LONDON (Reuters) – A former wild and red-haired child who, in his youth, sought controversy by smoking cannabis and wearing the Nazi uniform once at a party. She is a biracial actress and divorced from abroad. Together, they lead the British monarchy – the most conservative of institutions – to a more modern era.
Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and fifth to the throne, is engaged to Meghan Markle, his American girlfriend, announced Monday the royal family.
The Prince, 33, and Mrs. Markle, 36, will be getting married in the spring, added a statement by Clarence House.
The commitment of Prince Harry and Mrs. Markle highlights the recent changes in the British monarchy. They are part of a new generation of royals eager to project themselves as modern, inclusive and down to earth. This last royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry’s older brother, William, and his sister-in-law, Catherine, have been trying in recent years to better communicate with the public.
This is a marked difference, for example, with the queen, who has retained a more traditionally distant style.
Prince Harry and Mrs. Markle are expected to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they marry, according to British media, although she may be known unofficially as Princess Meghan. If Prince Harry were to reject the duchy, he would still be Prince Henry of Wales, his official name.
The couple has been dating for more than a year and made its first official appearance in September in Toronto at the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style competition for military veterans or injured or sick.
Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, an American actress and humanitarian, describe how they became engaged. Yes, he got down on one knee.
Like his brother, Prince Harry grew up in the public eye, first as the son of the heir to the throne and as a teenager fighting for the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash. When he was 12 years old his pain manifested itself in what he described as “the total chaos” of his 20 years, a period that was happily exploited by the tabloids.
The relationship between Prince Harry and Mrs. Markle was also scrutinized.
The announcement of their engagement put an end to days of feverish speculation by the British media, some of whom, in anticipation of the event, tried to find a real connection with Mrs. Markle. (The Daily Telegraph reported on a breathless study showing unverified that Mrs. Markle’s ancestor was, in fact, an aristocrat who was beheaded by Henry VIII, an ancestor of Prince Harry).
But other stories about the ethnicity and origin of the middle-class Mrs. Markle Her mother is a black yoga instructor and her father is a director of white photography- have angered the royal family. The prince himself issued an unusual statement last year, denouncing the “racial nuances” of Ms. Markle’s news coverage.
The reputation of Prince Harry has changed considerably in recent years. In his youth, he acknowledged that he wanted to be a “bad boy”, but he became probably the most popular royalty in Britain.
As a young rebel, a lot of fun, including an episode in 2005 when he was wearing a suit with a Nazi swastika armband, a few weeks before his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, was scheduled to conduct the commemoration ceremonies of the Holocaust.
In 2009, a video emerged of him using racial slurs during his first term in Afghanistan. In the pictures, he is seen referring to a Pakistani member of his platoon as “our boyfriend Paki” and calls another soldier “rabhead”. Later, he apologized.
But it has matured since those early years, say its advocates, becoming a champion of mental health and other charities. He also spoke openly about the difficulties he faced after the death of Princess Diana.
In another unusual breach of the palace protocol, he reported to a newspaper that he had suffered for years from the pain after his mother’s death, before receiving help three years ago at the Prince’s request William.
In 2016, he took an H.I.V. Try it out and stream it live on the Royal Facebook page in 2016 to promote the importance of testing the virus that causes AIDS.
This year, he suggested that no one in the royal family really wanted to sit on the throne. “We are involved in the modernization of the British monarchy,” he said in an interview with Newsweek. “We do not do this for ourselves, but for the good of the people.”
The public statement of Prince Harry last year in defense of Mrs. Markle actually confirmed their relationship and also pointed to British newspapers that have always desired the news of royalty and its weaknesses.
In the resounding rebuke, Prince Harry, through his spokesman, said: “the spot on the cover of a national newspaper, the racial nuances of commentary pieces, and the flagrant trolls of sexism and racism social networks and the comments of the web articles. ”
In her first interview since the announcement, Mrs. Markle revealed that she had very little understanding of the British royal family and its meaning.
“I did not know much about it,” he told the BBC, referring to his fiancé, adding that the couple had been created on a blind date by a friend.
“The only thing I asked was,” Was it nice? ‘ ”
Prince Harry said he had tried to prepare her for the media review. “I tried to warn you as much as possible,” he said. Even so, “we were totally surprised by the reaction, we were not ready for anything”.
. Asked how he was portrayed by some British media, Ms. Markle replied, “It’s unfortunate that is the climate in this world at the end of the day, I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. We focus on who we are as a couple. ”
Their relationship is not the first when a British kingship falls in love with an American couple who had already married.
King Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis in 1936 when he abdicated to marry the divorced socialist Wallis Simpson. The Church of England then opposed marriage, and the king chose love for his royal duties, his brother taking his place to become King George VI.
Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, divorced in 1996.
Prince Harry served in the British Army for a decade, becoming captain. He toured Afghanistan twice, where he flew an Apache helicopter and was an army officer.
The announcement of the engagement was soon followed by congratulatory messages from the Queen and her husband, Prince Felipe, who recently celebrated 70 years of marriage. The couple said they were “delighted” and wished Prince Harry and Mrs. Markle “all the happiness”.
Prince Charles, Harry’s father, said he was “delighted” while Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that the engagement marked “a moment of great celebration and excitement. ”
Prince William and Catherine, known as Kate, said they were “very excited about Harry and Meghan”. The wedding date of Prince Harry and Mrs. Markle may take place near another real event, the birth of William and Kate’s third son. , expires in April.
Kate’s marriage to Prince William was also unusual in the context of the royal family, as she was a commoner: her parents had founded a mail order company.
Markle’s parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, said they were “incredibly happy” for their daughter and their prince.
Mrs. Markle describes herself as biracial. She graduated from Northwestern University of Illinois in 2003 and got married in 2011, divorcing two years later.
She is best known for her roles in the legal television series “Suits” and in the sci-fi series “Fringe”, and appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in September. Ms. Markle is also recognized for her charitable work, is a global ambassador for World Vision Canada and has worked for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
She also shares the love of dogs with the queen, who is known to have a collection of corgi. The British tabloids reported this month that Mrs. Markle was preparing to move her two dogs, Bogart, a mix of Labrador and shepherd, and Guy, a beagle, in London.
Anna Schaverien, Susanne Fowler and Prashant S. Rao contributed reporting. The New York Times