Cover Story: Royal Wedding

A LOVE LESS ORDINARY

ON MAY 1 9 , PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE WILL OFFICIALLY BECOME MAN AND WIFE. AHEAD OF THE BIG DAY, WE REFLECT ON HOW THIS HAPPY COUPLE OVERCAME ODDS AND OBSTACLES FOR A ROYAL ROMANCE TO REMEMBER

‘At home roasting chicken’ perhaps isn’t the first phrase that one might expect to hear when being regaled with the story of how a prince proposed to his princess – but for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who were doing just that when the former got down on one knee, life in the public eye has been no fairy tale. On the contrary, their road to romance has been something of a humble one.

“[The proposal] was at our cottage,” said Harry. “It was a standard, typical night for us, and a nice moment, just the two of us. I think I managed to catch her by surprise as well. But she wouldn’t let me fi nish; there were hugs and I had the ring in my hand, and I was like, ‘Can I give you the ring now?’, and she said, ‘Oh yes, the ring!’”

The soon-to-be married couple, who will tie the knot on May 19 at Windsor Castle, likewise met under extraordinarily ordinary circumstances, when they were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Harry, who’d never heard of the now former Suits star, or the TV show that made her famous, was immediately bowled over by his future fiancée.

“I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her sitting there,” he’d recalled. “I was like, ‘Okay, well, I’m going to have to really up my game here, and sit down and make sure that I’ve got a good chat’.”

And while any relationship goes through ups and downs, theirs was  met with turbulence from the  get-go, when the press began  to report on their courtship  in October 2016. Meghan  faced sexism, racism and defamatory stories online, prompting the Royal Family to release an official statement addressing the ‘wave of abuse and harassment’ that she experienced.

“We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time,” Meghan claimed. “The only thing that changed were people’s perceptions, but nothing about me changed.”

But in the end, true love won the day, and the happy couple made their first public appearance at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September the following year.

“We’re in love,” Meghan had declared. “I’m sure that there will be a time when we’ll have to come forward, present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time.”

Two months later, Harry and Meghan were engaged, which again prompted much speculation surrounding the latter’s mixed-race heritage. The engagement ring, made by Cleave & Co, comprised three diamonds, two of which were taken from the jewellery collection of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, while the third was sourced from Botswana, where the pair travelled together.

“We had two dates in London [in July 2016], and it was I think about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana, and we camped out with each other under the stars,” recalled Harry. “She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”

Naturally, rumours and speculation have abounded ever since. Indeed, experts have predicted that the wedding will cost around £500,000, and despite Israeli fashion designer Inbal Dror being asked to submit designs for Meghan’s dress, the favourite potential dressmaker for bookies nationwide is currently British designer Stewart Parvin.

What is known is that, in preparation, Meghan was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England on March 6 2018 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. The bride-to-be also began the years-long process of becoming a British citizen, ahead of the ceremony at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel.

With the recent arrival of Will and Kate’s new baby boy last month, not to mention what was previously the wedding of the decade when the two exchanged their vows in 2011, it would be fair to say that Harry and Meghan have big shoes to fill in the public eye.

But as the world waits with baited breath for the big day, one thing that’s certain is that this is well and truly a love for the ages that’s built to last. And as Meghan takes her final steps into royalty, it may well be that hers and Harry’s is no ordinary love after all.

“I know that I’m in love with this girl, and I hope that she’s in love with me,” Harry considered. “But we still had to sit down on the sofa and have some pretty frank conversations and say, ‘What you’re letting yourself in for, it’s a big deal. It’s not easy for anybody’. I know that, at the end of the day, she chooses me, and I choose her. And therefore, whatever we have to tackle together, or individually, it’ll always be us together as a team.”