 2016. Their mutual friend set the two up on a blind date, which resulted in back-to-back dates for Markle and The Prince in London. Three or four weeks later, The Prince managed to convince the American actress to join him on a camping trip to Botswana. For five days the pair were completely alone under the African stars – which Prince Harry describes as “absolutely amazing.”

They had to ‘reverse the whole (dating) process’ by choosing cosy nights at home over fancy dinners and dates to avoid further public scrutiny of their relationship. Now that news of their engagement is out, they will start the ‘dating process’ in public.

Dating The Prince….

Most of us have had fantasies of dating a prince, and being swept up in a whirlwind romance of glitz and glamour. “I don’t think I would call it a ‘whirl-wind’ in terms of our relationship”, Markle stated – surprising us all.

Being from the States, Markle did not have the same understanding of The Royal Family as many others around the globe. “I didn’t know much about him”, she admitted in a recent interview, and went on to add that she only agreed to the date because she had been assured by her friend that the Prince was kind.

The Prince, as it turns out, had absolutely no idea who Meghan Markle was. He had never watched Suits or heard of the actress before, but describes being “beautifully surprised” when he saw her and met her for the first time.
“I was like: ‘Okay, I’m going to have to up my game here!'” Harry admitted.

The couple agreed that not knowing much about each other helped their relationship. “Everything I know about him I’ve learned through him as opposed to having grown up with different news stories or tabloids” Markle points out. “For both of us, it was just a really authentic and organic way to get to know each other.”

From long country walks,  home made dinners, to private teas with the Royal Family, dating a Prince is not quite what we expected. Instead of the glitz, glamour and ballgowns, Meghan and The Prince opted for privacy.

“We had a good 5/6 months of just privacy, which was amazing.” Markle stated “We were able to really have so much time just to connect, and we never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other – even though we were obviously doing a long distance relationship.”

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Discreet dating. Image sourced from PopSugar. 

How they made long distance work

“It was just a choice.”

Because of Markle’s packed filming schedule for the popular show, Suits, and The Prince’s Royal commitments and trips to Africa (one of the many reasons why we love Harry!), the couple faced the challenge of space and time right from the very beginning of their relationship. “Very early on we realized we were going to commit to each other, and we knew we had to invest the time and the energy and whatever it took to make that happen.” Markle confessed.

“Just trying to stay as close as possible but, you know, on two different time zones and five hours apart does have it’s challenges,” The Prince agreed. “but we made it work, and now we’re here.”

The reality of dating a royal

“I didn’t have any idea of what it would be like.” Markle related.

“I tried to warn you as much as possible,” The Prince replied, “but I think both of us were totally surprised at the reaction…I think you can have as many conversations as you want and prepare as much as possible but we were totally unprepared for what happened after that.”

“We were hit so hard at the beginning with so many mis-truths.” Markle stated, alluding to the wave of negative and false press concerning their relationship. “I made the choice not to read anything… instead we focused all our energy on nurturing our relationship.”

Facing ethnic scrutiny

From the moment Markle and The Prince were first seen together, the press have spun articles with racial overtones regarding Meghan. “It’s a shame that this is the climate in the world to focus that much on that… but at the end of the day I’m just really proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that. We’ve just focused on who we are as a couple and so when you take all of those extra layers away and all of that noise, I think it makes it really easy to just enjoy being together and tune all the rest of that out.”

 

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Meghan Markle and her mother, who The Prince describes as “amazing”. Image sourced from TMZ.com

When The Prince was asked if ‘Meghan’s background’ was something new for the Royal family, he simply answered “I don’t think it’s something new, I think for me it’s an added member of the family. It’s another team player as a part of a bigger team. The four of us – all we want to be able to do is carry out the right engagements, carry out our work, and try encourage others in the younger generations to be able to receive the world in the correct way instead of perhaps having a distorted view. The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned and that everything was just perfect.”

Meeting The Royal Family

“The corgi’s took to her right away” Prince Harry joked when describing Meghan’s meeting with his family. Markle went on to describe how the Royal family have treated her like family, and given her support and advice concerning dating a royal and being in the public eye to such a large extent.

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Announcing the Engagement. Sourced from PopSugar.

The proposal

On a cold, cosy night at their cottage while roasting a chicken, The Prince surprised Markle by getting down on one knee and popping the question. Markle described the experience as “an amazing surprise… so sweet and so natural… very romantic”. The couple described it as special because it was just the two of them and because it was ‘so natural’.

The couple kept their engagement secret for several weeks, choosing to inform those closest to them about the engagement first.

When asked what he thought his mother would have thought of the engagement, Harry answered that she would have been over-the-moon, jumping up and down and so excited. “It is days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news, but with the ring and everything else that’s going on I’m sure she’s jumping up and down somewhere.”
“She’s with us.” Markle assured Harry.

The ring

The ring has a yellow gold band, and the main diamond was sourced by Prince Harry in Botswana. The two diamonds on either side are from the jewelry collection of Diana, Princess of Wales. In this way the couple feel that The Prince’s late mother is included in the engagement,

“It’s beautiful,” gushed Markle, “He designed it. It’s incredible!”

“It’s so incredibly special to be able to have this (the ring), and it sort of links where you (Harry) come from, and Botswana – which is important to us. It’s perfect.”

 

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Markle’s ring designed by Prince Harry, featuring a diamond from Botswana and two of Diana’s diamonds. Image sourced from Fox News

Meghans new title

Because of British rule, Meghan unfortunately won’t be known as Princess Meghan. However, she will still have a Princess title.
Once she and Harry are married, Meghan will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales. It’s quite a mouthful, but hey – a princess is a princess.

Whats next?

This power couple both have a passion for helping people and creating positive change. Markle has been an advocate for the United Nations since she was 11 years old, her focus being primarily on women’s rights and empowerment of women. While Markle plans to work with organizations closely related to her passion, The Prince will continue his work in Africa, and each will be subject to Royal duties.

Markle plans to give up her role in Suits.

While they will both have plenty of duties and responsibilities, the couple plan to use their positions of influence for the greater good of mankind – and we applaud them for it!

But most of all, they plan to put their relationship first in all things. They’ve realized that in order to be effective in the world, their closest relationship needs to be protected and healthy. They are choosing to remain best friends, and choose each other every day for the rest of their lives. This is an act of true love and we are all swooning.

When a Prince says “At the end of the day, I choose her and she chooses me” you can’t help but catch some feels.

NEXT: 10 Ways to Make Long-Distance Work

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