In their words: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reveal details of courtship
Published Monday, November 27, 2017 1:15PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 27, 2017 11:52PM EST
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed details about their first date, courtship, Harry’s proposal and their family and philanthropy plans in an intimate interview following their engagement on Monday.
The couple said they plan to start a family in the future, and that they were drawn to each other early on by a shared interest in charitable causes. “That’s what got date two,” Markle said, in the couple’s first sit-down interview on Monday with BBC.
Prince Harry proposed to Markle on a “cosy night” at their shared cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds earlier this month, the two revealed.
“I think I managed to catch her by surprise,” the prince told BBC.
“It was so sweet and natural and very romantic,” Markle added. “He got down on one knee.”
The two revealed that they started dating in July after they were set up on a “blind date” by a female friend.
“I’d never watched ‘Suits,’” Harry said of his thoughts before that first date. “I’d never heard of Meghan before.”
Markle said she only had a distant familiarity with the royals at the time, and had just one question before the date: “Is he nice?”
They said they hit it off and really got to know each other a few months later, when Harry invited Markle to visit Botswana with him.
“We camped out with each other under the stars,” Harry said.
CTVNews.ca has broken down other highlights from the interview below.
A low-key, long-distance courtship
Markle said the long-distance courtship was a challenge, as was the sudden media spotlight that came with publicly dating a prince. She says she tried to avoid the headlines, including criticism over her ethnicity.
“It’s a shame that that is the climate in this world, to focus that much on that,” Markle said. “At the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from.”
The two often found themselves on quiet, stay-at-home-type dates because of their desire to keep the relationship quiet. Harry said that likely contributed to how quickly they forged a bond with one another.
On the pressures of a royal role
Harry said he had to have a few “frank” conversations with Markle prior to their engagement, to make sure she understood the demands that come with being a member of the royal family.
“It’s a big deal and it’s not easy for anyone,” he said. The two say they plan to conquer the demands of the role together.
Markle said she’s met many members of the royal family, including the Queen, on multiple occasions. Harry said he’s met Markle’s mother, but has only spoken to her father on the phone.
How Markle’s ring pays tribute to Diana
The two also revealed details of Markle’s engagement ring: a yellow gold piece with a stone from Botswana in the centre, and side diamonds from the collection of Diana, the Princess of Wales.
“It’s beautiful, and he designed it,” Markle said. “It’s incredible.”
Harry said it was important for him to include the stones from his mother in the ring, “to make sure she’s with us on this incredible journey together.”
“She would be over the moon jumping up and down, so excited for me,” he said of his mother. “I’m sure she’s with us, jumping up and down somewhere else.”
He added that Diana and Markle would probably have been “thick as thieves, without question.”
Harry said: “It’s… days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news.”
Meeting the Queen and her corgis
Markle said it was “incredible” to have Harry introduce her to the Queen, “not just with his honour and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother.”
Harry said the Queen’s famous pack of corgis took to Markle “right away.”
“I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at,” he said. “This one walks in… absolutely nothing.”
Markle, who has two dogs of her own, says one is staying with a close friend and the other has joined her in the U.K.
Will and Kate
Harry said he kept his relationship with Markle very quiet, but eventually agreed to introduce her to his older brother, Prince William, and William’s wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.
“I literally didn’t tell anybody at all, and then William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine,” he said. Harry said it helped that he was “neighbours” with them at Kensington Palace, so he managed to arrange a few visits.
“She’s been wonderful,” Markle said of Kate.
Markle also met Prince Charles on a few occasions.
“The whole family have come together and have been a huge amount of support,” Harry said.