Prince Henry Charles Albert David, Duke of Sussex, known by his nickname Prince Harry (born 15 September 1984 in London, United Kingdom). Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, née Rachel Meghan Markle (born 4 August 1981 in Los Angeles, California). After stepping back from the royal family in 2020, Harry, Meghan and their son, Archie, relocated to North America to pursue independent projects and philanthropic work.
Meghan and Harry met in June 2016. Although they kept their relationship private for a few months, the press learned of it in the fall of 2016. From that point on, media interest was intense. Harry issued a statement in November confirming their relationship and criticizing the press for their intrusive behaviour, including attempts to illegally enter Meghan’s home in Toronto.
In 2017, Meghan and Harry made their first public appearance as a couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto. Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, also attended the games. After Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced on 27 November 2017, Meghan moved to the United Kingdom.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 May 2018. On their wedding day, Prince Harry received the titles of Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Harry’s brother, William, was his best man. The large wedding party included Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the two older children of William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Brian, John and Ivy Mulroney, three of the grandchildren of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. An estimated audience of more than two billion people around the world watched the wedding.
Harry and Meghan lived at Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace in London and immediately took up royal duties as a married couple. They soon moved to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor to prepare for the arrival of their first child. On 6 May 2019, Meghan gave birth to a boy, whom the couple named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. They chose not to use a title for their son.
Relationship with the Press
Harry and Meghan have had a turbulent relationship with the press, particularly the British tabloids, since making their relationship public. Some headlines, like the Daily Star Online, read: “Harry to marry into gangster royalty? New love from crime-ridden neighbourhood.” In November 2016, Harry released a statement addressing his concerns for Meghan’s safety and criticizing the tabloids for the racist and sexist undertones of their coverage on Meghan: “This is not a game — it is her life and his.”
Despite this warning, Meghan continued to receive excessive negative tabloid coverage. In October 2019, the couple filed lawsuits against the Mail and Associated Newspapers for the unlawful publication of a private letter between Meghan and her father, Thomas Markle. Harry issued another statement: “Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Harry and Meghan also filmed an ITV documentary titled Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which followed their 10-day tour of South Africa in the fall of 2019. When interviewed by presenter Tom Bradby, both opened up about their struggles with the press. Harry alludes to a rift with his brother, William, while Meghan reveals the toll of the media scrutiny during her pregnancy: “Not many people have asked if I’m OK.”
Stepping Back from the Royal Family
On 8 January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced via their Sussex Royal Instagram account that they would be stepping back as senior members of the royal family.
They hoped to “carve out a progressive new role” while working toward financial independence. They also intended to split their time between North America and the UK. An official announcement from Buckingham Palace followed on 18 January 2020 confirming that Harry and Meghan would no longer be working members of the royal family. Starting 31 March 2020, Harry and Meghan stopped receiving public funds for royal duties. They were also no longer permitted to use their “SussexRoyal” branding. In her statement, the Queen acknowledged “the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years” and offered her support in their wish for a more independent life.
Move to North America
After spending six weeks in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the end of 2019, Harry and Meghan paid a visit to Canada House in London to express their appreciation. This generated speculation that the couple intended to relocate to Canada. When they announced that they would be stepping back from the royal family, they agreed to split their time between North America and the UK during their transition. By mid-March 2020, the couple, along with their son, Archie, relocated from Canada to Los Angeles to be closer to Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.
Harry and Meghan have publicly supported several causes, including veteran affairs, women’s rights and mental health. Harry is the founder of the Invictus Games, a series of athletic competitions for wounded, injured and sick armed forces personnel from around the world. According to Meghan’s old lifestyle blog, The Tig, she was inspired by her mother to get involved in philanthropy at a young age.
In 2009, Harry established the Royal Foundation with his brother, William. The “Fab Four,” as the brothers and their wives were dubbed by the press, worked together on the Royal Foundation. However, in June 2019, Harry and Meghan announced that they would be splitting from the Royal Foundation. They hoped to launch the Sussex Royal Foundation, but after stepping back as senior royals, they were unable to use the term “Royal” in their branding. Their new organization, now called Archewell, will be a non-profit organization instead of a foundation. The launch of the organization has been postponed due to COVID-19, though Harry and Meghan have redirected their efforts to address the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. (See also Racism.)