Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship began with an unassuming, one-hour date in London.

It didn’t take long for the couple to start dating properly, and in 2018 the two tied the knot in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. At that stage, many believed the couple to be the future of the British Royal Family. Of course, we all know by now how wrong those predictions were.

In 2016, when Harry and Meghan first began dating, the press were quick to publish stories about the two. Buckingham Palace soon realized they had to intervene in some way.

But what the Palace did to introduce Harry and Meghan’s relationship to the public had a very negative effect on one person. According to two royal experts, then-Prince Charles was ‘crushed’ by the shocking news. 

Harry, Meghan Markle
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Harry and Meghan’s relationship has been anything but peaceful and private. Since the day the paparazzi found out about their dating, the couple has been firmly in the spotlight.

Of course, the press played its part, but Harry & Meghan have been open about their story. They’ve spoken candidly to the world via interviews, podcasts, a Netflix documentary series, and Harry’s memoir, Spare.

Harry & Meghan – how they met

The beginning of Harry and Meghan’s relationship was, as is usually the case, a period of unbroken bliss. Yet though they have created a wonderful family of four since, there have also been many ups and downs.

In the very beginning of their relationship, they seem to have kept things extremely private. In fact, not even now-King Charles knew about it.

In December last year, Harry & Meghan released their Netflix documentary series. Through that, the Prince told the story of how the couple met in full, revealing that Meghan first caught his eye on Instagram when she appeared in a mutual friend’s video.

In said video, Meghan wore a filter that gave her dog ears. It was apparently enough to pique Harry’s interest.

“I was like, who is that?” Harry said in the documentary.

After that, one of their mutual friends introduced Meghan to Harry – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Harry, Meghan
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Meghan described how she was in London for the Wimbledon tennis tournament in 2016 when she and Harry made plans to meet.

Harry “‘freaked out’ before first date with Meghan

They scheduled a dinner, though things could have gotten off to a better start. Harry and Meghan were to meet at the Soho House in London, but the actress was forced to wait on her date for 30 minutes as Harry was running late.

“I couldn’t understand why he would be late,” Meghan said in the series. “But he kept texting. He was like, ‘I’m in traffic. I’m so sorry.’” 

“I was panicking, I was freaking out,” Harry added. “I was, like, sweatin’.”

Meghan explained that because she didn’t know Harry, she wondered if he was usually late.

“I was like, ‘Oh, is this what he does?’ Got it. Like this, I’m not doing. I’m not gonna sit…..” 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry interfered. 

“Like you’re one of those guys who have so much of an ego that any girl would sit waiting for a half hour for you,” Meghan continued. “I was just not interested in that.” 

Once Harry walked into the restaurant, though, Meghan quickly realized his being late wasn’t part of any tactic or plan.

“I was a hot, sweaty, red ball of mess,” Harry recalled. 

“You were just so sweet,” Meghan added. “You were genuinely so embarrassed and late.” 

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The first date, which Meghan said was “refreshingly fun,” lasted about an hour. The next day, the couple met again – coincidentally, Meghan was five minutes late.

“I think she’s the one”

“I was like, ‘You can be as late as you want cause I ain’t moving,’” Harry reminisced.

He added: “That was when it just hit me like, this woman is amazing. She is everything that I’ve been looking for.”

Harry was over the moon when he started dating Meghan.

A friend who appeared in the couple’s documentary explained how happy and excited the Prince was.

“Guys, I met a girl,” the friend recalled Harry saying. “We just met, but I think she’s the one.” 

Meghan, meanwhile, explained how she and Harry shared a special connection from the beginning. Though their relationship was initially long-distance – and a secret to the world – it never stopped them.

“Everything was text and FaceTime, we’d talk for hours. It felt exciting but not in the way people would assume it would be,” Meghan said. “It was just relaxed and easy.”

On May 19, 2018, Harry and Meghan tied the knot in a grand wedding ceremony at St. George’s Chapel. All but Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, were in attendance (the father-daughter relationship had deteriorated by this stage).

Few would have predicted it on their wedding day, but Harry and Meghan began their verbal attacks on the royals in the year following their exit. Not least in the infamous Oprah Winfrey interview, when Meghan claimed she had been treated badly, even stating that the Royal Family didn’t help her when she was experiencing mental health problems.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
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At the time of Harry and Meghan’s union, it seemed to both fans and the Royal Family that they – alongside William and Kate – would secure the future of the Firm. Yet just years later, the Duke and Duchess decided to leave it all behind in order to live an entirely different life in the US.

King Charles was left “crushed” after Harry & Meghan’s relationship announcement

Now, the royals are by all accounts usually very well informed about things happening within the family. This is in part because, well, they’re family, but also because it’s important for them to be able to help each other and ride out storms in the event of public controversy or scandal.

This extends to relationships and dating partners of family members – significant given that these can affect the public’s overall view of the Firm.

In the past, some relationships have been branded as “bad” by senior Royal Family members. Even so, said relationships have always been out in the open, known by all. Reportedly, though, that wasn’t the case with Harry and Meghan’s relationship – at least with regards to King Charles.

In their book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of the Modern Royal Family, royal experts Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claim that then-Prince Charles had no idea that Harry was dating Meghan. The first time he heard about their relationship, according to the authors, was a mere 20 minutes before it was made public.

King Charles and his staff at Clarence House were said to have been left “crushed” by the surprise news regarding Harry’s new girlfriend. Interestingly, though, this wasn’t necessarily because Harry was Charles’s son, but rather more because Charles feared it would overshadow his royal duties.

The then-Prince of Wales was about to embark on a sensitive tour to the Middle East at the time.

King Charles
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“It was a critical moment that had been in the works for months,” Scobie and Durand wrote in the book.

“A statement from Kensington Palace condemning the Press and, in the same breath, confirming Harry’s new girlfriend would all but eliminate coverage of Prince Charles’s tour of the Gulf.”

King Charles was “disappointed” with the timing

The royal authors added: “The team at Clarence House, which had spent months putting together Prince Charles’ tour in the hopes that it would be covered significantly, was crushed.”

Moreover, Scobie and Durand claimed that although King Charles was “disappointed” with the announcement’s timing, he “understood” that the couple needed to share the news about their relationship.

Harry’s father “understood that the situation with Meghan had reached a tipping point,” the authors wrote in Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of the Modern Royal Family.

Though Harry and Meghan were over the moon about their loving relationship, Harry was quick to lash out at people who questioned it. It’s even claimed that he decided to cut ties with one of his friends at this time as the individual in question reportedly was “gossiping about Meghan.”

It didn’t take long before several members of the public decided to criticize Meghan. Buckingham Palace even had to issue a statement on behalf of Harry over the wave of “abuse and harassment” the then-actress had received.

Media scrutiny played a big part in Harry and Meghan’s relationship, just as it did in William and Kate’s.

Meghan Markle

In fact, Meghan revealed in a 2019 ITV interview that some of her friends even warned her not to marry Harry because of the media scrutiny she was about to face.

“I never thought that this would be easy”

“It’s hard. I don’t think anybody can understand that. In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand, but when I first met Harry, my friends were so excited, my US friends were happy because I was happy,” Meghan said.

“But my British friends, they were sure he was lovely, but they said I shouldn’t do it because ‘the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ Because I’m American, I very naively didn’t get it. It’s complicated.”

The Duchess added: “I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair, and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile. I’ve said for a long time to H – that’s what I call [Harry] – it is not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive and feel happy.

“I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.”

Prince Harry
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King Charles and Prince Harry’s relationship – as well as Meghan’s relationship with her father-in-law, for that matter – has deteriorated over the last few years. Harry and Charles have hardly spoken, though the former was there to support the latter at his recent coronation.

Harry attended King Charles’ coronation – Meghan stayed in the US

It’s been reported that Harry didn’t share any words with his father or brother on coronation day. Just minutes after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey ended, Harry was spotted entering a car to head straight to the airport so that he could fly back to the US.

Meghan didn’t attend the coronation as she stayed with the couple’s two children in their home in Montecito, California.

We hope that King Charles, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the rest of the Royal Family can make amends. Of course, whether or not that’s possible – and most importantly, if they even want to – is a question that few can hope to answer today.