Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s First Year of Marriage Has Been Difficult and ‘Complicated’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s fairytale wedding didn’t provide an equally fairytale first year of marriage. In fact, they admit it’s been a very difficult time, due to the constant public and media scrutiny they face.

prince harry meghan markle first year marriage
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | BEN BIRCHALL/AFP/Getty Images

Markle was warned not to marry Prince Harry

During an interview for the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, following the couple’s royal tour of Africa, Markle opened up about how she was warned not to marry Prince Harry.

It was a warning that she dismissed, as she noted she “naively” didn’t think the cautionary advice applied.

She explained to ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby that her experience in the spotlight since marrying Prince Harry is “hard,” adding, “I don’t think anybody could understand that.”

Markle continued, sharing: “In all fairness I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand here. But when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy but my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’”

It was a concept she couldn’t wrap her head around, as she noted: “And I very naively — I’m American. We don’t have that there — [I said], ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in any tabloids.’ I didn’t get it. So it’s been, yeah, it’s been complicated.”

She hasn’t been able to practice a “stiff upper lip”

The pressure of living with the media scrutiny can be overwhelming and, despite her best efforts to ignore the negativity, Markle admitted that it’s probably not the best idea, in terms of sanity.

She told Bradby: “I’ve said for a long time to H — that’s what I call him — it’s not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy. I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried. I really tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.”

Markle added: “The biggest thing that I know is that I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”

She shared just how damaging all of the tabloid attention can be, noting: “When people are saying things that are just untrue and they have been told they are untrue, but they are allowed to still say them, I don’t know anybody in the world that would feel like that is OK, and that is different from just scrutiny.”

She does try to look at the positive side of things, remarking in the documentary that she hopes people “will get to a point where you just see us as a couple who’s in love… I don’t wake up every day and identify as being anything other than who I’ve always been, which is Meghan.”

Markle added: “I married this incredible man and this to me is just part of our love story.”

She shared at another point in the documentary: “The good thing is that I’ve got my baby and I’ve got my husband and they’re the best.”

Prince Harry shares how they “focus on being real”

Prince Harry also weighed in on the tremendous pressure the couple has faced in the past year and, admittedly, it’s not always easy to deal with.

He explained: “Part of this job, and part of any job, like everybody, means putting on a brave face and turning a cheek to a lot of the stuff, but again, for me and for my wife, of course there is a lot of stuff that hurts, especially when the majority of it is untrue.”

Prince Harry added: “But all we need to do is focus on being real, and focus on being the people that we are, and standing up for what we believe in. I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”