A gentle spirit. Prince Harry can see many admirable qualities in wife Meghan Markle that his late mother, Princess Diana, notably had herself.
“So much of what Meghan is, and how she is, is so similar to my mum,” the Duke of Sussex, 38, gushed in the first episode of Harry & Meghan, which premiered on Netflix on Thursday, December 8, alongside home footage of Meghan, 41, with son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 18 months. “She has the same compassion, the same empathy, she has the same confidence, she has this warmth about her.”
Harry — whom Diana shared with ex-husband King Charles III — noted in the docuseries that he witnessed his mother “struggling” with the media attention following her 1992 divorce from the king, now 74. The Spare scribe further noted in the first Thursday episode that he didn’t want “history to repeat itself” with his wife considering the alleged racist harassment that the Suits alum faced amid their early courtship.
“I remember thinking, ‘How can I ever find someone who is willing and capable to be able to withstand all the baggage that comes with being with me?’” Harry recalled in the doc. “Every relationship that I had, within a matter of weeks or month, was splatted all over the newspapers and that person’s family was harassed and their lives turned upside-down.”
The BetterUp CIO further explained that he was “terrified” that Meghan — who he affectionately called “M” — would be driven away due to the constant media attention. (The twosome initially connected in July 2016 after exchanging social media messages.)
“I knew the only way that this could possibly work is by keeping it quiet for as long as possible,” Harry said in the first episode, with Meghan chiming in that their early romance was a “guarded treasure.”
The duke and duchess’ romance was eventually revealed in October 2016, shortly after the twosome went out for Halloween.
“[Harry] said, ‘Well, if it’s gonna come out tomorrow, let’s go and have fun tonight!’” the Bench episode recalled in Harry & Meghan, noting they went to a festive bash with his cousin Princess Eugenie and her now-husband, Jack Brooksbank. “And we were like, ‘Well, this might be our last shot to just go out and have fun in the world.’ It was so great, just silly fun.”
News of the pair’s relationship broke several days later, nearly one year before Harry proposed. The military veteran and the former Hallmark actress tied the knot in May 2018 before welcoming son Archie one year later. Lili completed the brood in June 2021 after their move to California when they stepped down from their duties as senior roles.
As Harry and Meghan focused on raising their children, they’ve never forgotten Diana’s legacy. (The late Princess of Wales died in August 1997 after a fatal car crash in Paris.)
“Who is that?” Meghan asks then-baby Archie in throwback footage featured in Harry & Meghan, pointing to a framed photograph of Diana. “Grandma. That’s your Grandma Diana.”
Harry further reflected on his memories with his mother in the Thursday episode.
“My childhood I remember or was filled with laughter, filled with happiness and filled with adventure,” he said. “I don’t have many early memories of my mom. It was almost like I internally blocked them out. But I always remember her laugh, her cheeky laugh. Her always saying to me, ‘You can get in trouble, just don’t get caught.’ And I’ll always be that cheeky person inside.”
The Invictus Games cofounder — whose older brother is Prince William — gave a glimpse of his “cheeky” sense of humor in the doc after noting that his royal family members were “incredibly impressed” by Meghan upon their first meeting.
“Some of them didn’t quite know what to do with themselves, so I think they were surprised, maybe surprised that the ginger could land such a beautiful woman and such an intelligent woman,” Harry joked in Harry & Meghan. “But the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else at the beginning: ‘Oh, she’s an American actress. This won’t last.’”