Without context, it seems like an almost mundane love story. But, of course, it is far from it.
Throughout their relationship, the controversial couple has had to navigate a swarm of backlash from the press, royal fans, and even the monarchy itself.
While failing to get a relationship blessing from a large portion of the population would threaten to undo a lot of couples, it seems to have ignited a spark within Harry and Meghan, whose love remains unyielding as they battle the backlash together.
HARRY & MEGHAN VS. THE BRITISH PRESS
When we said from the moment Harry and Meghan started dating they were already fighting a battle, we meant it.
On November 8th, 2016, Prince Harry confirmed he was dating American actress Meghan Markle in an official statement published on the royal family website.
But rather than being a sweet, changing your Facebook status to "in a relationship" type moment, the press release read more like a reprimanding to the prying press who were crossing lines left, right, and centre to get a scoop.
The statement read: "His (Prince Harry's) girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment".
It went on to cite some of the public harassment Meghan was receiving, including the "racial undertones of comment pieces" and the "sexism and racism of social media trolls", as well as the private "nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers".
The statement continued: "Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. 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 end of the message acknowledged the "unusual" nature of issuing a press release of this nature but insisted that Harry wanted it to be published regardless.
So, from day dot, Harry was commissioning protocol-breaking statements to protect his girlfriend, proving he had no qualms about breaking royal rules for his love.
HARRY & MEGHAN VS. PRINCE WILLIAM
After barely four months of dating Meghan, Prince Harry decided it was time for his new girlfriend to meet his family - a scary step regardless, but even more so when your grandmother is the Queen of England.
From here, things took a turn for the worse. While Harry was besotted with Meghan, apparently William had his reservations about how quickly things were moving between the couple - and he told his little brother as much once Meghan had returned to her home country of Canada.
According to The Sun, a well-placed source revealed: "William told his brother that they knew nothing about her background, her intentions, what she was really like."
"He just wanted to stress that becoming part of the Royal family is a massive undertaking and the pressure and scrutiny is unrelenting. Was Meghan the right one?"
Suffice it to say, William's reservations didn't go down too well with Harry. The same source claimed: "He accused his brother of trying to finish his romance before it had begun. The brothers' relationship has not really recovered."
In fact, in Prince Harry's 2023 memoir Spare, the relationship is non-existent, Harry alleging that his brother physically assaulted him in a row over Meghan and had called Meghan "difficult, rude and abrasive."
He describes William as "grabbing me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and knocked me to the floor."
The pair did briefly reunite however at the coronation of their father, King Charles III on May 6th, 2023.
HARRY & MEGHAN VS. TRADITIONAL ROYAL NAMES
If you've ever wondered why there have been multiple Queen Elizabeth's and King George's in the British royal family tree, it's not because the monarchy lacks creativity. No, it's because they are quite the fans of tradition.
But perhaps Harry and Meghan had been burned by a George or a Charles or a William in the past as they couldn't quite bring themselves to name their son after one of these recycled names.
Instead, the couple chose the name Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor for their baby boy. And royal observers were stunned, to say the least.
"I don't think anyone of us saw either of these names coming," the managing editor of Majesty magazine Joe Little said. He explained that, as far as he was aware, the names Archie and Harrison had no British royal connotations.
Upon the birth of their second child, Harry and Meghan announced their little one's name to be Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor; Lilibet, Lili for short, being an ode to Her Majesty The late Queen's nickname and Diana being a tribute to Harry's late mother.
By granting their children such royally unconventional names, the Sussexes further distanced themselves from the traditional way of doing things, proving they were intent on making their own rules.
HARRY & MEGHAN VS. THEIR ROYAL JOBS
After spending 35 years in the only job he'd ever known, along with Meghan's four years in her new role as a royal, the couple handed in their resignation letters at the same time.
Indeed, in an official statement shared on the royal family's website in January 2020, it was announced that Harry and Meghan were stepping back from their royal duties - a move which has colloquially come to be known as "Megxit".
"With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty," the statement read.
"The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family."
The press release also stipulated that Harry and Meghan would "no longer receive public funds for Royal duties".
With a slash to their bank account, the Sussexes were left to their own devices as they jetted to California to forge their own way.
HARRY & MEGHAN VS. THE MONARCHY
Since arriving in the land of the free, Harry and Meghan have been exercising their independence - most notably in March 2021 when they spilled what life is really like behind the Buckingham Palace curtains to their long-time pal Oprah Winfrey.
In the 90-minute tell-all interview, the ex-royals bared all to the TV icon. At first, it was just Meghan who sat down with her long-time friend, dropping bombshells left right, and centre.
It started with the former actress claiming that a years-old rumour that she made Kate Middleton cry over a flower girl dress was completely fabricated; in fact, it was the other way around.
From there it got progressively darker, with the former Duchess opening up about her harrowing mental health battle, and Prince Harry eventually joining to talk about his estranged relationship with his brother William.
WATCH NOW: Prince Harry admits he is ashamed of how he handled Meghan's mental health confession. Article continues after video.
Despite all of these allegations, the world was taken with one accusation in particular. When Meghan claimed to Oprah that there had been "concerns and conversations about how dark (her son Archie's) skin might be when he was born", the TV presenter's stunned facial expression mirrored the reaction of viewers everywhere.
At the end of the interview, people were either Team Sussex, Team Royals, or somewhere in the middle. But one thing was clear, Meghan and Harry felt isolated from the Palace and chose to speak out, alone but together, to get their story heard.
And adamant about getting their story heard even further, Prince Harry produced a "definitive account" of his life in his chart-topping memoir Spare, which was released in January 2023.
Before its publication, the father of two said he hoped to set the record straight.
"My hope is that in telling my story—the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned—I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think," Harry said in a statement announcing the venture.
In the memoir, Harry claimed that his father's "silence" over Meghan's perceived treatment whilst in England was the "ultimate betrayal."
Since day one it has been Prince Harry and Meghan Markle against the prying press, royal observers, and even the monarchy itself.
Despite all the backlash the couple continues to receive, the Sussexes appear stronger than ever as they forge their own path - independent from the royals - indicating that, as long as they have each other, nothing can tear them down.
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