Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is one of the most talked-about events of 2018. And it’s easy to get caught up in dissecting every detail about the ceremony, the reception, the guest list, and the dress.
But at the center of this exciting event are two pretty remarkable public figures. And though they’re rich, royal and famous, it turns out the origins of their love affair are anything but ritzy. It wasn’t just Markle’s beauty, poise and intelligence that attracted Harry. In fact, one of her lesser-known traits made him realize she is the one.
1. Markle has always been outspoken
Meghan Markle has been making headlines since she was 11. | Adrian Dennis/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Long before she was an actress, and the future Mrs. Prince Harry, Markle was already making headlines. At just 11 years old, she became a feminist activist when she saw a TV ad she thought was sexist.
The Proctor & Gamble ad promoted a dish soap stating, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” Markle wrote to the company — as well as other prominent women in America, like then-first lady Hillary Clinton — to remind them that men wash dishes, too.
Her letter got the attention of Nick News and even sent Linda Ellerbe to interview her. She explained why she was so frustrated with the ad, telling Ellerbe, “I don’t think it’s right for kids to grow up thinking these things where just mom does everything.”
Markle’s campaign worked. Proctor & Gamble changed the ad to say, “People all over America.” And that wasn’t the last time the young woman would use her voice for positive change.
2. She now speaks for women on a global level
Meghan Markle is a longtime outspoken advocate for women’s rights. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Markle never lost her passion for feminism as she grew up. And though she was mostly known for her work as an actress on Suits, she has done a lot of work behind the scenes to advocate for gender equality.
She’s currently an advocate for UN Women and even addressed the organization’s 20th anniversary conference in 2015. And women’s rights isn’t the only issue she’s passionate about.
3. Markle’s activist deeds are far-reaching
Meghan Markle has a long history of activism. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images
In addition to her work for women, Markle has spent much of her time advocating for children across the globe. She’s a global ambassador for World Vision, which focuses on youth and poverty. And she has worked as a counselor for One Young World, which works to empower young leaders.
Markle has also added her voice to the conversation around racial equality. In 2015, she penned an essay for Elle Magazine about her experience as a biracial woman. Little did she know at the time that her racial identity would become a lightning rod for troublesome controversy when she and Prince Harry went public with their relationship a year later.
4. Markle and Prince Harry have one crucial thing in common
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first public appearance at the Invictus Games.. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images
When Harry and Markle announced they were dating in 2016, many wondered what they could possibly see in each other. After all, they come from wildly different backgrounds. She’s American and divorced; he’s British and, well, a prince.
But Harry also has a passion for philanthropy. He’s worked with countless charity and activist organizations and events, like Invisible Wounds and the International AIDS Conference. And he’s acted as patron for the Invictus Games, which supports wounded soldiers, and patron and co-founder of Sentebale, which works to support impoverished youth in Lothoso and Botswana.
Despite their devotion to philanthropy, Markle and Harry may never have met if it weren’t for a friend who thought their commonalities might make them a good match.
5. Markle was attracted to Harry’s humanitarian work
The two bonded over their philanthropic work. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images
A mutual friend introduced Harry and Markle, because she had a feeling their shared interests would make them a good match. And their mutual interest in humanitarian efforts was, indeed, a big topic of conversation on their first date.
Markle told the BBC, “It was really one of the first things we connected on. It was one of the first things we started talking about when we met was just the different things we wanted to do in the world and how passionate we were about seeing change.”
And for Harry, Markle’s commitment to causes bigger than herself was a huge draw, too.
6. Harry fell in love with Markle’s philanthropic heart
Prince Harry fell in love with Meghan Markle’s compassion. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Harry reportedly knew from the very first date that Markle was “the one.” A source familiar with the couple said, “One of the first things they spoke about was all the work she does with shelter animals. He loves that she’s so caring.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Harry would fall in love with a woman with a passion for philanthropy. After all, it’s in his DNA.
7. He sees something of his mother in Markle
Harry thinks Meghan Markle and his late mother would’ve been best friends. | Andy Stenning/AFP/Getty Images
One of the defining moments in Harry’s life was the death of his mother, Princess Diana. And part of the reason he’s worked so tirelessly on his own philanthropic missions is because she instilled those values in him. So it makes perfect sense that he’d seek out a partner who shared that vision.
During an interview with the BBC, Harry said he believed that Markle and his mother would have had a lot in common. In fact, he thinks they would have been “best friends” if they’d had a chance to meet. And it’s clear that even though that can’t be the case, the couple will work hard to establish their own humanitarian legacy.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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