Meghan Markle was Google’s most searched actress of 2016, and while we’d love to attribute that to her stellar performance on the hit show Suits, it’s more likely the world was just very curious about Prince Harry’s then-girlfriend.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, obviously, still going strong (Hello, they just got married!). However, just because you’re married to a prince, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily guaranteed a happily ever after. Here are some strange things you probably didn’t know about one of the world’s former most eligible bachelors and his leading lady.
She was reportedly dating someone else when she met Harry
It might have been love at first sight for the couple, but it may have all started with a pair of wandering eyes.
According to The Telegraph, when the redheaded royal and Markle first met in May 2016, she was dating Canadian chef Cory Vitiello. Markle and her celebrity chef beau split the same month, and it was around that time that she began her near-monthly transcontinental flights to London. When asked whether Harry played a part in the couple’s breakup, a source close to Vitiello said, "I can’t comment on that." Ouch.
To be fair, though: few can compete with a prince, especially Prince Harry.
They got engaged really, really fast
While there’s no scientific proof that waiting longer to get married is better than racing down the aisle, the fact that Harry and Markle got engaged after dating for only about a year and a half is certain to raise eyebrows among skeptics.
Harry’s romantic timeline is far different that that of his big brother, Prince William, and his now-wife Kate Middleton, who had years of breakups and reconciliations under their belts before they finally tied the knot in 2011.
Of course, we’re totally happy to see two people totally happy, and yet, part of us thinks we’d feel more comfortable if their engagement happened in 2018 rather than 2017.
They want privacy, but also court the press
In the first year-or-so of their relationship, Harry and Markle were adamant about wanting privacy from the press and the public. One needn’t look further than Harry’s dramatic plea for privacy from the press in November 2016; or Markle’s Vanity Fair profile in which she claimed that "this is our time" and "this is for us."
Since then, they’ve doing photo calls at Kensington Palace and given joint interviews on prime-time television. Granted, part of that is simply tradition–William and Kate did the same thing back in the day. Still, if Harry and Markle suddenly complain about wanting privacy after their wedding, we’re going to roll our eyes.
She quit her day job for him
One of the biggest signs that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were headed for a royal wedding came in November 2017, when Deadline reported that Markle was eyeing an exit from Suits after seven seasons.
At first glance, the news sounded like that time your wanderlust BFF met a guy in Spain and claimed she was running away with him forever. However, earlier reports seem to indicate that Markle has been eyeing an exit from her day job for quite some time. Sources for E! News revealed in March 2017 that Markle was "ready to be done with Suits…[and with] acting in general. Even before Harry, she was starting to think about transitioning out of acting. She wants to focus on other worldly endeavors she is passionate about, like her philanthropy."
That’s all well and fine; admirable, even. Still, the thought of someone quitting a successful gig to get married makes us want to shed a tear or two for feminism.
The way they confirmed their relationship was really awkward
A lot of couples officially announce their relationship with a sweet snap on Instagram or a new Facebook status, but when you’re a prince, apparently a simple social media post won’t suffice.
In November 2016, amid harsh coverage of Markle from the press, Prince Harry released a statement via his communications director that 1.) confirmed his relationship; and 2.) told the press to back off. "Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her," the statement read. "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."
The statement was a highly unusual moment for a member of the Royal Family, proving just how unconventional this relationship was shaping out to be (by Buckingham Palace standards, anyway).
She loved hinting about their romance
Even though the press was initially kept in the dark about Markle and Harry’s relationship, all one really had to do was look at Markle’s Instagram page for some helpful clues. For much of the summer and fall of 2016, the actress posted countless updates from her trips to London, at one point even posting snaps at Kensington and Buckingham Palace.
Incidentally, on Oct. 31, 2016, the exact day that news broke about their relationship, the actress took to Instagram to post a photo of two bananas spooning. "Sleep tight," the caption read, sending royal enthusiasts into a tizzy about its possible meaning.
Markle didn’t flaunt the relationship just on social media. In December 2016, she was spotted at a flower shop in Toronto with a necklace with the letters "M" and "H." For being one-half of a seemingly private couple, Markle appeared very eager to share bits and pieces of her relationship with her prince.
Honestly, we can’t blame her.
She launched a clothing line right after the news broke
If you thought the banana Instagram post was convenient timing, try this one on for size:
In early November 2016, Markle released her clothing line for Canadian department store Reitmans, just days after the press reported on her royal romance. The actress, who was also a Reitmans brand ambassador, designed two collections for the retailer, both of which sold out quickly. Who wouldn’t want clothes designed by a potential princess?
Despite the success of her line, the partnership was short-lived. According to the Daily Mail, Markle abruptly ended her relationship with Reitmans in April 2017, even though she reportedly was offered a lot of money to renew her contract. Apparently, she even went so far as to have her team reach out and tell the Canadian retailer to stop associating her with the brand.
If you were hoping to snag a lingering piece of clothing from the line, you’re too late. In early March 2017, the company’s website posted a banner that said Markle’s collection was no longer available. This is just one of many aspects of her life that Markle shied away from as her romance with Harry heated up.
She shut down her website
We’ve heard of putting your social media accounts on private or blocking the haters, but Markle took her privacy to another level. The actress shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig, in April 2017, after nearly three years. In a letter that she penned for the website on April 7, 2017, she thanked her fans and "Tig friends" for their support over the years. Although some were quick to point out that this seemed like yet another thing that Markle was giving up to be with Harry, a source for People said the website had been a "full-time job" and Markle was more interested in focusing on Suits and her humanitarian work.
In spite of what sources said, from her clothing line to her career to her website, it certainly seemed like Markle was slowly but surely realigning her public persona to make way for a life with the royals.
She mysteriously scored an invite to Pippa Middleton’s wedding
Pippa Middleton’s original wedding rules included a "no bling, no bring" policy. In other words: guests shouldn’t bring anyone to her big day who isn’t sporting a wedding or engagement ring.
And yet, somehow, some way, Markle wound up getting an invite to the big day–at least to the reception, anyway. Some might call that a fair compromise to a ridiculous rule; others, especially those who have planned a wedding, might call that downright annoying, especially considering that, as of April 2017, Markle hasn’t even been on the guest list.
Markle’s sister has accused her of being a social climber
Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister, has slammed the actress in the tabloids, calling her a "social climber" with a "soft spot for gingers." The mother of three supposedly hasn’t spoken to Meghan since 2008, but claims "Hollywood has changed her." According to Samantha, "I think her ambition is to become a princess."
Clearly, Samantha believes that her sister is saying and doing all the right things to snag Harry, which could possibly explain Megan’s recent decisions to cut things out of her life that were once very important to her. Of course, Samantha’s claims also sound a bit, you know, untrue. Still, what better way to climb the social ladder than by dating a prince?