Harry and Meghan united by legacy of childhoods in broken homes

Royal family assumed the relationship would not last because Meghan was an actress

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's controversial documentary has aired on Netflix.
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Prince Harry has spoken about how he and Meghan united around the shared experience of being children from broken homes.

Meghan said she wanted to live a nuclear family life and even read a childhood poem about yearning for the experience. Her estranged father Thomas Markle was a pillar of her early years, she admits.

"I was a daddy's girl my whole life and I was with him a lot," she said.

The UK royal made reference to the failure of King Charles marriage to the late Princess Diana, as well as the splits in Meghan's family.

"What's most important to the two of us is to make sure that we don't repeat the same mistakes that perhaps our parents made," he said.

"I think most kids who are the product of divorced parents have a lot in common, no matter what your background is.

"Being pulled from once place to another or maybe your parents are competitive, or you're in one place longer than you want to be or in another place less than you want to be. There's all sorts of pieces to that."

The instinct to protect Harry's family came to the fore as the press interest in the relationship took a toxic turn.

“My job is to keep my family safe,” said the second-born son of King Charles. “I’m genuinely concerned for the safety of my family.”

Meghan spoke of how he tried to cope with the pressures of the high -profile relationship. "When all of that started happening my friends and people in my life who love me and care about me are like, 'is he worth this?'" she said. "We know that you're happy and we know that you love him. Is he worth this? Look at what's happening to your life."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York, December 6, 2022.  Reuters

Harry said the couple had to wear disguises to go out on a date.

"Dating became this combination of car chases and disguises, which isn't a particularly healthy way to start a relationship but we always came at it with as much humour as possible," he said. "When we saw each other. We would just give each other a massive hug and try and have as much of a normal life as possible."

It was the hugging that proved the first test in meeting her prospective sister-in-law, Kate, Princess of Wales. "It's like I was a hugger," she said. "Always been a hugger. I didn't realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits. I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside is carried through on the inside."

The first meeting with the late Queen Elizabeth was equally a culture shock. "I didn't know I was going to meet her until moments before we were in the car," she recalled. "He's like 'oh my grandmother's here, she's gonna be there after church'.

"We're in the car and driving up and he's says 'you know how to curtsy right and I just thought it was a joke."

Harry admitted the formalities were shocking to her as they arrived. "How do you explain that?" he asked. "Like that's weird. I remember my family first meeting.

"I was dating an American actress, that was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else. This is an American actress ― this won't last."

Meghan agreed that her profession was a stumbling block to acceptance. "I was an actress, that was the biggest problem," she said. "Funnily enough, because there is a big idea of what that looks like.

"From the UK standpoint, Hollywood is very easy for them to typecast like that."

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex through the years - in pictures

Updated: December 08, 2022, 10:01 AM