During her interview for ITV’s Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the Duchess of Sussex spoke about how British friends tried to warn her about what was going to happen when people found out that she was dating Prince Harry, and that she was planning to marry him. Meghan said, in part:
“… I don’t think anybody can understand that, but 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.’ And I very naively — I’m an American we don’t have that there — said, ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense! I’m not in tabloids!’ I didn’t get it. So, it’s been… yeah, it’s been complicated.”
I said on Twitter and on this site that it’s true that Americans simply don’t comprehend the ruthless way the British tabloids behave, or the presence the tabloids have in British life. Media outlets like the Daily Mail and The Sun – and to a lesser extent, the Daily Mirror and Daily Express – dominate conversations about celebrities and royals and sometimes even politics. That being said, if I was about to marry a British prince, I probably would have listened to all of those British people and used that information to try to understand. Meghan leaves the impression that she truly did walk into this relationship blinded to the realities they would face from the press and from Harry’s family. I’m not blaming her for what has happened, but… clearly, even Harry understood how bad it would get and he tried to protect her from the word go. Maybe “naive” is the right word for her to use there.
Anyway, as soon as the Daily Mail heard Meghan say that British friends tried to warn her, the Mail tracked down one of those friends and confirmed that, yes, Meghan was warned:
A British friend who warned Meghan Markle over marrying Prince Harry because of intense media scrutiny today insisted: ‘I told her she didn’t know what she was letting herself in for.’ Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne says her friend was ‘naive’ about dealing with the UK press and predicted pressures for the duchess if she wed into the Royal Family.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Meghan’s former agent admitted: ‘I knew the documentary was on but I made a decision not to watch it. However I’ve since read that Prince Harry talks about his relationship with his brother and that Meghan discusses her struggles of being in the spotlight with the Press. I did speak to Meghan about the British media and it was clear that she didn’t know what she was letting herself in for. She was naive. I still think that now.’
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne, 54, was the confidante who had lunch with the then-Suits actress just hours before her first date with the royal in 2016. The two women had been in Delaunay restaurant in London’s Covent Garden when Meghan told Gina: “’I’m going on a date tonight… with Prince Harry!’ She whispered it so quietly I had to ask her to repeat it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but I think she could barely believe it either. We were both extremely excited.’
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne, who is a director at the London-based talent agency Kruger Cowne, said: ‘I looked at how stunning she was and I just thought: ‘There’s no way he’s going to be able to resist her.’
She said as the relationship with Harry blossomed and she could see that it was serious she warned her friend that romance with such a high-profile royal would impact heavily on her life. ‘One day we were having lunch on the Strand in London and it was obvious it was getting very serious with Harry,’ she said. ‘I said, ‘This is serious. This is the end of your normal life, the end of your privacy – everything. But she just held up her hand and said: ‘Stop. I don’t want to hear any negativity. This is a happy time for us.’ She described the 38-year-old as someone who hates ‘negativity’ and is ‘so focused on what she wants’ that she will stop associates in their tracks if they question her decisions.
She accused the mother-of-one of being ‘picky’ and someone who ‘likes to move on’ quickly if she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with them. She revealed the ruthless side of Ms Markle in an interview in which she described Harry’s future bride as ‘difficult’ to work with after travelling the world with the former actress. The entrepreneur however described Ms Markle as ‘delightful, warm, personable – and hugely charismatic’, someone who instantly brings you into their world.
Yeah. All of this seems on-brand for Meghan, and I mean that in both a good and bad way. On one side, you can interpret this story as Meghan simply being a positive person and believing in an affirmational life, that if you put out good energy, good energy comes back to you. Meghan doesn’t want to hear the negativity because she doesn’t want that energy. It’s admirable and brave, in a way, to live an optimistic life. On the other side, Meghan comes across as someone willfully blind, to the point where she refuses to hear (much less consider) advice given in good faith. Someone who always thinks she knows best, that her positive perspective will always be right.
Photos courtesy of WENN and Backgrid.