Odd Things About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship

The 2018 royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was a major media event, with an estimated 1.9 billion people throughout the world watching on television. Perhaps it was the fact that Harry's bride was American, but far more U.S. television viewers tuned in to watch the former "Suits" star wed the Duke of Sussex than viewed the nuptials of his brother, Prince William, and Kate Middleton (29.2 million vs. 22.8 million viewers). 

Since then, Harry and Meghan have generated countless headlines and a seemingly endless stream of controversy, predominantly from their unprecedented 2020 decision to step down as senior royals — dubbed "Megxit" by the media — and their subsequent relocation from the U.K. to the celebrity-friendly community of Montecito, California. Along the way, they've made blockbuster accusations about Britain's royal family in their heavily hyped sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, their self-produced Netflix documentary series "Harry & Meghan," and Harry's scorched-earth tell-all memoir, "Spare." Meanwhile, they also welcomed two children, a son named Archie, and a daughter named Lilibet.

They've had their ups and downs since they first began dating all those years ago, but by all accounts appear to still be going strong. That said, being the wife of a prince doesn't necessarily guarantee a happily ever after — as the trajectories of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson have demonstrated. As the spotlight continues to shine on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, here's a look at some odd things about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship.

She was reportedly dating someone else when she met Harry

When Meghan Markle was first introduced to Prince Harry back in May of 2016, he was reportedly so smitten that he asked for her telephone number. There was a complicating factor that hindered their eventual relationship. At the time they met, she was dating another guy, Canadian chef Cory Vitiello. They wound up splitting up. 

However, a 2022 book asserted that Markle's relationship with Vitiello had moved far beyond dating. In "Revenge: Harry, Meghan and the War Between the Windsors," British journalist Tom Bower claimed that Markle and Vitiello were living together in Toronto, where Markle was filming "Suits." According to the book, via Page Six, Vitiello was still living in the home that he and Markle shared when she and Harry went on their first date. Furthermore, Bower contended that he was still residing there when Markle made the first of several transcontinental flights to London to pursue a relationship with Harry. 

Upon returning from that first trip, Markle felt secure enough in the burgeoning royal romance that she told Vitiello they were through. As Bower wrote, the chef "was relieved. The final months had been unpleasant." Back in 2016, a source close to Vitiello was asked by The Telegraph whether Harry had played a role in couple's breakup, and diplomatically responded, "I can't comment on that." 

They got engaged really, really fast

Some couples spend a lot of time together before one of them pops the question. That was certainly the case with Prince William and Kate Middleton, who went through years of breakups and reconciliations before finally walking down the aisle in 2011. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on the other hand, moved quite a bit faster; in fact, they'd only been dating for about a year when Harry proposed. 

In their engagement interview in November 2017, the couple recounted how it went down. "Just a cozy night, it was — what were we doing? Roasting chicken and ... And it was just — just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee," Markle recalled, remembering she didn't have to give a whole lot of consideration to the offer. "I was like, 'Can I say yes now?'" she added. "It was a really nice moment. It was just the two of us and I think I managed to catch her by surprise as well," Harry said.

From there, the couple didn't endure a long engagement, with the wedding taking place the following May — a mere six months later.

They want privacy, but court the press when it suits them

In the first year or so of their relationship, Prince Harry and Meghan 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 2017 Vanity Fair profile in which she claimed that "this is our time" and "this is for us."

Since then, that pendulum has swung wildly in both directions. While the pair has continued to seek privacy — a quest that's proven to be far more successful in Montecito than it was in London — they've also displayed a tendency to exploit the media when it serves their purposes. That's been the case whenever they want to promote one of their various ventures, be it Harry's Invictus Games, Markle's podcast, their Netflix documentary series, and, of course, "Spare."

That said, the couple still can whip up a media frenzy at a moment's notice. They demonstrated that in March of 2023 when they visited New York City and were swarmed by paparazzi, with even the NYPD unable to protect them from the paps' relentless pursuit, ultimately forced to seek safety within the confines of a police station after a wild car chase. "While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone's safety," a rep for the couple said in a statement to CBS News.

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 reports came out 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 by the press, Prince Harry released a statement via his communications director that confirmed his relationship and 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 Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship, all one 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 both Kensington Palace 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 wearing 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 anyone is hoping to snag a lingering piece of clothing from the line, that ship has long since sailed. 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

It's not rare for celebrities to place their social media accounts on private or block the haters, but Meghan Markle took her privacy to another level amid her romance with Prince Harry. On April 17, 2017, Markle shut down her lifestyle blog The Tig, after nearly three years. 

In a letter that she penned for the website, she thanked her fans and "Tig friends" for all the support they'd provided for her 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 that Markle had become more interested in focusing on "Suits" and her various humanitarian efforts.

Despite what sources said, from the shuttering of her clothing line to her acting career to shutting down 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 reception

Back in May 2017, arguably the hottest social event in London high society was the wedding of Kate Middleton's sister, Pippa Middleton, to James Matthews. After all, what member of the British upper crust wouldn't want to score an invite to the nuptials of the sister-in-law of the future king of England?

At the time, reports claimed that there was one big rule attached to the invites: "no bling, no bring" — in other words: guests are expressly not permitted to bring anyone as a plus-one to the big day who isn't sporting either a wedding or engagement ring. 

As Markle's relationship with Prince Harry appeared to be heating up at that time, royal watchers wondered whether she'd be on Harry's arm during the wedding. As it turned out, Markle abided by the "no bling, no bring" rule, and did not attend the ceremony with Harry. She did, however, show up at the newlyweds' reception later that day, reportedly making a grand entrance. As E! News reported at the time, Markle agreed to bow out of attending the ceremony so as not to pull focus from the bride and groom. "Right now Harry and Meghan are leaning towards not wanting to attract extra attention, especially on a day that's not about them," said a source.

Markle's sister has accused her of being a social climber

Samantha Markle began slamming half-sister Meghan Markle in the tabloids almost immediately after she began dating Prince Harry. Early on, she called her a "social climber" with a "soft spot for gingers" (via The Sun). Even though the mother of three hadn't seen her half-sister since 2008, she had some strong opinions about her. "Hollywood has changed her," said Samantha. "I think her ambition is to become a princess." 

In the years that followed, the relationship between the siblings has followed an unwavering pattern: Samantha trashes Meghan in the press, Meghan says nothing — rinse and repeat.

The whole thing descended to a whole other level after Meghan and Harry got married. In October 2018, Samantha made a trip to London and paid a visit to Kensington Palace — followed by an entourage of media, of course — to confront her sister about why their father didn't attend the wedding (depending on which report one chooses to believe, he was either too ill to make the trip or was disinvited as punishment for being caught selling stories about Meghan to the tabloids). In any case, the stunt bombed when Samantha was turned away by security and tried to leave her sister a note.

They're distant relatives

Genealogy can present people with surprising information about one's past. In the case of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, it revealed that the two spouses don't just share a familial connection through marriage, but are also distantly related.

In 2017, the Daily Mail undertook a "genealogical investigation" that discovered they're actually distant cousins, related through an ancestor of the Queen Mother who lived in the 15th century. Interestingly, Markle's connection to Harry's great-great-grandmother came through the ancestors of her father, Thomas Markle. The ancestry of both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can be traced back to Ralph Bowes, who was a High Sheriff of County Dunham in Britain, and whose family owned a lot of land — as well as Streatlam Castle, the family seat. Bowes' grandson Christopher Hussey journeyed to the colonies in 1632 and helped to found the Massachusetts town of Nantucket, where he established the branch of the family that would eventually result in Markle's birth.

Interestingly, Harry and his family aren't the only notable people with whom Meghan shares a family connection. According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Markle also shares colonial ancestors with eight presidents — including  George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard M. Nixon, and others — while some of her other distant cousins are writer O. Henry, lawyer Clarence Darrow, actor James Dean, and former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson.

They turned their love story into a Netflix docuseries

Once Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals, they needed to secure their own financial independence outside of the royal family. For the couple, that led them to enter various deals, including a highly lucrative contract with Netflix. Reportedly worth $100 million, the deal called for the couple to produce documentaries, a docuseries, feature films, scripted TV series, and even children's programming for the streaming service. 

That docuseries finally debuted in December 2022. Titled "Harry & Meghan," the series allowed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to tell their own love story, from their perspective. Given all the scurrilous tabloid reporting about the two, there was a huge degree of curiosity about the project. 

Once it was released, "Harry & Meghan" did not disappoint when it came to the new revelations it offered. Among those were how they met, with Harry recalling seeing his future bride on a friend's Instagram, and then asking if he'd be able to meet her. He also revealed he was late for their first date, that their third date took place in Botswana, and that they bonded over the fact that each of them was the product of a divorced family. More than two million viewers watched the docuseries in the U.S. alone.

She had a strict rule in place about dating Prince Harry

One of the more intriguing revelations from the Netflix documentary series "Harry & Meghan" was a rule that Markle had instituted involving how often they saw each other when they were dating — which was both specific and non-negotiable. "She had a two-week rule," Harry said, as reported by the Mirror. "We had to see each other in or around two weeks. I said, 'How is that even possible with the stuff that I'm doing? I'm not going to be able to travel to see you that much.'"

Markle, however, was insistent; whatever schedule he had to adjust to abide by that rule, she expected him to do it. However, there was a very important reason underlying her rule. "We had to get to know each other before the rest of the world and the media joined it," she explained, noting that she recognized they only had a brief window to achieve that before a media frenzy ensued and their privacy would vanish.

That said, Markle revealed that Harry also had his own set of criteria involving a future bride. "He had a list apparently of what he was looking for — an extensive list," Markle divulged. "I'm not showing you the list. Nice try," he responded, before gesturing to his wife and adding, "This is the list."

Tyler Perry reached out to help them before even meeting them

Writer, actor, director, and all-around entertainment mogul Tyler Perry played a crucial role when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the move from London to California after stepping down as senior royals. When they first arrived in California, they secretly stayed at a Beverly Hills home owned by Tyler Perry, which he'd offered them even though he'd never met them. 

Appearing on the "Let's Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa" podcast, Perry revealed that he reached Markle before her wedding, telling her he could sense she was becoming overwhelmed. "I sent them a note ... and just said, 'If you ever need anything, I'm here,' and she called months later and just talked to me like I was a therapist you talk to, and we just had a great conversation," Perry said of how he and Markle came to become friends, as reported by Vanity Fair. "They hid out at my house for a long time," Perry added. "It was so great."

Markle shared her side of that interaction in an interview with The Cut, admitting it took her some time to get back to Perry after receiving his note. When they did speak, however, she shared everything she'd been going through in the eye of the royal hurricane. "Sometimes, you can tell your life story to a stranger on a plane as opposed to some of the people that are closest to you," she explained.

Family fractures on both sides

Prince Harry's relationship with his family is hanging by a thread, and it's all because of his wife — or at least that's the claim made by royal commentator Michael Cole. As Cole told GB News in 2023, Harry is no longer on speaking terms with either his brother, Prince William, or his father, King Charles, while Markle is likewise estranged from everyone in her family except her mother, Doria Ragland. 

Harry's relationship with his family, Cole noted, became particularly frayed after the sordid revelations he divulged in his documentary, "Spare," spilling salacious details about a family that's spent centuries trying to keep its scandals and secrets under wraps. According to Cole, the ball is in the Sussexes' court. "It is difficult to see how those relationships are going to be mended without some apologies on the part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex," he said. "They are showing no signs of that."

Vanity Fair writer Vanessa Grigoriadis believes a big reason for these familial fractures has to do with what she describes as Markle's tenuous relationship with reality, which Harry has reportedly bought into. "She has this warped reality, and then she marshals evidence underneath it to support a thesis that may not be the case," said Grigoriadis during an appearance on former BBC journalist Andrew Gold's "On the Edge" podcast, as reported by the Mercury News.

Harry has blamed himself for Meghan's strained relationship with her dad

The tense relationship between Meghan Markle and her father Thomas Markle has been well documented — mainly by Thomas himself, who's given several television interviews declaring just that. Among these interviews was one in which he threatened to sue because she wouldn't let him see his grandchildren — and pointed out that he was in the same boat as King Charles. "I'm very upset as well because this is a cruel thing to do to a grandparent, not just to me but to the king of England as well," he said during a 2023 interview with "Good Morning Britain."

In an episode of the "Harry & Meghan" docuseries, Prince Harry admitted that he was likely the reason why his wife's relationship with her dad wound up cratering as it did. "Of course, it's incredibly sad what happened. She had a father before this and now she doesn't have a father," Harry said, as reported by People. "And I shouldered that because if Meg wasn't with me, then her dad would still be her dad."

Then again, Harry shouldn't beat himself up about it too badly. According to one of Meghan's childhood boyfriends, her relationship with her dad had been difficult long before Harry entered the picture. "I didn't see him often ... but I did know that Meghan's relationship with her dad was complicated and I understood that as most teenager-to-parent relationships are," her former boyfriend, Joshua Silverstein, told Us Weekly.

Their meet-cute origin story has changed over the years

In the Netflix documentary series "Harry & Meghan," Prince Harry and Meghan Markle discussed how they first met. As they recounted the story, their origin can be traced to social media. "Meghan and I met over Instagram. I was scrolling through my feed and someone who was a friend had this video of the two of them," Harry said, as reported by the Daily Mail. "That was the first thing, "I was like who is that?" he added.

That, however, is not what the couple said back in 2017 when they gave an interview to BBC News shortly after their engagement. Asked how they first met, Harry said that they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, at which point Markle interrupted him. "We should protect our privacy," she told him, "and not tell too much of that." Asked if that mutual friend had set them up, Markle confirmed that to be the case. "It was definitely a set-up. It was a blind date," she said. 

Comparing the two versions of their meet-cute story, one social media user accused them of making things up and tweeted, "Harry and Meghan are remarkably bad at remembering which lies they have told."

Harry was high on laughing gas when son Archie was born

While Netflix's "Meghan & Harry" docuseries may have served up revelations about their relationship, the release of Prince Harry's memoir the following month dished up mounds of dirt on the royal family. Released in January 2023, "Spare" made headlines for its numerous salacious details, ranging from his battles — both verbal and physical — with his brother, Prince William, to his frostbitten "todger."  

Another nugget of info that emerged involved the birth of his first child with his wife Meghan Markle. In the book (excerpted by Town & Country), Harry described being in the delivery room with his wife, where she was instructed to inhale nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas. As Harry wrote, he joined in. "I took several slow, penetrating hits. Meg, bouncing on a giant purple ball, a proven way of giving Nature a push, laughed and rolled her eyes. I took several more hits and now I was bouncing too."

As the intensity of Markle's contractions increased, a nurse entered and attempted to administer some gas to her — but couldn't, due to the empty tank because Harry had inhaled it all. "'Sorry,' I said meekly," Harry wrote. "Meg laughed, the nurse had to laugh, and quickly changed the canister."

Their relationship has spawned several conspiracy theories

As a couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have generated countless headlines. In addition to that, their relationship has also been the source of some pretty out-there conspiracy theories.

For example, when Markle became pregnant with their first child, rumors emerged that she was faking the whole thing to drum up publicity — which made no sense at all, but whatever. Another conspiracy theory, shared in a tweet, claimed that the couple's move to the United States was part of a secret plot for Britain to regain control of the United States, with plans for one of Harry's American-born heirs to someday win the presidency and take back the colonies — talk about playing the long game! Another conspiracy theory contended that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 2018 visit to Fiji was cut short because the Queen was offended by the wedge shoes she was wearing.

Perhaps the funniest theory, however, came from actor Paul Bettany while making a 2018 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." "I think that Meghan Markle might be a sleeper agent for the U.S. government," he said, as reported by Vanity Fair. "The dad doing the photos thing, it's like a false-flag event, I think the CIA's involved — everybody. I think Piers Morgan's involved." While Bettany was clearly joking, it's a safe bet there were at least a few conspiratorially minded folks who took him at his word.