The Biggest Bombshells We Learned from Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare'

Following the release of their Netflix docuseries, this tell-all book reveals even more details about the couple's private struggles.
prince harry meghan markle at the wedding reception
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on features, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jan 10, 2023
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There's so much more to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's marriage than meets the eye. Amid the December 2022 release of their Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, along with Prince Harry's book Spare in January 2023, the couple's love story is once again in the spotlight. Since their 2018 royal wedding, they have officially stepped back from official royal duties. Harry and Meghan reside in California and have been busy with their various endeavors, including their nonprofit organization Archewell, Meghan's Spotify podcast, their partnership with Netflix, and, of course, parenting their two kids. Here, we look inside Prince Harry and Meghan's marriage, including their early beginnings, how they built their strong relationship foundation, and their plans for the future—as well as the biggest bombshells we learned from their Netflix series and the Duke's memoir.

In this article:

The Biggest Takeaways From Prince Harry's Book Spare

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images

Before Prince Harry's book Spare was released on January 10, leaks of its seemingly salacious content dominated the headlines. From divulging personal text messages to calling his brother's hair loss "alarming," Prince Harry appeared to bare everything in his highly-anticipated memoir—and there's no denying that Spare pulls back the curtain on the British royal family unlike any other interview or documentary has before. Here are five of the biggest takeaways we learned from Prince Harry's memoir Spare.

Harry and William Got in a Physical Fight Over Meghan

The first—and most explosive—detail to be leaked from Prince Harry's book Spare was that he and Prince William got in a physical fight over Meghan Markle. Harry said the altercation, which happened in 2019, took place over "issues which were based not on reality."

In a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper ahead of the book's release, the Duke of Sussex stated that the fight began on the grounds of Kensington Palace when Prince William brought up Harry's relationship with Meghan. "It was a buildup of frustration, I think, on his part," Prince Harry said. "It was at a time where he was being told certain things by people within his office. And at the same time, he was consuming a lot of the tabloid press, a lot of the stories. And he had a few issues which were based not on reality. And I was defending my wife. And he was coming for my wife. She wasn't there at the time but through the things that he was saying, I was defending myself."

He added, "We moved from one room into the kitchen. And his frustrations were growing and growing and growing. He was shouting at me. I was shouting back at him. It wasn't nice. It wasn't pleasant at all. And he snapped. And he pushed me to the floor." Harry claims he landed on a dog bowl and sustained scrapes and bruises on his back.

While Prince Harry didn't reveal the contents of the argument on 60 Minutes, he wrote in his book that William called Meghan "difficult," "rude," and "abrasive." At first, he didn't tell Meghan about the incident until she noticed the evidence on his body. In another interview with ITV's Tom Bradby, Harry said, "I talk about the red mist that I had for so many years. I saw this red mist in him—he wanted me to hit him back but I chose not to." He confirmed to Cooper that William did eventually apologize for the "nasty experience."

Harry Revealed Meghan and Kate's Text Messages About Charlotte's Bridesmaid Dress

Perhaps one of the biggest tabloid stories to come from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in 2018 was that the bride reportedly made Kate Middleton cry over bridesmaid dresses. But during the couple's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, they revealed that it was actually Kate who made Meghan cry. In Spare, Prince Harry details the exact text messages that were shared during the tense exchange, which stemmed from Princess Charlotte's dress fitting incorrectly.

"Charlotte's dress is too big, too long, too baggy," Kate allegedly texted Meghan. "She cried when she tried it on at home." Meghan responded, "Right, and I told you the tailor has been standing by since 8am. Here. At KP. Can you take Charlotte to have it altered, as the other mums are doing?" Prince Harry says that Kate didn't agree to the alterations, and instead requested that "all the dresses be remade"—an idea she discussed with her own wedding dress designer, who agreed. "Meg asked if Kate was aware of what was going on right now. With her father," Harry wrote. "Kate said she was well aware, but the dresses. And the wedding is in four days!" He added that Kate "had problems with the way Meg was planning her wedding. Something about a party for the page boys? It went back and forth."

The exchange concluded with Meghan replying, "I'm not sure what else to say. If the dress doesn't fit then please take Charlotte to see Ajay. He's been waiting all day." Kate responded with a cool, "Fine." Harry recalled that he came home to see Meghan "sobbing on the floor" over the conversation.

Harry and William "Begged" Charles Not to Marry Camilla

Camilla Parker-Bowles' relationship with the royal family has been tumultuous. Originally known as the "third person" in Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage, she had an affair with the future king while he was still betrothed. Following Princess Diana's tragic death in 1997, Charles and Camilla rekindled their love, despite the controversy surrounding them—and they faced an uphill battle to win over the approval of the press, the British people, and even the royal family.

Prince Harry opened up about this complicated dynamic in Spare, writing, "When asked, Willy and I promised Pa that we'd welcome Camilla into the family. The only thing we asked in return was that he not marry her. You don't need to remarry, we pleaded…We support you, we said. We endorse Camilla, we said. Just please don't marry her." Charles ultimately didn't listen to the requests of his sons. The couple got engaged in February 2005 and were married just two months later on February 9.

William Didn't Want Harry to Be the Best Man at His 2011 Wedding

In Spare, Prince Harry also sheds new light on Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding. The couple got married at Westminster Abbey in 2011, and, according to Prince Harry, the palace openly lied about the nuptials. "The public had been told that I was to be best man, but that was a bare-faced lie," Harry reminisced, noting that his brother was not in favor of giving him that esteemed role. "Willy didn't want me giving a best-man speech. He didn't think it was safe to hand me a live mic and put me in a position to go off-script. He wasn't wrong." Ever the mischievous younger brother, he did manage to surprise William by presenting the newlyweds with a thong made of ermine fur at the reception. "The room let out a collective gasp," he recalled, followed by "a warm, gratifying wave of laughter."

Charles Said He Couldn't Financially Support Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry was met with a less-than-warm response from his father when he announced his intention to marry Meghan Markle. The author recounted a shocking conversation he had with King Charles after sharing his desire to propose, which revolved around finances:

Prince Charles: "Does she want to carry on working?"

Prince Harry: "Say again?"

PC: "Does she want to keep on acting?"

PH: "Oh, I mean, I don't know, I wouldn't think so. I expect she'll want to be with me, doing the job, you know, which would rule out Suits…since they film in…Toronto."

PC: "Hmm, I see. Well, darling boy, you know there's not enough money to go around."

PH: I stared. What was he banging on about?

PC: He explained. Or tried to. "I can't pay for anyone else. I'm already having to pay for your brother and Catherine."

Harry continued, "Pa didn't financially support Willy and me, and our families, out of any largesse. That was his job. That was the whole deal. We agreed to serve the monarch, go wherever we were sent, do whatever we were told, surrender our autonomy, keep our hands and feet in the gilded cage at all times, and in exchange the keepers of the cage agreed to feed and clothe us."

He speculated that this decision wasn't actually about money. "Pa might have dreaded the rising cost of maintaining us, but what he really couldn't stomach was someone new dominating the monarchy, grabbing the limelight, someone shiny and new coming in and overshadowing him."

What We Learned About Prince Harry and Meghan from Their Netflix Docuseries

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan, dropped in two parts on December 8 and December 15, 2022. This highly-anticipated series was the first of its kind, offering an unprecedented look into the marriage of one of the world's most highly-recognized couples—and one of the most private families. It's for this reason that its launch was somewhat polarizing, both among US and UK audiences. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very divisive figures in the UK," says Zoë Burke, Editor of The Knot's sister site Hitched. "People feel very protective of the royal family in the UK, and I think emotions are still running high after the loss of the Queen earlier this year. We see a very carefully crafted image of the royals, despite feeling like they are quite public and accessible. They famously 'never react' to the media, so to see a member of the family do it so boldly does seem jarring."

Below, we highlight the biggest learnings from Prince Harry and Meghan's documentary, available to stream now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Met Through Instagram

For years, it was believed that Prince Harry and Meghan met through a mutual friend—but in the first episode of their Netflix documentary, viewers learned that Instagram was the platform responsible for bringing the two together. Prince Harry revealed that he saw a photo of Meghan on a mutual friend's post… and she was using the Snapchat dog filter. "I was scrolling through my feed and one of my friends had this video of the two of them, like a Snapchat," Harry revealed. "I was like, 'Who is THAT?!'" The unnamed friend connected the two, they had their first date on July 3, 2016, and the rest is history.

Their Wedding Morning Was Calm—But the After-Party Wasn't

Quite a few insider details have been released about Prince Harry and Meghan's 2018 wedding, but their docuseries pulled back the curtain once again, revealing even more memories from that special day. "Their wedding felt different to the other royal weddings we've seen in the UK, particularly because so many people felt such a tenderness towards Harry," Burke tells us. "We also can't overlook the historical significance. This was a British Prince, marrying a divorced, biracial, American actress who had her own prominent career and path. It was groundbreaking."

Prince Harry and Meghan dancing at their reception
Netflix

In the fourth episode, Meghan spoke about how calm the morning was, despite 115,000 fans lining the streets of Windsor and millions of eyes watching around the world. "All I wanted was a mimosa, a croissant and to play the song 'Going to the Chapel,'" she reminisced. "And that's what I did. And it was great."

Prince Harry and Meghan's first dance
Netflix

Following the ceremony, the couple and their guests enjoyed a raucous evening of performances by Elton John and Idris Elba, as well as plenty of dancing. Meghan explained how important it was to her that the music felt "fun," and ultimately shared that their first dance song was set to "Land of a Thousand Dances," rather than a Whitney Houston tune as was speculated. "It was so great," Meghan said as never-before-seen wedding photos played out on the screen, depicting fireworks displays and the couple dancing wildly with their guests.

Prince Harry and Meghan with Elton John at their wedding
Netflix

This rare peek inside the celebration, Burke tells us, was a unique moment of vulnerability for the royal family. "I hope seeing more of their wedding will remind people of the magic that first captivated us all. One of the most refreshing things for me about this docuseries has been seeing how genuinely in love they are, and how they seem to feel so lucky to have each other," she reflects. "We might not have got the photo ops or the immediate information we've grown to expect from other royal couples, but Harry and Meghan are actually giving us something even more special, by allowing us to really witness their love."

They Condemn the Media For the "Unraveling" That Ensued In 2019

Following their wedding, public opinion of Prince Harry and Meghan was overwhelmingly positive. That was, until, the couple announced their pregnancy ahead of an Australian tour in 2019. Amid their skyrocketing popularity, internal strife within the firm threatened Prince Harry and Meghan's future in the family. "I think Australia was a real turning point because they were so popular, so popular with the public," the couple's friend Lucy Fraser said in the documentary. "The internals at the palace were incredibly threatened by that." Added Prince Harry: "The issue is when someone is marrying in who should be a supporting act, is then stealing the limelight or doing the job better than the person who was born to do this, that upsets people. It shifts the balance."

Thus, the press frenzy began. Tabloids began publishing demeaning stories about Meghan, covering their front page with racist headlines, and accusing her of "diva" behavior." They even criticized Meghan for doing things Kate was once praised for, such as cradling her baby bump and eating avocados. During one episode, Prince Harry provided more context on the relationship between the firm and the UK tabloids, indicating that his wife was being used as a scapegoat to protect other members of the family. "My dad said, 'My darling boy, you can't take on the media. It's the media.' I said I fundamentally disagree… It's a dirty game. There's leaking but also planting of stories. If the comms team wants to remove a negative story about their principle, they will trade and give you something else about someone else's principle. The officers work against each other." Meghan elaborated, saying, "I wasn't just being thrown to the wolves, I was being fed to the wolves."

The media war hit a fever pitch when The Daily Mail illegally published a private letter Meghan sent to her father, asking him to stop interacting with the press. The Mail strategically redacted certain parts of the letter to paint a negative image of Meghan. This was, ultimately, the catalyst that caused Prince Harry and Meghan to step back from their royal duties. "That litigation was the cause for all the unraveling," Meghan said.

The Couple's Last Royal Engagement Was "Cold"

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Commonwealth Day 2020
Phil Harris - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The couple's decision to step back from the royal family was met with shock and outrage, both internally and publicly. After a tense meeting with Prince William, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth, known as the "Sandringham Summit," it was decided that Prince Harry and Meghan would completely step back from royal duties, rather than take on a part-time role like they first requested.

The couple's final three public royal engagements were unforgettable. In a departure from her typical neutral style, Meghan opted for colorful outfits in poignant shades of blue, red and green. Despite the couple's excitement for their new chapter, their final appearance—at the Commonwealth Day service in 2020—was met with stoicism. "It's like living in a soap opera, where everyone else views you as entertainment," Prince Harry said of the event, where there was visible tension among him, his brother and his father. "I felt really distant from my family, which is interesting because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like rather than what it feels like. And it looked cold, but it also felt cold."

Diana Inspired Them to Keep Fighting the Press

After stepping back from royal duties and relocating to Vancouver Island, the escalating tabloid war threatened Prince Harry and Meghan's physical safety, as well as their mental health. Rather than giving up their fight and succumbing to the intense pressures of the media, Prince Harry revealed that his late mother inspired the couple to keep fighting in favor of the truth. "The press, they will never settle. They will always push because they will use a privacy litigation to further invade your privacy like they did with my wife," he expressed. "But my mum always said, 'If they're writing crap about you in the tabloids, then you're probably doing the right thing.' So I've always felt as though this was a fight worth fighting for."

Prince Harry Faults The Mail for Meghan's Miscarriage

After the couple's son, Archie, was born, the palace removed the security detail that was protecting the small family of three in Canada. To prioritize their safety, the couple relocated to California in early 2020, where actor Tyler Perry allowed them to stay on his property as they looked for a safe, undisclosed spot to put down their roots. But the ongoing fight against The Mail took a toll on the couple's health. The effects were so brutal that Prince Harry shockingly revealed he faults The Mail for Meghan's miscarriage, which she suffered on the first morning at their new home in 2020.

"I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what The Mail did," Prince Harry said. "I watched the whole thing. Now, do we absolutely know that the miscarriage was created, caused by that? 'Course we don't. But bearing in mind the stress that that caused, the lack of sleep, the timing of the pregnancy, how many weeks in she was, I can say, from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her."

Prince Harry Doesn't Foresee "Accountability" From His Family

As Meghan and Prince Harry settled into their California lifestyle, they were rocked by another tragedy: the death of Prince Philip. At the time, Meghan was pregnant with their daughter Lilibet and was advised not to travel to the funeral services. Prince Harry went alone and opened up about the experience of seeing his brother and his father for the first time since their public fallout. "It was hard, especially spending time, having chats with my brother and my father who just, you know, were very much focused on the same misrepresentation of the whole situation," Prince Harry said. "So, neither of us really wanted to have to talk about it at my grandfather's funeral but we did. I've had to make peace with the fact that we're probably never gonna get genuine accountability or a genuine apology. My wife and I are moving on. We're focused on what's coming next."

This sharp revelation may be a tough realization for royal watchers who were hoping for a future rekindling. "I think I can speak for pretty much all of the UK when I say we'd love to see the fab four reunited," Burke says. "It was so heartwarming in the early days to see them doing events together, and to see Harry happy with someone so incredible after he was always kind of the third wheel with William and Kate."

Meghan and Prince Harry are Prioritizing Their Peace

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kissing in their kitchen
Netflix

As Meghan and Prince Harry's Netflix documentary came to a close, Meghan reflected on an exercise her friend once introduced her to on New Year's Eve. Instead of making resolutions, the friend encouraged their group to pick a word to focus on for the year ahead. At the time, Meghan selected "truth." Now, she's focused on protecting her peace. "I just want peace," she explained. "Part of that is reclaiming, you know, when you've lost a huge piece of yourself, getting that back includes getting back those relationships and those friendships and things that anchor you to who you are."

Some may wonder what the future holds for the couple, and whether or not they'll work closely with the royal family ever again. "Personally, I think the UK monarchy would hugely benefit from having Harry and Meghan in their midst," Burke tells us. "They are trailblazers when it comes to royalty—I admire Meghan for her willingness to take action, to cause change and to use her platform for good. But the royal family do things in very specific ways, and they do have an old-fashioned approach. Who knows what the future holds? I'd love to see the UK represented by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they have so much to offer. But a lot has happened, and it may be that they don't want to come back to it."

As for Prince Harry's conclusion? He couldn't be happier to be where he and his family are today. "There are times where I feel angry but I can't be that angry because I genuinely feel that I, and we, are exactly where we're supposed to be," he concluded. "We've made it to the other side."

How Long Have Prince Harry and Meghan Been Married?

As of December 2022, Prince Harry and Meghan have been married for four years. Their wedding took place at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. It was a global phenomenon that captivated the world—an estimated 2 billion people minimum worldwide tuned into the broadcast of their big day.

Prior to their nuptials, Prince Harry and Meghan began dating in 2016. In Volume I of Harry and Meghan, the royal revealed that he saw a photo of the former Suits actress on a mutual friend's Instagram page. He asked to be connected, and the friend set them up for a date at Soho House London. After a whirlwind courtship, they announced their engagement on November 27, 2017.

Prince Harry and Meghan's Family

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle with kids Archie and Lilibet
ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI

The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex have certainly enjoyed an eventful first few years as husband and wife, beginning with their beloved royal wedding, followed by the arrival of their son, Archie Harrison, a year later. They welcomed their second child, a beautiful baby girl, in June 2021—and there's a sentimental meaning behind their daughter's name. "Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales," they revealed. "This is the second child for the couple, who also have a two-year-old son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The Duke and Duchess thank you for your warm wishes and prayers as they enjoy this special time as a family."

While privacy is of the utmost important for Harry and Meghan's kids, they have released select photos over the years, from personal snaps to holiday cards. In some of the most recent images, both Archie and Lili can be seen with bright red hair, just like their dad.

Prince Harry and Meghan's Relationship With Queen Elizabeth

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Queen Elizabeth II funeral
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Reports previously stated that the Sussexes blindsided the monarch with their decision to leave the firm. Those reports, however, were false. Harry revealed in his interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that he had spoken, at length and across multiple conversations, with the queen about his decision to step down. So much so that the numerous conversations on the topic prompted Prince Charles to stop answering his son's calls.

Nevertheless, the couple still shared a solid relationship with Queen Elizabeth II until her death on September 8, 2022. "I've spoken more to my grandmother in the last year [than ever before]," Harry told Oprah in 2021. "My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and understanding. I have a deep respect for her. My colonel in chief. She always will be."

In a separate interview, Harry previously shared he was in frequent touch with the queen and Prince Philip before his passing. "Both my grandparents do Zoom," he noted to James Corden. "They've seen Archie running around."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle returned to the U.K. for the queen's funeral, where they attended services and spoke with British citizens alongside other members of the extended royal family. While he hasn't spoken much about his grandmother since her death, Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth's relationship will be a focus of his upcoming memoir, Spare.

They're Constantly Remembering the Late Princess Diana

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during Oprah intervew
Joe Pugliese for Harpo Productions / CBS

Prince Harry and Meghan had a little piece of Diana with them when they filmed their sitdown interview with Oprah. The Duchess, in an Armani dress, chose a sentimental piece of jewelry that belonged to her late mother-in-law. The pearl bracelet was also used to construct Markle's engagement ring. According to People, Markle wore the piece so they could have Diana with them, symbolically, during the sit-down.

Princess Diana left Harry enough funds to provide an even greater gift: security. It was revealed during the interview that the firm had retracted all forms of security, leaving the pair vulnerable to death threats and other incendiary comments rooted in racist beliefs. "I've got what my mum left me," Prince Harry said of funding. "I felt her presence throughout this whole process. I'm just really happy to be here, talking to you, with my wife by my side."

Prince Harry and Meghan's Strong Relationship Foundation

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Perhaps one of the most endearing aspects of Harry and Meghan's marriage is their strong relationship foundation. Together, the couple has weathered tumultuous highs and lows in the public eye, and it's clear their healthy partnership continues to grow stronger.

They Had a Commitment Ceremony Before the Wedding

The pair wanted a private moment for themselves before the fanfare of the 2018 royal wedding. "Three days before the wedding, we got married," Markle shared with Winfrey. "The vows that we had… [were] with the Archbishop of Canterbury."

Then, days later, the world witnessed the spectacle of the pair's public-facing wedding at Windsor Castle. In retrospect, while the commitment ceremony wasn't legal, it was still a special and lowkey moment for the couple to exchange vows on their own before the public tuned into their actual wedding day.

Harry and Meghan Suffered Immensely In Private

Together, Harry and Meghan felt deep agony as their lives were dissected and attacked by the public. In one portion of the interview, Markle revealed she had lost her will to live due to the scrutiny and the unfair treatment both privately by the firm and publicly by the media. "I just didn't want to be alive anymore. That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she told Oprah as she recalled sharing this emotional confession with her husband one morning.

That same evening, the couple attended a formal event together. It was one minor detail from photos that indicated all that was happening behind closed doors. While the pair seemingly looked happy and polished, inside they were suffering, and that was clear from how Prince Harry held his wife's hand. "You can see how he's gripping my hand," she recalled.

Markle ended up pleading for help and went to human resources and senior officials. However, she was told it wouldn't be good for optics if she sought support for her mental health. Ultimately, she sought help and noted to all that she was relieved to sit with Oprah. "My biggest concern was history repeating itself," Prince Harry told Winfrey. "You know, for me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side because I can't begin to imagine what it must've been like for [my mother] going through this process by herself all those years ago."

Meghan Has a Nickname for Harry

In late February, Prince Harry appeared on the Late Late Show With James Corden to clear the air before his tell-all interview. "It was never walking away—it was stepping back rather than stepping down. It was a difficult environment, as I think a lot of people saw," he said while riding a double-decker bus. "We all know what the British press can be like, and it was destroying my mental health… I did what any husband and any father would do. [I said,] 'I need to get my family out of here.' We never walked away. And as far as I'm concerned, whatever decisions I made on that side—I will never walk away. I'll always be contributing. My life is about public service: wherever I'm in the world, it's going to be the same thing." (As recalled, Prince Harry has long been at odds with the British media, even issuing a strongly-worded statement when he first started dating Markle to defend her from the scrutiny.)

Along with his musings on the treatment from the press, the future dad of two also unveiled his son Archie's first word wasn't related to either parent. In fact, it was "crocodile." (The Oprah interview also revealed Archie's adorable penchant for words lately like "hydrate" and "drive safe.") That wasn't the only revelation from the double-decker experience. Markle's nickname for her husband also made its global debut. "Haz, how's your tour of L.A. going?" she asked on Facetime. The nickname is likely correlated to Prince Harry's birth name of Henry Charles Albert David.

Harry and Meghan Are Healing In Multiple Ways

While the two have been busy stateside, they've grappled with their fair share of challenges during COVID. In early December, Markle wrote in a New York Times op-ed that she and Harry had endured a miscarriage. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she wrote in a raw and powerful piece. "Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."

For the couple, a podcast was perhaps one potential avenue for healing. "We're talking to some amazing people," Meghan previously shared of her the endeavor with her husband. "They're going to share their memories that really shape this past year, which has been, as we know, a difficult one for everyone." Harry added, "So many people have been through so much pain this year, experiencing loss, a huge amount of uncertainty—but it feels worth acknowledging that 2020 has connected us in ways we have never imagined through endless acts of compassion and kindness."

In addition to their personal updates, they've also purchased a home located near Santa Barbara. The couple continues to work towards the goal of achieving financial independence following their departure as working royals.

Why Did Prince Harry and Meghan Leave the Royal Family?

Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton on balcony
Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images

In early 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan expressed their desire to step down as full-time members of the royal family. The decision was supposedly met with internal animosity, ultimately resulting in a move for the couple to California, where Markle was raised. Since their departure from the U.K., the couple has revealed they're now expecting their second child and provided even more insight into their marriage and rift from the royal family in a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey and in their Netflix special Harry and Meghan.

They've Stepped Down Entirely From Their Royal Roles

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family, initially with the hopes to remain on board part-time. However, their departure was somewhat bittersweet as they've since stepped down entirely from their positions within the British Royal Family.

In mid-February 2021, the palace shared the couple's official involvement with their respective charities would be redistributed to other members of the British Royal Family. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family," it reads in the Buckingham Palace statement. "Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service."

Markle had once previously turned down Oprah for an interview opportunity: it was while she was in the palace. "That we're on the other side of a lot of life experience that's happened," Markle explained. "And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn't have said 'yes' to you then. That wasn't my choice to make. So, as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be. It's really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say 'yes.'"

There Was Friction With Kate Middleton the Week of the Wedding

It was previously reported that Markle made her sister-in-law cry the week of her wedding, but in reality: the reverse had occurred. In a confession cautiously navigated by Markle, it was revealed that Middleton was the one who made her cry over a fitting, and the reports were inaccurate. Nevertheless, despite all parties internally knowing what had occurred, six months later, it was erroneously reported that Markle had made Middleton cry.

"They would go on the record and negate the most ridiculous story for anyone… things that are super artificial and inconsequential," Markle said. "But the narrative of making Kate cry was a real character assassination."

Meghan and Harry Were Expected to Stay "Silent"

As Markle further addressed her experiences with "the firm," otherwise known to insiders as the institution of the British Royal Family, she spoke candidly about how the inability to protect the couple from lies created the ultimate rift. "I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us," said the former actress. "And if that comes with the risk of losing things, I mean I—there's a lot that's been lost already."

Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah was largely planned and taped prior to the late Prince Philip's final hospitalization. Two days after the interview aired, Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of the queen. "The whole family is saddened to learn the extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," it read. "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately."

It ended with, "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members."

They Have Since Mourned Prince Philip

On April 9, 2021, Buckingham Palace revealed that Prince Philip had passed away. "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the palace disclosed. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle." (Windsor Castle is the part-time home of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. It is also where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, among other royal family members, have married.)

Harry was particularly fond of his grandfather as the two shared a close bond, especially with the death of Princess Diana in 1997. At the time of their mother's death, Prince William was just 15 and Prince Harry was 12. In Tina Brown's book, The Diana Chronicles, it was revealed: "A member of the Balmoral staff noted that Prince Philip, who had effectively lost his own mother at the age of ten when she was committed for three years to an asylum in Switzerland, was brilliantly effective with his grandsons, offering them gruff tenderness and outdoor activities like stalking and hiking to tire them out."

The Duke of Sussex returned to the U.K. for Prince Philip's funeral, one of his first visits back home after moving stateside in 2020. There, he was spotted chatting with his brother and his sister-in-law, despite reports of a big chill between the two couples. Since Markle was pregnant with their second child, she wasn't cleared to fly back for the ceremony.

Prince Harry and Meghan's Professional Life

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

In December 2020, the couple revealed they've officially joined the podcast realm through Archewell Audio, a podcast production company created by Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Markle, exclusively partnered with Spotify. It was the latest development in a string of announcements made by the high-profile couple after they stepped down from duties on behalf of the British royal family in early 2020. The multi-year partnership with Spotify involved podcasts hosted by both Harry and Meghan, along with original programming produced by the couple. The intent, they shared, was to "build community through shared experience, narratives, and values."

"What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction," Harry and Meghan said at the time. "With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other's stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are."

After moving from England to the West Coast, the couple started venturing out with new business proposals and prospects. In additional business pursuits, the pair also signed up for a production deal with Netflix in mid-2020. Markle also narrated the Disney+ documentary Elephants. In April 2021, the couple's first Netflix documentary series was unveiled: the storyline focused on the Invictus Games, which was founded by Prince Harry.

The Duke of Sussex also took readers into their marriage and his life in a 2023 memoir titled Spare. "I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," Harry expressed in a statement prior to its release. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story—the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned—I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think."

Prince Harry book Spare
Penguin Random House

He added, "I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I've learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that's accurate and wholly truthful."

Multiple books have been published, some covering Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's love story (and complex relationships with the family) in great detail. Public interest in the couple's story reached fever pitch especially when the pair decided to depart the royal household in early 2020. A flattering account of the pair and their love story beginnings was found in 2020's Finding Freedom, whereas the more recently published Battle of the Brothers detailed the friction between William and Harry and the contested source of the overall dispute. Proceeds from both Prince Harry's memoir and the audiobook will go to charity.

Prince Harry and Meghan's Relationship Is "Greater Than Any Fairy Tale"

Harry and Meghan dancing at wedding reception
Netflix

Despite the excruciating pain they've endured as members of the firm, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle both commented on how their lives transformed since they chose freedom stateside. "Our life is beautiful now, I've got a beautiful family," Harry mused. "From my perspective, all I needed was enough money to pay for security to keep my family safe."

Meghan added, "We're thriving… We've been through a lot. It's felt like a lifetime." Despite the struggles, the triumphs they've felt lately with their endeavors and relationship have been an uplifting ending for their story. "It's greater than any fairy tale you've ever read," Markle told Oprah with a smile.

With reporting by Esther Lee.

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