Harry and Meghan: Inside their new Hollywood life

In Los Angeles, everyone’s a star…especially these two

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

by Charlotte Oliver |
Updated on

“Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream? This is the land of dreams.” So goes the famous quote…and, when it comes to Meghan Markle, it couldn’t be more apt. After all, less than three years after she uprooted her life, abandoned her career and committed herself to full-time royal duties in the UK, she’s back on home turf – with her husband and baby son in tow – and with all the prospects of a glittering career ahead of her. The best part? She’s answerable to no one. Yes, here in Hollywood, the celebrities are royalty, and, according to insiders, there’s little doubt that Meghan’s about to be queen bee.

“It was never really Meghan’s intention to set up home in the UK in the long-term,” says an insider close to the 38 year old, who left Canada for good last week and made a under-the-radar move to Los Angeles alongside husband Prince Harry and their ten-month-old son Archie. “LA is her home – it’s where her mum and her best friends are, and it’s the place she feels safest and most familiar. On top of that, she’s got the opportunity to take her acting to the next level and be a bona fide star. Of course, it’s a scary time for everyone at the moment – and Meghan’s trying to be as sensitive and responsible as possible – but she also feels relieved and happy about how things have worked out for them.”

It’s certainly been a few weeks of upheaval for the formerly royal pair, who made their final curtain call as senior members of the royal family last month, before officially shutting their UK office and abandoning their @SussexRoyal Instagram page. Last week, in a final farewell, they wrote to their 11m followers: “As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing on this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute. While you may not see us here, the work continues. Thank you to this community – for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great!”

CHECK OUT Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship timeline


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry relationship timeline - Grazia - SLIDER

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July 2016: Meghan And Harry Meet

So when did the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were introduced by a mutual friend in July 2016, originally thought to be Markus Anderson (also the director of Soho house) but who was later confirmed to be Violet von Westenholz. Meghan said in an interview that before she met the Harry she didn't know much about him 'the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] was, 'Well is he nice?'. According to Harry he knew Meghan was The One from 'the very first time we met.' after only two dates Harry asked Meghan to accompany him on a trip to Botswana.

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October - November 2016: Kensington Palace's Statement

In October 2016 that the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend. However just a month later, Kensington Palace released a statement condemning the 'wave of abuse and harassment' faced by Meghan. The unprecedented statement, which referred to Meghan as Harry's girlfriend for the first time, emphasized that Prince Harry was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.' It continued 'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.' The palace were also forced to address speculation that Prince William was unhappy with Harry for confirming the relationship too soon, stating 'The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him.'

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December - February 2017: Things Get More Serious

Early in December 2017 Meghan was confirmed as the most Googled actress of 2016. In the same month, the couple were photographed together for the first time in London, shopping for a Christmas tree at the Pines and Needles store and attending a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. By January 2017 a source told US weekly that Harry had introduced Meghan to Kate and Prince Charlotte and that the 'meeting went well'. Meanwhile a source told The Sun that Meghan had 'virtually moved in' with Prince Harry to his cottage on the Kensington Palace estate.

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March - May 2017: Meghan Attends Weddings With Harry

By March things were openly getting pretty serious between the two: Meghan accompanied Harry to Jamaica for a wedding for the first time (his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip to Lara Hughes-Young). On April the 7th Meghan announced that she was closing down her lifestyle blog The Tig writing 'What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You've made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy.' In May, Meghan and Harry attended their first public event together at the Polo in Coworth Park (where they also engaged in some PDA). Later in May Prince Harry was seen driving Meghan to the reception of Pippa Middleton and James Matthew's wedding.

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September 2017: The First Official Public Appearance

Welcome to Meghan the style Icon: at the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games in September Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands, Aritzia with a burgundy biker jacket by Mackage. The next day the couple were photographed sitting together at the wheelchair tennis and 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and kissing at the closing ceremony. On the 5th of September In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan stated: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'

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September-November 2017: Meghan Leaves Behind Rachel Zane

Late 2017 we saw the end of everyone's favourite legal powerhouse Rachel Zane (sob). In November 2017, shortly after Meghan met the Queen, the actress was reported to be leaving her role in Suits after seven seasons.

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November 2017: The Engagement

After months of speculation, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating On November 27th 2017 . The engagement ring, said to be designed by Harry, is made of two stones that belonged to Princess Diana. The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label (whose website subsequently crashed). When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!' Speaking about his late mother, Princess Diana, Harry said 'I think they'd be thick as thieves. She would be over the moon, jumping up and down, so excited for me... It's days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. With the ring, I'm sure she's with us, jumping up and down somewhere else.' it was announced that the wedding would take place on May the 19th, 2018.

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December 2017: The Fab Four

In December 2017 Meghan, Harry, Kate and William were photographed together attending the Christmas service at Sandringham. Pictures of the two couples earned them the title 'The Fab Four'. Meanwhile in the following months Meghan earned a reputation for breaking royal protocol on official visits by hugging fans of the couple and kissing them on the cheek.

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February 2018: Kate And Meghan Appear In Public Together

In February 2018, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle had their first royal engagement together for the Royal Foundation Forum with Prince Harry and Prince William. Harry stated of the two couples 'We have different opinions and they work really well [together]. Working as family does have its challenges; of course it does. The fact that everybody is laughing shows they know exactly what's it like… But we are stuck together for the rest of our lives.'

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May 2018: The Lead Up To The Wedding

In the lead-up to the wedding it was confirmed 2,640 people would be invited to the grounds of Windsor Palace to watch the royal wedding. Photos of Meghan and Harry's wedding invitations were released, bearing Harry's legal name 'Henry'. Meghan and Harry made a number of public appearances together including to the Invictus game tryouts in April and attend the Queen's birthday at the Royal Albert Hall. Meghan's final episode of Suits is also aired, marking the official end of her acting career.

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May 2018: Meghan's Family Drama Begins

On May the 14th, three days before the wedding Meghan's father, Thomas Markle sr. who was confirmed to walk Meghan down the aisle pulled out, following an embarrassing incident in which he staged paid paparazzi photos. Thomas Markle later suffered a heart attack, and his son Thomas Markle Jr. penned an unflattering open letter to Harry criticizing Meghan and encouraging him to pull out of the wedding. The day before the wedding, Kensington Palace announced Prince Charles would walk Meghan down the aisle, stating 'The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.'

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May 2018: The Royal Wedding

Meghan and Harry wed on the 19th of May for a combined audience of 11.5 million people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. Meghan's gown was made by Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of the fashion house Givenchy which she later changed for a silk crepe dress by Stella McCartney. Her mother Doria Ragland attended the ceremony along with a host of celebrities including Meghan's former Suits cast and her close friends, George and Amal Clooney.

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May - October 2018: Married Life

Throughout May of 2018 Harry and Meghan made their first official appearances as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For her inaugural attendance to the Trooping of the Colour Meghan wore an off-the-shoulder dress, reportedly breaking royal protocal. In the following months the newlyweds made a number of public appearances including to Ireland to meet the country's officials. They also took a rumoured trip to visit George and Amal Clooney in Lake Como.

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October 2018: The Royal Baby Announcement

Speculation began during Princess Eugenie's wedding that Meghan was pregnant owing to her loose coat. The rumours were confirmed when Kensington Palace announced on the 15th of October 2018 that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expecting a child. The announcement also coincided with the first day of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's official tour.

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October 2018: Meghan And Harry's First Royal Tour

In October Meghan and Harry departed for their 16-day Autumn royal tour visiting Australia, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand (obviously featuring some serious style moments from the newly-appointed Duchess of Sussex/Style). By November, sources were telling news outlets that the couple were preparing to move to Frogmore cottage in Windsor in 2019. The couple spent the anniversary of their engagement, November the 27th apart, due to Harry being in Zambia.

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November 2018 - Present: Feud Rumours

As Meghan and Harry embarked on life as newlyweds there was less plainsailing, as controversy continued to follow closely on their heels. Meghan's family have continued to be the subject of unflattering media headlines and Thomas Markle gave interviews to the media about his distanced relationship with his daughter. Meanwhile Samantha Markle (Meghan's half sister, who also claims to be penning a book about the Duchess) was put on a fixated persons list after showing up at Kensington palace in January. Rumours of a froideur between Meghan and Kate were sparked shortly after Meghan and Harry's nuptials by reports that Meghan reduced Kate 'to tears' during challenging dress fittings with Princess Charlotte. In February, Thomas Markle leaks a handwritten letter from Meghan to the media in response to friends of the Duchess defending her in an interview and following numerous staff changes, rumours arise that Meghan and Harry's staff refer to Meghan by the nickname 'The difficult Duchess'.

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March 2019: The Royal Household's Split

In March 2019 it was confirmed that the Sussex and Cambridge's 'royal households' will split, meaning the couples will no longer share staff. Royal spokespersons confirm that Kate and William's staff team will stay in Kensington Palace while Meghan and Harry's staff will be based in Buckingham Palace, reflecting the location of their new residence of Frogmore cottage in Windsor. Representatives are quick to confirm this is a planned move, and not due to rumors of growing tensions between the couples.

But Harry and Meghan’s secret flit to LA via private jet just before the border was closed, enraged many… especially as the couple had seemed to imply that they’d be living a quiet, private life in Canada for the foreseeable future. Indeed, they made no official announcement about their change of plans, only confirming it after Donald Trump tweeted: “Now [Harry and Meghan] have left Canada for the UK. However, the US will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” In response, a spokesperson for the couple said, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to ask the US government for security resources. Privately funded security arrangements have been made.”

According to insiders, there’s now little doubt that Meghan had always intended to move back home – it was simply a question of when. “She was very homesick and it’s no secret that she found the British way of life stuffy and restrictive,” says our source. “The common view is that she’d have stuck it out for longer if she didn’t face so much scrutiny in the UK, but she always did have one foot out the door. She hated the weather, the food and wanted to be back in the entertainment capital of the world. The switch to Canada was done in part to ease Harry and Meghan back to the US, while still respecting the Commonwealth.”

Our source continues, “They needed a breathing period where they could get their ducks in a row and line up the logistics of their move to LA. Now they’re here, Meghan is feeling like her old self again. They’re enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, and getting their work lined up for when quarantine is over. Of course, they’ve been desperately concerned about coronavirus, but Meghan’s just relieved to be with her mum Doria [Ragland] during this time and she’s looking forward to the future.”

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As heat went to press, the Sussexes had yet to reveal their permanent base in California – but it’s believed that they’ve narrowed their choices down to either Bel Air or Malibu; either way, they’ll be sure to have friends in high places on their doorstep. “In Malibu, they’re close to Oprah’s place in Montecito, plus the Clooneys aren’t too far away,” we’re told. “But they’ve also got a lot of friends in Bel Air – and Meghan’s work might mean she needs to be closer to Hollywood. They like both so it just depends on finding the best property.”

Speaking of Meghan’s work, it’s pretty clear by now that she’s been taking tentative steps towards fully resuming her acting career, after formerly claiming she was “transitioning” away from it when she and Harry got engaged in November 2017. Last week, the trailer for Elephant, the new Disney nature documentary that she’s narrated, was released – and according to insiders, it’s only the beginning. Not only are we told that she’s looking for more acting and narrating ventures, she’s also reportedly relaunching her lifestyle website The Tig, in the hope of becoming a massive media personality… this time, on her terms.

As for Prince Harry, 35, we’re told he’s happy to follow Meghan’s lead as they navigate their new life as Californians. They’re both conscious about the timing of their big move, so they’re trying to be as low-key and respectful as possible. But moving forwards, he’s happy to play the role of “dutiful husband”. Our insider explains, “Harry is happy to follow Meghan’s lead, although he does find it quite daunting. He’s got some work to do if he’s going to fit in with the A-list of Hollywood, but he’s got an A-plus for effort. It’s a tough assignment – but Meghan’s the best person to teach him the ropes.”

Yes, it might have taken a whole lot of upheaval, and unprecedented efforts to revolutionise the monarchy, but now that they’re happily settled in the land of opportunity, it’s fair to say that Harry and Meghan finally have what they wanted. Some Hollywood dreams, it seems, really do come true.

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