It’s been nearly two years since the world tuned in to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot in a ceremony that would go down in history. But as the former actress walked down the aisle, no one could have predicted the chain of events that she would set in motion – nor, it seems, just how much of an effect she would end up having on the red-headed prince.
Yes, it’s safe to say that this was no ordinary wedding. After all, nearly 2 billion eyes were watching Harry on his big day – and one wrong move could have resulted in a scandal that would have been reported the world over. Plus, that morning, the groom – son of Charles, Prince of Wales – had been bestowed the prestigious title Duke of Sussex by the Queen.
But the stakes were arguably the highest for the bride. Meghan Markle, who walked so confidently down the aisle to become the wife of the British royal, was a controversial addition to the traditional workings of the British royal family for a number of reasons: she’s a former actress, for one thing, and of American birth. And the changes that she has affected in her husband since their nuptials have surprised even the most seasoned of onlookers.
Arthur Edwards – who has photographed the British royal family for over 40 years and is friends with Charles – spoke to Yahoo! News’ Royal Box in September 2018 about the matter. And in that interview, Edwards was candid about the transformation of Prince Harry since his marriage at St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Talking of Harry, he remarked, “I can see a massive change.”
But whether these changes are good or bad seems to be debatable. For instance, Edwards has known Harry for years and has certainly formed an opinion of the prince’s interactions with the press. The photographer said, “He would always have a good relationship with the media. He would always engage in some way… that’s completely stopped now.”
“[Harry is] just controlled,” Edwards continued in the Royal Box interview. “He seems to have matured into a senior statesman of the royal family now.” And the photographer, who has worked for British newspaper The Sun since 1977, has his own theories as to why this transformation has occurred.
In revealing his theory, Edwards referred to some of the more colorful events in Harry’s past. The photographer speculated, “Maybe he sees that the time for joshing with Usain Bolt or hugging the Jamaican prime minister or getting sprayed with paint in Barbados. Maybe it’s time to stop now.” Yet it is antics such as these that have helped Harry become one of the most popular members of the British royal family.
Yes, despite being forever under the watchful eye of a scrutinizing media, Harry had always seemed determined to carry on regardless – even if that meant causing a scandal. And his sometimes quirky behavior has raised more than a few eyebrows in the past. In fact, it’s hard to say whether Harry’s controversial antics endeared him to the British public and beyond – or simply angered people.
For example, back in 2005 Harry attended a fancy dress birthday party – which in itself is not an unusual thing for a young university student to do. As his costume, however, the prince had chosen a Nazi uniform, complete with a swastika armband. A picture of the event subsequently splashed over newspaper front pages all across Britain, and it led to widespread condemnation.
In a prepared statement, Harry later expressed regret for his poor choice of dress. He said, “I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume, and I apologize.” But this wasn’t the only time that Harry rubbed people up the wrong way.
After graduating, the prince served in the British Army for ten years and saw active service in Afghanistan. But while in the army, Harry caused another head-turning controversy. This time, you see, Harry had made a home video during his time at the military academy of Sandhurst. And in that video – recorded in 2006 but only seen publicly three years later – Harry is heard using derogatory racial slurs. Unsurprisingly, then, St James’ Palace swiftly made an apology on behalf of the prince.
“Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term can be and is extremely sorry for any offense his words might cause,” the statement said. “However, on this occasion three years ago, [he] used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon. There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend.”
Harry has been caught in a number of other controversies as well – though many of these have been relatively typical behaviors for many young people. For example, when the prince was just 16, he allegedly confessed to smoking marijuana. This news was not, of course, met with much praise.
In fact, Prince Charles reacted to Harry’s apparent weed smoking by insisting that he attend a residential drug center that the former had actually opened himself in 1998. The trip was reportedly intended as a warning to his son about the dangers of drug use – and it seems to have done the trick.
But in addition to his apparent forays with marijuana, Harry has also partaken in some questionable antics while under the influence of alcohol. For example, in 2011 the prince was photographed jumping into a swimming pool while fully clothed at a nightclub in Croatia.
And just one year later photos emerged of the prince once again vigorously enjoying the nightlife. This time, though, Harry was taking on Las Vegas. TMZ even released pictures purportedly showing Harry naked – allegedly after an enthusiastic game of strip billiards with friends.
Then there was the time that Harry was alleged to have snorted vodka in Namibia. He has also had run-ins with photographers – one of which ended in minor injuries for both the prince and the photographer in question. The altercation apparently took place outside a London nightclub after the prince’s face was hit with a camera.
In terms of love interests, too, Harry has had a few before meeting Meghan. Most significantly, the prince dated Zimbabwean businesswoman Chelsy Davy for five years in what was described by the media as a “turbulent” relationship. Yet Davy did ultimately attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding, so things must have at least ended amicably. The prince also dated model and actor Cressida Bonas for some time, and the pair remained friends after the breakup too.
Suffice to say, then, Harry certainly cultivated a different image to that of his older brother, William, who is second in line to the British throne. Because the latter is, after all, generally known to be somewhat conservative and traditional in nature. But Harry was different – and much of the public, as well as his friends and colleagues, loved him for it.
So are things different now that Harry is married? Well, according to The Sun, an unnamed pal was somewhat scornful upon receiving the news that Harry is now apparently fond of pedicures. The friend reportedly told the newspaper in August 2019, “Harry used to be a proper bloke – dodgy dress sense, liked a drink and didn’t care how he looked. In his army days, he would have laughed if someone had offered him a pedicure. Now he’s pontificating about saving the world and doesn’t smoke or drink.”
And the unnamed friend is apparently not alone in his assertions that Harry is a changed man. Duncan Larcombe, a royal expert, told Fabulous Digital that he sees a very different prince now as well. He said, “[Harry’s] on a different planet from the [prince] we’ve seen develop from a teen to an adult to an army officer to the most popular member of the royal family. It’s worlds away from how Harry has been for his life.”
Larcombe also believes the general public are struggling to come to terms with this “new” Harry. “[He] is saying all the right things but saying them in a way that is so un-Harry, that perhaps people who have identified with him for years are thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ ‘What’s gotten into [him]?’”
Photographer Arthur Edwards has also noted the changes in Harry since the prince married Meghan Markle. He told The Royal Box, as mentioned earlier, “I can see a massive change. He’s become more aloof. [Harry] would always have a good relationship with the media. He would always engage in some way… that’s completely stopped now.”
Edwards further suggested that Harry’s changing character is partly a result of his new role as a husband. But there are extenuating circumstances elsewhere too. And most of those could concern the pressure that Meghan has evidently been under from the British press since her romance with Harry began.
So who is Meghan Markle? Well, Meghan was born Rachel Meghan Markle in August 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, who used to be a social worker, and her father, who has retired from his role in television, divorced when Meghan was six. Meghan is also divorced herself and is of mixed race heritage. It is certainly not the usual background of someone who marries into the British royal family, then.
Some royal fans have even made comparisons with one of the most controversial marriages to have ever taken place within the British royal family: the union of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. In that case, though, Edward was forced to abdicate the throne before he was able to marry his love, who at the time was seeking a divorce from her second husband. And Wallis, like Meghan, was also American.
Of course, the parallels between Meghan and Wallis are from far consistent. For one thing, the latter was due to marry the king, and Edward abdicated before the union was made official. And as sixth in line to the throne, Harry is unlikely to become monarch. Yet his slightly unconventional choice of bride is perhaps relevant. So let’s return to Harry and Meghan’s troubles with the British media – and the prince’s evident concerns that it has treated his wife badly.
Is Meghan’s alleged bad treatment by the press the reason why Harry’s demeanor has changed since his marriage? Well, we can’t be 100 percent sure – but some of the couple’s actions speak volumes. In an almost unprecedented step, for instance, the pair have sought to face down what they see as the bullying of Meghan by some aspects of the British media.
Harry made his feelings clear in an October 2019 statement that was released through their official website. It said, “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people.”
“We all know this isn’t acceptable – at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this,” the statement continued. Harry did then acknowledge that he had the utmost respect for “objective, truthful reporting.” But in a startling turn, the prince drew comparisons between the treatment of his wife and that of his mother – the late Princess Diana.
“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one… I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” the statement added. This was a stinging rebuke by Harry, and it clearly set out how he felt his mother had been treated.
The end of the statement released on the website was possibly the most powerful indication of Harry’s feelings. The prince concluded, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Meghan and Harry are also suing British newspaper The Mail on Sunday after it published a private letter that Meghan had handwritten to her father. Clearly, then, the couple are deeply frustrated with the way they perceive that Meghan is being targeted by certain elements of the British press.
And Harry’s reference to his mother in the above statement is telling. Of course, Diana tragically died in a car accident in August 1997 while trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris, France. The death of his mother greatly affected the prince, too, and he later revealed that he had received counselling as a result.
But has Harry really changed since marrying Meghan? Certainly, he wouldn’t be the first man to adapt his ways after tying the knot. But according to journalist Duncan Larcombe, there does seem to have been some noticeable transformations in the way Harry behaves. He told Grazia that “within the inner circle, there’s been a change in Harry.” According to Larcombe, then, the prince “is much more demanding of the staff around him than perhaps he was when he was young, free and single.”
But could it all just be a case of a new husband putting his wife first? Well, an unnamed source, quoted in Grazia, apparently gave this very opinion. They reportedly told the magazine, “Harry is under intense pressure and is completely focused on ensuring Meghan is happy and feels welcomed into the family.”
It also seems that Harry is picking through the lessons of his former dalliances and the attention they had received. The unnamed person supposedly continued, “Previous relationships have ended because of the major scrutiny that comes with dating a member of the royal family. When Harry met Meghan, he knew something had to change and became incredibly protective.”
And there have been other major developments for Meghan and Harry too. In May 2019, for instance, the duchess gave birth to a baby boy, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. So not only is Harry a recent newlywed, he is now also a new father. Is it therefore really any wonder that these newfound responsibilities have forced the prince to settle down?
For his part, Arthur Edwards concurred with those sources who suggest that Harry sees the need to safeguard his wife and mother of his baby son. He told The Royal Box, “Now that [Harry is] married, he’s very protective of Meghan. He’s changed a bit, yeah. I mean, he’s still Harry, and he’s still lovely, and he’s still the most popular member of the royal family.”
Edwards ended the interview by asserting that he is convinced that Meghan and Harry’s relationship is an enduring one. He concluded, “[Harry] is very loved-up, and he’s very much prepared to show it to everybody: this is the woman I love, and this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
Yet what of Harry’s brother, William, and his relationship? Well, Kate Middleton and Prince William have now been husband and wife for the best part of a decade and have three children. However, people have noticed that ever since Harry got married himself, things seem to have changed between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But why?
Before eventually tying the knot, Kate and William went through several ups and downs during their relationship. They first met in 2001 while studying at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Reportedly, William was first attracted to Kate when he saw her on the catwalk at a fashion show held for charity.
And while Kate had been friends with William at the time, their relationship is said to have merely been platonic. However, when the future duchess wore a daring, completely sheer dress that showed off her underwear on the catwalk, William was apparently awestruck. According to Vanity Fair, the prince was even compelled to say to a friend, “Kate’s hot!”
In fact, an anonymous insider interviewed for Katie Nicholl’s 2010 book William and Harry suggested that the catwalk moment changed everything for William and Kate. As reported by Nicholl, that individual claimed, “It was clear to us that William was smitten with Kate. He actually told her she was a knockout that night, which caused her to blush. There was definitely chemistry between them, and Kate had really made an impression on William.”
The source added, “[Kate] played it very cool, and at one point when William seemed to lean in to kiss her, she pulled away. She didn’t want to give off the wrong impression or make it too easy for Will.” If royal reporters had been around at that moment, who knows what they would have made of that?
Kate and William subsequently began dating, but it wasn’t always easy to avoid press intrusion. In order to keep their relationship secret, then, the couple reportedly left the house they shared with classmates at separate times. The pair were also careful about holding hands – especially when members of the public could see.
But, eventually, the news got out. There was a lot of media attention surrounding Kate – so much so, in fact, that she had to file a complaint via her lawyers. And as a result, she and William split up in 2007, although they got back together again soon afterwards. Fortunately, it seemed that nothing could keep them apart for too long.
And Kate and William duly announced their engagement in November 2010, with the prince having proposed in private the month before. The pair smiled in the official photographs to mark the occasion, too, even if the snaps were still quite formal and sedate. One image, however, seemed to throw off all the royal trappings and show Kate and William for what they were: a young couple in love.
In 2014 Mario Testino – the man who took the official engagement photos – told The Daily Telegraph that he hadn’t been “totally satisfied” with the pictures at first. His mind was somewhat changed, though, when he captured one touching moment between the royal couple. Testino explained, “when I’d finished the shoot, [Kate and William] were about to leave, and they suddenly hugged in front of a radiator. It was spontaneous emotion. You could see they were completely in love.”
Finally, ten years after they had first met, William and Kate were married in Westminster Abbey. It was a momentous occasion – one watched by millions of people around the planet. And while appearing on the balcony to wave to the gathered crowd, William gave a quick smooch to his new wife. Then, after onlookers shouted “Kiss her again” to the prince, he gamely complied.
Typically, royals don’t get overly passionate even at a wedding – and certainly not in the church. Before William and Kate’s marriage, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster, told Yahoo News, “There will be no kiss during the wedding ceremony. We don’t do that in the Church of England. That’s sort of a Hollywood thing, ‘You may now kiss the bride.’ It doesn’t happen here.”
Nevertheless, in the run-up to the wedding, a number of newspapers reported that William and Kate had practiced their balcony kiss in advance. In an entirely unromantic move, the lip-lock was even apparently scheduled into proceedings. The second kiss on the day, however, appeared to be much more of a spur-of-the-moment thing.
And after the wedding, William and Kate settled into married life. They also started a family, with their first child Prince George coming along in 2013. But there was no kiss on the steps of the hospital when the two showed off their new arrival, even though they were most likely thrilled. Instead, they simply held George and smiled for the cameras. What’s more, royal watchers observed that as close as the couple seemed to be, they rarely showed it in public. Yet, as it turned out, there was a good reason for the royals’ restraint.
William and Kate chose not to show affection in public for one simple reason: they were at work. Just as a married couple may decide not to hold hands around the office, Kate and William didn’t do so when the cameras were on, either. After all, even when celebrating the birth of a new baby, they were representing the entire monarchy.
“The duke and duchess are almost always seen in photographs taken during official engagements, so they are at ‘work,’ and it would be unprofessional to hold hands,” HELLO!’s royal correspondent Emily Nash told the magazine in 2017. “They also need to shake hands with a huge number of people as they meet them, so aside from being on duty, it wouldn’t be very practical!”
“We know [the duke and duchess] are very affectionate and that sometimes comes across during more lighthearted moments, at sporting events or similar, but you wouldn’t expect them to put that on show while in more formal situations,” Nash went on. However, in 2017 that royal rule was suddenly broken. Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan, you see, were happy to show PDA (Public Displays of Affection).
Harry and Meghan have been photographed holding hands many times, in fact, and they even shared a pretty intense-looking kiss during a charity polo match in July 2018. It was all quite unexpected, but the media loved it. “Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representatives of the royal family,” specialist in royal etiquette Myka Meier told People magazine in 2017.
Meier added that generally public affection is “simply a matter of preference for each couple and is also likely dependent on the nature of the event.” Though older royals like Charles and Camilla have sometimes been seen holding hands, “a more serious engagement would warrant a more serious level of professionalism, which each royal is sure to follow.”
It’s worth noting, of course, that said professionalism used to be somewhat austere. In a 2017 biography called Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, author Sally Bedell-Smith considered the affection – or lack of – that the Queen and Prince Philip have historically shown each other when in the public eye. She wrote, “In the manner of the upper class, neither of them were physically demonstrative.”
However, Kate and William surprised fans in October 2018 with some PDA of their own. Kate had recently returned from maternity leave after giving birth to Prince Louis and was accompanying Prince William to London’s Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. And during the event, William was spotted putting his hand on his wife’s back and later on her leg – a rare occurrence indeed for the royal couple.
But that wasn’t all. A few days after the summit, Kate and William attended the wedding of Princess Eugenie, and again they seemed to be getting much closer than normal. Reporter Kirsten Aiken wrote on Twitter, “Commentary team oohs and aahs over an apparently rare PDA by William and Kate (mind you, they’re only holding hands!).”
Judi James, a body language interpreter, also had something to say about Kate and William’s behavior. “They managed to outdo Harry and Meghan here,” she told newspaper the Daily Mirror. “Kate reached across to place a hand on the arm of her husband’s chair, and he put his own hand over it in a very romantic gesture.”
And James analysed the body language on display at the summit too. “Kate seems to have increased in confidence here at their first public outing together since the birth, and William is unusually tactile, flashing some sweet “pinging” smiles at his wife to suggest he’s incredibly pleased to have her back at his side,” she said to another newspaper, the Daily Express.
But what could have triggered this change in the duke and duchess’ public relationship? Well, James suggested to the Daily Mirror that it may have been “prompted by the very tactile displays from Harry and Meghan.” Some royal watchers even thought that they may have been subtly trying to one-up them. A tweet after Princess Eugenie’s wedding, for instance, claimed that William and Kate were aiming to “upstage” the newer couple at the event.
There have been rumors of bad blood between the royals, too. In 2018, for instance, gossip magazines reported that Meghan and Kate had squabbled before the former actress’ wedding to Harry. According to anonymous sources, the origin of the conflict was Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress; the disagreement, it’s said, also left Kate in tears.
And Kate and Meghan’s alleged feud continued to make headlines. In November 2018, in fact, it was reported that Harry and Meghan were moving out of Kensington Palace – and thus away from William and Kate. An anonymous source further claimed to the Daily Mail that a rift between the royal women was the cause of said relocation.
Furthermore, the supposed “close friend of the Cambridges” told the publication that the two duchesses don’t see eye to eye. “Kate and Meghan are very different people,” they claimed. “They don’t really get on.” That same month, though, another source suggested to The Sun that the problem didn’t in fact lie with the royal wives; instead, it was actually William and Harry who were fighting.
Then in April 2019 Metro spoke to a body language specialist about one of William and Harry’s most recent public appearances. On that occasion, both princes had attended an engagement with environmentalist Sir David Attenborough – but although they had arrived in the same car, they’d immediately parted ways afterwards.
With that in mind, Peter Clayton told Metro, “Normally when they arrive at an event, the brothers always walk together – even if it is behind their father. When they greet the organizers or supporters, they usually have a small laugh to ensure they approach the line smiling and looking jolly. But the behavior is now very different.”
Clayton continued, “If you didn’t see [William and Harry] step out of the car together, you would think they had arrived in separate cars – such is the distance between them. There isn’t any attempt to look at each other, and they appear to be intent on maintaining that distance.” Nevertheless, the body language guru added, “Whatever has happened, I hope they can put it behind them quickly, because I have always really admitted how the two princes have always stuck together and been such good friends.”
Regardless of such reports, however, only a few really know how the royals interact with one another behind closed doors. After all, that’s generally not the sort of information that Kensington Palace tends to release to the public. As a result, then, many perceptions of the Windsor clan come from – that’s right – their public displays of affection and their general body language towards one another.
Let’s take a look at this body language, then. For instance, when Kate and Meghan got together for Christmas 2018 with the rest of the royals, they appeared to be happy and smiling. But were they just hiding a dislike of each other for the cameras? Well, body language specialists thought not. “See how they’re laughing [and] how they’re all walking in sync?” expert Patti Wood told Marie Claire. “It’s really difficult to do that if you really, really don’t like somebody.”
Even the ways in which royals use their accessories apparently hold some significance. Take Kate as she appears in this photograph, for example. Here, she isn’t seen holding hands with William; instead, she is positioning her clutch bag between herself and her husband. But according to experts, this is actually a good sign when it comes to Meghan, who is walking on Kate’s other side. You see, it means that there is nothing coming between the sisters-in-law – in both a metaphorical and a physical sense.
“Kate has her purse in between her and Will,” Wood told Marie Claire. “I don’t typically like that, but I think because of the controversy in the media around her relationship with Meghan, she might just be making an effort to make sure that [the] relationship looks good and there’s no blocking or barrier between them.”
Yet rumors of a feud between Kate and Meghan persisted into 2019. Perhaps, then, this continued speculation drew none other than Sarah Ferguson to comment on the situation in February of that year. And in doing so, the Duchess of York – who was once set in competition against Princess Diana – drew attention to the often coarse nature of internet speculation. “It seems,” she wrote in an open letter for Hello magazine, “that online, anything goes.”
“Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with [one another] in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt,” Ferguson went on. “People feel licensed to say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face. And that encourages others to pile in.”
It’s worth noting, too, that if there really is tension between Meghan and Kate – or between Harry and William for that matter – there has nevertheless been no concrete evidence of this as yet. There’s also no legitimate indication that anyone wants to upstage the other members of the family. Plus, if public displays of affection are an issue, then Charles and Camilla ought to be taken into consideration. In a photoshoot for the December 2018 issue of Vanity Fair, for example, Camilla is seen pictured with a hand on her husband’s leg.
What’s more, some royal commentators believe that Charles and Camilla may tweak the rules a little when Charles ascends to the throne. “Times have changed,” biographer Penny Junor told Good Housekeeping in 2018. “Charles is still so besotted with Camilla – even after all these years – that it would be hard for him not to show his natural affection.”
Still, Harry and Meghan are certainly the royal couple who seem the most comfortable with displaying affection in public. And things were no different during their recent Australasian royal tour. Indeed, Harry often held the hand of his pregnant wife while the pair were out and about. And even while clapping politely at events, Meghan had her arm wrapped around Harry’s.
Some people, however, even complained about the amount of personal contact between Harry and Meghan, reported The Sun newspaper. Apparently, for instance, a user of website Mumsnet said, “For the love of God, could they stop holding hands? They’re not on a date, they’re carrying out official business!”
Meanwhile, James suggested that William and Kate may also have grown closer due to the birth of Prince Louis. “Their smiles together have changed, and their affection and love signals are much more intense and open than ever before, suggesting the birth of their third child has somehow thrown them back into the honeymoon stage,” she told the Daily Express.
And they’re not the only ones, it seems. Harry and Meghan appear to be deliriously in love at every public appearance too. During their royal tour, they even ventured out alone while in New Zealand’s Whakarewarewa Forest for a private moment. There, Harry took a beautiful photograph of pregnant Meghan clutching her belly.
But although Kate and William are less demonstrative with their feelings, they still clearly adore each other. And a lack of regular PDA doesn’t definitively speak to what goes on behind closed doors. Besides, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are almost never seen touching, and they’ve been together for over 70 years!