Did you know that Prince Harry was crushing on Meghan Markle for two years before they were eventually introduced?
Or that Markle once told the creator of Suits that she was refusing to take part in any ‘gratuitous’ scenes when she got fed up with her character being written into scenes wearing nothing but a towel?
Well, neither did we until we got a sneak preview of Channel 4’s When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance.
The documentary – out on Saturday 29 October at 9pm – is an illuminating and positive portrait of Meghan Markle – not just as an ambitious actress, but as an active humanitarian who applies her feminism to her every day work. And how she could potentially be our perfect princess if that royal engagement really is imminent.
Here’s nine things we learned about Markle and her relationship with Prince Harry:
1. PRINCE HARRY HAS BASICALLY ENDED UP WITH HIS CELEBRITY CRUSH
Just when you thought their relationship couldn’t possibly sound even more like a real-life, Prince Harry reportedly had a crush on Meghan Markle for two years before they met.
According to royal commentator Katie Nicholl, Harry had told friends that Marke was his “ideal woman” after becoming a huge fan of her hit series Suits, and falling for her formidable character Rachel Zane.
“He had a crush on Rachel Zane two years before he met Meghan and the reason I know is because I was having drinks with one of his friends,” Nicholl says.
‘She [Harry’s friend] told me she’d been on a night out with Prince Harry. He was single at the time, so she said, “Harry, who’s your ideal girl?” And he said ‘Meghan Markle from Suits’.”
2. AND HERE’S A REMINDER OF HOW HARRY MET MEGHAN…
Last summer, Prince Harry asked their mutual friend Markus Anderson for an introduction when he was in London with Meghan Markle, who happened to be supporting close friend Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
As Anderson is a consultant of Soho House, he arranged the meeting at Dean Street’s Soho House with a group of friends – cupid Anderson included – and the pair apparently hit it off immediately. It’s claimed that Markle wasn’t swayed by Harry’s royal status, but was apparently charmed by his cuteness.
Nicholl added: ‘He asked Markus if he could set up, not a date, but an opportunity for them to meet and that happened in one of the private rooms of Soho House.
“There were about seven or eight of them altogether and it was a perfect opportunity for Harry and Meghan to come together in a really informal environment and actually talk.
“She was funny, feisty, confident and she wasn’t swayed or knocked by the fact that he was Prince Harry. She thought he was terribly cute.”
And shortly after, the pair began their secret, long-distance relationship.
3. MARKLE WAS ONCE “SUITCASE GIRL NUMBER 24” ON AMERICA’S “DEAL OR NO DEAL”
We’ve all got to start somewhere, and one of Markle’s first ever jobs was as a “suitcase girl” on the US version of Deal or No Deal. Her main role was to entice contestants on whether her suitcase contained one dollar, or a million dollars.
Markle has previously spoken out about the challenges of securing a part in Hollywood as a mixed race woman in her thought-provoking essay on identity for Elle.
She wrote: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
That all changed after Suits, but it had been a struggle for Markle before her breakout role as Rachel Zane.
4. MARKLE SHOWED HER TALENT FOR COMEDY IN ROM-COM ‘RANDOM ENCOUNTERS’
Back in 2010, Markle landed a part as the sassy best friend in low-budget comedy movie Random Encounters opposite Abby Wathen.
Director Boris Undorf commended Markle’s professionalism during the 18-day shoot, which consisted of long hours and little pay.
“All the comforts of a bigger project weren’t there,” Undorf said. “She was very much like, ‘Yep, I got it. I know it’s long hours, but I love doing it, and I’ll do my best to serve the film, not just myself’.”
Co-star and friend Wathen added: “It was great to work with her because she’s a pro, and it’s great to work with pros… It was lovely. We sat in my trailer and just giggled. She’s just vivacious.”
5. MEGHAN MARKLE ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM YORKSHIRE
While Markle grew up in a leafy LA suburb, historian Andy Ulicny reveals that her great great grandmother, Martha Sykes can be traced back to England.
Ulicny claims that Sykes – on her father Thomas Markle’s side – was born in Yorkshire, before moving to the US with her parents, Thomas and Mary, when she was one.
“Most likely the Sykes family came from Yorkshire, a coal mining region, and the name Sykes was popular up that way,” Ulicny explained in the production.
This was deducted from a copy of the 1870 census from the Mahanoy Township in Schuylkill County, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, which showed that the family was living with three-year-old Martha in the mining area of Pennsylvania.
The family left England in 1869 during the reign of Prince Harry’s relative Queen Victoria in the search of a better life in America. However, Martha’s father Thomas died of heart failure while working in a local colliery, and was survived by his wife and five children.
Ex-miner Perry Pillar predicted that the family would have lived in ‘a poor rough lumber home with no indoor plumbing with open sewers outside’.
6. THE QUEEN IS “DELIGHTED” BY HARRY’S RELATIONSHIP WITH MARKLE
The royal family are something of an enigma so it’s hard to know what they really think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship – although it was recently reported that Harry has introduced Markle to the Queen over tea at Buckingham Palace.
But royal correspondent Nicholl insists the Queen is “delighted” by their coupling, explaining simply: “All the Queen wants is for her children and her grandchildren to be happy.
“If Prince Harry is happy with Meghan, there is really no concerns on the Queen’s side.”
7. MARKLE IS A HUMANITARIAN AT HEART
American journalist and TV writer Marc Bernadin confirms what we already know – Markle is “more than your average actress, and understands the world has bigger needs”.
She took the unusual step in shadowing a UN intern when was she was made UN women’s advocate for Political Participation and Leadership, admitting she wanted to fully immerse herself in the role and get a wider understanding of it.
Markle is also an ambassador for Canada’s World Vision Clean Water campaign has travelled to Rwanda as part of her campaigning.
And of course she gave a stirring speech about feminism before the UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon in 2015.
“She has this genuine passion to help other people, she really is a humanitarian at heart that’s what she wants to do,” royal correspondent Nicholl said.