What did Meghan Markle really know about the Royal Family before meeting Harry?

·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex attend the Athletics Competition during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married on 19 May 2018. (Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary – and while the couple are still happily together, a lot has happened in that time.

With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now no longer senior members of the Royal Family, choosing to live in California, could Meghan ever have predicted what marrying her now husband would be like?

She has previously said that growing up, she knew very little about the Royal Family and was unfamiliar with tabloid newspapers in the UK.

However, an old photograph of Meghan holding a magazine with the Duchess of Cambridge on the cover resurfaced in May last year, which led to fresh questions over what she really knew about them before marrying the duke.

The picture, originally shared in October 2014, shows Meghan posing with a copy of U Magazine, a glossy Irish women's publication, which bore a headline about her future sister-in-law Kate – wrongly suggesting she was having twins.

Kate now has three children, George, eight, Charlotte, seven, and Louis, four, and would have been pregnant with her daughter Charlotte at the time of the magazine's publication.

Read more: The real falling out before Harry and Meghan's wedding, according to royal biographers

The story appears to be based on bookies suspending betting at the time that Kate was going to have twins.

Meghan, now 40, reportedly spoke about her favourite sunglasses in a piece in the next issue, which also included an interview with Irish band The Coronas.

Earlier in the day, the former deputy editor of U, Denise Cash, had tweeted followers about the interview with Meghan, asking for suggestions for questions to ask the Suits star.

U Magazine announced it would be ending print publication in July 2018.

Read more: What Meghan was like on her wedding day, from those who were there

The picture, which is now nearly eight years old and was taken at least two years before Meghan met Harry, reignited the questions about what she might have known before she met the prince.

Meghan said in the couple's engagement interview with Mishal Husain that she had not known much about the royals.

"I'm from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the Royal Family and so while I now understand very clearly, there’s a global interest there," she said, "I didn’t know much about him, and so the only thing that I had asked her when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, I had one question. I said, 'Well is he nice?'

"Cause if he wasn't kind, it didn’t seem like it would make sense and so we met for a drink, and then I think very quickly, we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.'"

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge stuns in coral pink Emilia Wickstead to host Royal Garden Party

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Harry and Meghan now live in California with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, 11 months. (WireImage/Getty Images)

Prince Harry said in the same interview, "[I] tried to warn try to warn you as much as possible but I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction after the first five, six months (which) we had to ourselves, with what actually happened from then.

"I think you can have as many conversations as you want and try and prepare as much as possible. But we were totally unprepared for what happened after that."

"I still have to have some pretty frank conversations with her to say, you know, 'what you're letting yourself in for ... it's a big deal and it's not ... easy for anybody'," he added.

In her interview with Oprah Winfrey in March last year, Meghan said she had not researched Harry before she met, and went on to claim that she'd not been well prepared by palace staff either, saying she had been left to find the words to the British national anthem alone.

Read more: A video of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge holding hands has gone viral on TikTok

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Athletics Competition during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands, April 2022. (Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)

"I never looked up my husband online," Meghan claimed. "I just didn't feel the need to, because everything that I needed to know, he was sharing with me - or everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me."

She also told Winfrey, "Eugenie and I had known each other before I had known Harry, so that was comfortable."

Another image which has occasionally resurfaced shows a 15-year-old Meghan posing outside Buckingham Palace with a friend on a holiday to London.

Read more: Harry and Meghan won't make Jubilee balcony appearance - but will attend celebrations with Archie and Lilibet

There are various reports of friends of Meghan suggesting she had a copy of a biography on Diana.

Ninaki Priddy, who was Meghan's maid of honour when she married Trevor Engelson, told the Mail in 2018: "[Meghan] was always fascinated by the Royal Family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0."

Other claims by the Duchess of Sussex of her time as a senior royal have been at odds with accounts from palace staff – leading the Queen to issue a rare statement after the Winfrey interview, pointing out that "recollections may vary".

While Meghan and Harry won't be making a Trooping the Colour balcony appearance, alongside the Queen and other key royals at the Platinum Jubilee in June - they will attend the weekend's celebrations with their two children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, 11 months.

Watch: Harry and Meghan will attend jubilee celebrations