The accent, the foppish gestures and the distinct lack of machismo won over female Yanks long before Prince Harry caught their attention.
Now that Meghan Markle has snared the world's most eligible bachelor will marital bliss continue after the confetti has been swept up and the dress packed away?
Living in Britain ain’t for sissies – as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna can testify.
Madge honked on about the Victorian state of our hospitals – even refusing to give birth here.
While vaginal steam fan Gwyneth bitched about the rain and dirty streets before retreating to La-La Land.
We spoke to four American brides who married their British blokes in spite of howling differences.
I MADE THE FIRST MOVE AND WENT IN FOR A KISS – BRITISH MEN ARE SO LAID BACK
Kristen Dobbins, 33, from North Carolina is married to Adam, 30, from Loughton, Essex. They live in Islington, North London. Kristen is a special needs teacher and Adam works in real estate investment.
Kristen says: Adam and I met six years ago in Miami.
I was on vacation with my sister and he was on holiday with a group of male friends. We were at the same South Beach bar and sat at tables next to each other.
His friends started chatting to my girlfriends and me. Adam finally worked up the courage to say hello.
We spent the entire night talking! Growing up I had a huge crush on Princes William and Harry.
That’s when I fell in love with the British accent. I made the first move on Adam and went in for a kiss.
My sister approved and told my parents how great he is.
A few weeks after he returned home we knew after chatting via Skype that we wanted to be together.
I’m from the south – think women like Reese Witherspoon.
We’re used to gentleman paying for dinner and opening doors for us. Fortunately Adam behaved like a true gent. If he said he would call, he always did.
We never had 'the talk' about being exclusive. I just didn't worry about any other women in his life.
And, we said 'I love you' soon after we met. To the amazement of everyone I moved to London seven months later.
My family thought I had lost my mind.
When I first arrived in London I thought I was ready for the dry sense of humour – I wasn’t!
It’s taken me a few years to understand TV shows like Extras and Alan Partridge.
I made the first move on Adam and went in for a kiss
Adam finds them hilarious yet they make me uncomfortable. Then there are the slang words. I’d never heard the terms ‘w***er’ or ‘what a knob!’ before.
Four years after I moved to the UK I came home one Friday in tears.
My visa had almost ran out and I would have to go back to America.
Then came the most unromantic proposal of all time.
British men are more laid back than American men when it comes to relationships. Adam casually said, 'So should we get married, then?' My immediate response was, 'Yes we should!'
After four-and-a-half years, two visas, buying a house together, thousands of dollars and pounds spent on being together – it was about time he put a ring on it.
Four days later we went down to Islington Town Hall and made it official. At our traditional wedding last August in America, he gave me a 'proper' engagement ring.
Already my British ways were rubbing off on me. American weddings are low key. I wanted wine on every table which shocked the event organisers.
An American bridal party would never do that. We ended up having to ‘buy’ extra hours at the venue to stay open until 2am for our British guests.
Now we’re married we arranging Adam's visa for America.
I want to raise our children in the US – fortunately Adam agrees.
My advice to Meghan is: The British accent never gets old so enjoy listening to it forever!
LEAVING MY FAMILY WAS HARD, I WAS SO HOMESICK
Colleen Monaghan, 27, PR Manager, is married to Ciaran James, 30, Product Manager. They live in Clapham, South London.
Colleen says: Ciaran and I met in June 2012 when I worked as an intern in London.
An American guy would have been forward and just asked me out, but Ciaran didn’t show his emotions easily.
I didn’t even realise he liked me. I didn’t understand each time he suggested lunch he was asking me out on a date!
I finally agreed to go out with him on the last day of my placement.
Ciaran came with me to the airport when I was returning to the US.
He blurted out that I was ‘The One’ but I immediately broke it off. I worried about a long distance relationship.
While we didn’t speak for five months I constantly wondered ‘what if.’
British men are a lot more chivalrous than American guys
At the end of November, Ciaran texted me ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ It was a moment straight out of a rom com.
I thought, ‘What am I doing? I need to make this work.’ We started travelling back and forth.
Our first kiss was instigated by him and happened at a train station as he was leaving to go on a holiday.
There was an electric spark. I don’t think he meant to kiss me goodbye but just felt like second nature in a way.
British men are a lot more chivalrous than American guys. Ciaran used to send me flowers every other week, and would wine and dine me on fancy date nights.
In August 2014 he came to Kansas for my birthday and proposed. I burst into tears and said yes.
Our wedding was on the Isle of Wight. We had our reception outside as well as dancing on the terrace to an amazing band. It was very boozy.
At the end of the year I moved to the UK. Leaving my family was hard. I was really homesick.
When we first lived together we were eating shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash. They took some getting used to!
I grew up on burgers and steak – typical American grill food.
The first time I made Ciaran a cup of tea, it was a herbal tea by mistake. When he tasted it he spluttered, ‘What's this?’
He was disgusted because I'd left the tea bag in too, explaining, ‘Darling, when you make a British cup of tea, it’s always English Breakfast Tea with the bag out.’
There has been a bit of a language barrier. On the way to a football match he told me he needed to stop and fill the car with petrol.
I had no idea what he was on about! Even though his friends make fun of him, now he even calls petrol 'gas.'
We love going to quirky pubs for a pint after work. Ciaran and me often have Sunday roast with my in-laws at their local pub. I’m really lucky having fantastic in-laws. My mum-in-law and me are so alike people assume we’re sisters.
We will raise our kids in the UK. All of our friends are here, our jobs and great family support. My family love to come and visit.
My advice to Meghan: Don’t change your accent. Stay true to yourself. You are who you are. Be proud to be from the US and don’t forget where you are from.
I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH BRITAIN’S BOOZING CULTURE
Meghan Fenn, 36, author of Bringing Up Brits is married to Nick, 39, Vice Principal of PACA Adult Learning. They live in Worthing, West Sussex, with their three children: Samuel, 16, Anna Grace, 15 and Jonah, nine.
Meghan says: I thought it would be really easy to integrate and slot into British life. That was not the case.
It takes Brits longer to warm to people if they are from overseas. The fondness comes eventually, but not straight away.
We met in 1994 in an expat bar in Prague, I left the US to become an English teacher at the University. Nick was also teaching English at the British School.
A few days after I had arrived, an English colleague invited us Americans to meet her British friends.
They were drinking huge pint glasses of beer and we got very drunk. By the end of the night Nick was sitting next to me – smitten.
The drinking and pub culture is one thing to get to grips with
With Nick I have had to learn to take the p*** out of him and vice versa. When he would first do it I thought it meant he didn’t like me.
It took me a while to understand it’s a term of endearment. We moved in together a year later and were ‘exclusive’ from then on.
I made the mistake early on of saying I liked football. I meant that yes, I thought football was fine.
But he took it to mean that I liked it by British standards – that I supported teams and went to see football matches.
So our first date was at a sports bar. To this day, he still thinks I 'lied' to him by saying that I 'liked' football.
Nick really wanted to live in England so I agreed to try life in the UK. I thought it would be for only one year.
When we got married in Telford, where Nick is from, and there was none of the formality associated with American weddings.
There was no bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. Instead we had a big party. My family thought it was strange and lacking in ‘ceremony’.
There is so much indirect language here. After lots of conversations I’m left thinking ‘did we decide to do something or not?’ So many times I hear, ‘well, we could do it!’ or ‘hmmmm let me think about that!’
Normally I’d expect a decision to be made there and then. Even today it is frustrating.
I found the culture shock to be more difficult than when I had lived in Japan for a while!
The drinking and pub culture is one thing to get to grips with. I had to adapt to how many pints I could knock back.
I tried to keep up with the drinking side of life here. But when I had kids I let out a sigh of relief that I no longer had to do it.
Our expectations for our kids are different. For example, I expect them to go to university.
It was something that everyone did when I was growing up.
That’s not the case with my husband – he doesn’t automatically expect them to do that. I would be gutted if they didn’t go.
American brides who married Brits offer their advice to Meghan Markle
- The British accent never gets old so enjoy listening to it forever
- Don’t change your accent. Stay true to yourself. You are who you are. Be proud to be from the US and don’t forget where you are from
- If in doubt ask. Don’t ever assume you know what someone is on about. Assume nothing!
- Embrace the differences between the two cultures and enjoy being part of both. You’ll gain a wider perception of the world outside of the the USA
No one is surprised I married a Brit. Nick is the quintessential English man. He is very posh like Hugh Grant – at least that's how he sounds to me.
We are still amazed at how we sometimes do not understand each other even though we both speak the same language (but not!).
Americans are more direct and sometimes can make a big show of things. British people are more reserved and take longer to voice an opinion.
His reaction to things compared to my reaction is still very stiff upper lip. Americans are sometimes wrongly accused of being shallow because they might make some rash comments.
It doesn’t mean that we are not thinking through the situation as deeply as the other person. My husband and I have clashed because of this.
But now, because we know and understand this, it gets resolved quickly.
I’ve introduced Thanksgiving to our kids. Even though we can’t celebrate it because it doesn’t exist here, they realise that’s important to give thanks – and they love it.
My husband grew up with the traditional weekly Sunday dinner. He cooks it every week. It’s an important thing for us to do all together.
Advice to Meghan: If in doubt ask. Don’t ever assume you know what someone is on about. Assume nothing!
I’VE HAD TO LEARN TO SPEAK A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE
Jenn Podevin, 44, special needs teacher is married to Robert , 45, and IT infrastructure manager. They live in Swindon with their sons aged 16 and 11.
Jenn says: After I graduated from university at 21, I came to the UK for a year volunteering with troubled kids.
I binge-watched Absolutely Fabulous in the months leading up to my departure. Being a typical American, I'd assumed the UK wasn't that different from home.
Nothing was the same! The road signs, the size of houses, the style of dress and even the sense of humour. I had to really strain to understand strong accents.
Doing my own washing up was a new one, too. I was amazed houses weren't routinely fitted with dishwashers. I even had to walk everywhere or take the bus. It was an eye opener for me.
I had to learn to speak a whole new language too. I went from saying, 'Hey guys, keep it down,' to 'Oi! Pack it in!' I was sent to Sainsbury's to get some food for a children's games day.
Someone in the shop had to help me. I had no idea what boiled sweets, golden syrup and strawberry laces were.
I had no idea what boiled sweets, golden syrup and strawberry laces were
Robert took me under his wing. He taught me how to drive a manual minibus on the opposite side of the road. Everyone at work teased Rob because he fancied me.
A month later, we started dating.
Even though Rob went to boarding school from eight, he isn’t reserved in the way Americans sometimes think Brits are. Instead he was the perfect gent – wanting to look out for me, which I loved.
Three months after we started dating, my father was involved in a serious horse-riding accident. I returned home not knowing if I would come back to the UK or if my relationship with Rob would continue long distance.
Rob managed to save up to fly out to El Paso, Texas, to see me a month later. When he arrived, he had a panic attack! He simply couldn’t imagine living in Texas.
It was too different for him. He hated the vastness of the state.
Fortunately my father recovered. Rob enticed me back to the UK telling me he’d watch Friends with me.
He also tempted me with the news that Ocean Spray Cranberry juice was on sale. It's the little things that make the difference and I caved in.
People used to take the mickey, teasing me by saying Americans were thick, loud and talked a lot. Fortunately it doesn't happen as much these days.
Advice to Meghan: Embrace the differences between the two cultures and enjoy being part of both! You’ll gain a wider perception of the world outside of the the USA.
Meanwhile, these are Meghan Markle's favourite books, including The Little Prince and The Dress.
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