Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have given us quite the whirlwind romance since they went public with their relationship this time last year via a strongly-worded press release from Kensington Palace. As soon as she was photographed shopping in London by the end of the year, good money was that she was “the one.” By late spring, engagement rumors had reached fever pitch, helped along by their frequent treks between Toronto and London, not to mention a lengthy vacation in Botswana in August.
There are three reasons for this: 1) Harry has never behaved quite this way with a relationship, 2) Harry has also made no secret about the fact he is ready to settle down and have children and 3) Meghan turned 36 this past year. The latter point is usually less articulated in the news articles about them, but it stands to reason that if the two are planning on having children then Meghan’s age is a consideration for starting sooner rather than later.
But we’ve made it through August without an engagement (the favored timing earlier this year) and we’re getting dangerously close to the end of the year despite all good money being placed on an announcement before 2018. For a while most royal watchers warned that the Palace wouldn’t make an announcement in November for fear of interfering with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th wedding anniversary, but we now know that will be celebrated privately. Then there’s the wrench of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, understanding that a wedding is unlikely until after the baby is born in April. So, what do we make of that?
Well, as noted on this site any number of time throughout the autumn, there’s still a good chance that the relationship will be made official sometime later this month and December. The latest news (and yes, I’ve buried the lede here a bit) is that Meghan is poised to leave her television series, Suits. So, too, is one of the show’s leading men, whose character is closely linked with Meghan’s. A double departure in one fell swoop may make sense, according to industry insiders, and both actors’ contracts are up at the end of the seventh season.
This aligns with news that Meghan is planning a move to London, but there’s conflicting news as to how or when this will go down. Some assume that Meghan will move directly into Kensington Palace with Harry, while other sources are on background saying that the actress is actually looking for a flat of her own nearby. And instead of laying low and focusing solely on her relationship, Meghan is instead entertaining plans of setting up her own charitable foundation focused on women’s issues. I say this as kindly as possible, but if true, Kate Middleton this girl isn’t.
Said one source to Vanity Fair:
“She has a clear idea of what she wants to do and who she wants to help. She doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, least of all her boyfriend’s, and is keen to develop the charity work she’s already doing in the areas that interest and resonate with her. She and Harry would love the future to be traveling around the world together, putting the spotlight on charities and causes that they care about.”
And there may be some truth to the idea that while the move to London is a sign of the relationship’s seriousness, it isn’t necessarily a direct precursor to an engagement. Tom Sykes at the Daily Beast reported that we may be waiting longer than originally thought. Instead of a wedding waiting for Kate to give birth, the couple might delay any announcement at all until late spring, thus allowing Harry and Meghan time to re-establish their relationship living in the same city.
Royal biographer, Penny Junor, who knows the Wales family well, told Sykes:
“The bottom line is, only the two of them know. But, personally, I am not 100 percent convinced. The longer it doesn’t happen, the more doubt I have about it, not least because her biological clock [Meghan is 36] means that if they were going to marry and have children, they would need to get going sooner rather than later. “It is one hell of an ask for her to give up everything she is and has achieved to marry into the British royal family.
“As an actress, we can assume that she enjoys publicity, and likes to be in the limelight, and that is one of the reasons the relationship has thrived. But the attention that comes with being a British royal is very different to the attention that comes with being a Hollywood star.
“Harry is impetuous and he does make decisions quickly—unlike William who ponders and ponders—but he is not foolish. He knows, of course, exactly what a royal marriage break up is like and how much attention it gets.”
But as Sykes notes, at this point the only thing anyone can say with certainty is that we have no idea. Harry and Meghan have never given any indication of a particular timeline – everything is based on past precedents and insider gossip. And while Harry’s handling of this relationship is a clear sign of commitment, there’s also something to be said about the logic of a long-distance couple trying to make it in the same town before marrying. After all, it’s been noted time and time again that William slowly eased Kate into the royal way of life thanks to lessons learned from his parents’ experience – well, those are Harry’s parents, too. It’s quite possible that we’re looking at a slower timeline that previously thought so that Meghan can better a taste for what she’s in for.
As for my opinion on the matter, I’ll echo Sykes and say that I think anything is possible. The only thing I’m confident saying is that I do think the two will marry and by this time next year all of this speculation will be behind us. (God, I hope so.)