Meghan Markle and Prince Harry harry and meghan The documentary began by revealing how they met via Instagram and went on their first two dates in London in July 2016. Its first episode went on to share when the two decided to seriously try dating long-distance (Meghan, acting in Suits at the time, he was based in Toronto, while Harry was obviously in London), how their third date, five days in Botswana, really went, and how they managed to keep things under wraps. That time frame spanned from the summer of 2016 to the end of October 2016, when the news of their relationship was broken by British tabloids.
Here, the series’ biggest revelations about their early days together in private along with the personal photos they shared on the show. You can watch the entire series here on Netflix.
Harry knew going in that he was asking a lot of any woman to date him after seeing what his mother, the late Princess Diana, endured, so he tried to keep things private between him and Meghan for as long as possible.
“My mom was bullied her whole life with my dad,” Harry recalled. “But after they broke up, the bullying reached new levels. By the time she got divorced, by the time she left the institution, she was alone. Yes, she may have been one of the most influential and powerful women in the world, but she was completely exposed to this. I saw things, I experienced things, I learned things. The pain and suffering of women who marry in this institution. I remember thinking, ‘How can I find someone who is willing and able to handle all the baggage that comes with being with me?’”
“Every relationship I had, in a matter of weeks or months, was peppered with all the newspapers and that person’s family being harassed and their lives turned upside down,” she continued. “So, you know, I mean, after one or two girlfriends, the third or fourth girlfriend will say, ‘Wait a second. I don’t know if I want this. So when I met M from her, he was terrified that the media would take him away from her. The same means that had driven so many other people away from me. I knew the only way this could work was to keep it quiet for as long as possible.”
Harry and Meghan often FaceTimed as a long-distance couple, with Meghan calling their early days a “treasure in store.” The series shares screenshots of some of their calls.
“At first, our relationship was a treasure trove,” he said. “It was long distance from the beginning. It was all just texts or FaceTimes and we would talk for hours. And she felt exciting, which was very strange because it wasn’t exciting in the way that I think people would assume it would be. It was just relaxed and easy. We just met, really, like any other couple. You’re finding out what you like to eat, what you like to cook, what kind of movies you like.”
“As I got to know Meghan more and more, I thought, ‘Now I’m really falling for this girl.’ So despite my own fear, I just opened my heart to see what was going to happen,” Harry added.
Here, the photos that the series shared from their chats:
Meghan and Harry shared what happened during their third date, a five-day trip to Botswana a month after they met in London.
“That summer, I was going to take a break from work, but I had travel plans and a co-star said to me, ‘Make sure you leave room for magic in your summer plans,’” Meghan recalled. “And then, as we were talking, ‘When are we going to meet next?’ He said: ‘I have to go to Africa to do conservation work.’ He said, ‘I have a week off.’ I was like, ‘I have a week off.’ It was the same week. So he said, ‘Do you want to come to Botswana?’ I said, ‘Let me think about it.’ And then I did.
“I was surprised that she said yes,” Harry admitted. “This woman I’ve only met twice, she’s coming to Botswana and we’re going to live in a tent for five days. Wow.”
Meghan said things were awkward at first, but it quickly became very natural.
“I am getting on the plane, and I am going to the middle of the mountain. What? What am I doing?” Meghan recalled her doubt. “Like, what if we don’t like each other and then we’re stuck in the middle of the bush in a tent?”
“So I got there, this is the first time I’ve seen him in a month,” he continued. “We were very awkward at first. Like, ‘Oh God. we kissed? We make …?’ And I just remember that he gave me a chicken sandwich.
“And then we jumped into a Land Cruiser and off we went,” Harry said. “At first, we were sitting next to each other and then we went into holding hands and then we kissed and in between banging, and then everything just felt totally normal and natural. We had to meet before the rest of the world and before the media joined in.”
The trip actually led Meghan to confide in Harry, which happened again when their relationship went public.
“It was so overwhelming to be out there in our little store and in the middle of the night, just to hear this crackle and see a shadow and go, what is that? It’s like an elephant chewing on leaves above the shade tent,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Are we safe? It’s okay?’ And he says, ‘We’re good. I promise I will keep you safe. And I believed him.
“You put a lot of faith and trust in me,” Harry said.
“I did,” Meghan replied.
“It felt so good and so normal,” Harry said.
“We could both be completely ourselves,” Meghan said. “There was no distraction. There was no cell phone reception. There is no mirror. There is no bathroom. There was no ‘How do I look?’ Fortunately, we really liked each other.”
Meghan says later in the documentary that she thought about her trip to Botswana when their relationship went public. “The next morning [when news of our relationship broke]It was so overwhelming,” Meghan admitted. “I said, ‘Okay, well, then I’ll treat it like we’re in the bush. Because like, everything is strange to me, but I trust you to keep me safe and help me get through it.”
The series shared a bunch of photos from that trip.
Here are a few:
Meghan and Harry had a two-week rule when dating, and Meghan would often travel to secretly see Harry in London.
Meghan made the rule, Harry revealed. “She had a two-week rule, which was very smart, that she said we had to see each other in or around two weeks,” he recalled. “I said, ‘How is that possible with the things I’m doing? I won’t be able to travel that far to see you.’”
“It was much easier for me to go see him in the UK. I could still get on a commercial flight and go see him under the radar,” Meghan said.
“Those first few months when no one knew, it made so much more sense for her to come to me. Then she could come and stay with me on the grounds of Kensington Palace,” Harry said. “Then we could get in the car. We could go to Windsor and take a walk through Frogmore and do all these things together so we can meet each other without someone taking your picture and then it becomes news.
“Everything had to be so secret, so it just speeds up their level of getting to know each other when they’re not out in the world courting. They are together,” Meghan added.
Meghan and Harry could date in private until the end of October 2016. The series would go on to address her life in prolific detail.
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the Senior Editor for News and Strategy at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions in Fashion Y Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running through Central Park, having people take #ootd photos of her, and exploring New York City.
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