What did Meghan Markle really know about the Royals before meeting Harry?

·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

Watch: Prince Harry and Meghan star in trailer for duke's Apple TV mental health show

An old photograph of Meghan Markle holding a magazine with the Duchess of Cambridge on the cover has resurfaced on social media, leading to fresh questions over what she knew about the Royal Family before marrying Prince Harry.

Meghan has previously said that growing up, she knew very little about the Royal Family and was unfamiliar with tabloid newspapers in the UK. She made the comments in interviews discussing her decision to step back from senior royal life with husband Harry.

A picture originally shared in October 2014, however, shows her posing with a copy of U Magazine, a glossy Irish women's publication, which bore a headline about her future sister-in-law Kate – wrongly suggesting she was having twins. The picture has been shared widely again over the last few days.

Kate has three children, but no twins, and would have been pregnant with her daughter Charlotte at the time of the magazine's publication.

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The story appears to be based on bookies suspending betting at the time that Kate was going to have twins.

Meghan, now 39, reportedly spoke about her favourite sunglasses in a piece in the next issue, which also included an interview with Irish band The Coronas.

Earlier in the day, the former deputy editor of U, Denise Cash, had tweeted followers about the interview with Meghan, asking for suggestions for questions to ask the Suits star.

U Magazine announced it would be ending print publication in July 2018.

The picture, which is nearly seven years old and was taken at least two years before Meghan met Harry, has reignited the questions about what she might have known before she met the prince.

Meghan said in the couple's engagement interview with Mishal Husain that she had not known much about the royals.

She said: "I'm from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the Royal Family and so while I now understand very clearly, there’s a global interest there. I didn’t know much about him, and so the only thing that I had asked her when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, I had one question. I said, 'Well is he nice?' 

"Cause if he wasn't kind, it didn’t seem like it would make sense and so we met for a drink, and then I think very quickly, we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.'"

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 19:  Meghan Markle arrives at the NBC/Universal 2014 TCA Winter press tour held at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 19, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Meghan Markle at the NBC/Universal 2014 TCA Winter press tour in Pasadena, California. (Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

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Prince Harry said in that interview: "[I] tried to warn try to warn you as much as possible but I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction after the first five, six months (which) we had to ourselves, with what actually happened from then.

"I think you can have as many conversations as you want and try and prepare as much as possible. But we were totally unprepared for what happened after that."

He went on: "I still have to have some pretty frank conversations with her to say, you know, 'what you're letting yourself in for ... it's a big deal and it's not ... easy for anybody.'"

In her interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, Meghan said she had not researched Harry before she met, and went on to claim that she'd not been well prepared by palace staff either, saying she had been left to find the words to the British national anthem alone.

She said: "I never looked up my husband online. I just didn't feel the need to, because everything that I needed to know, he was sharing with me - or everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me."

Meghan also told Winfrey: "Eugenie and I had known each other before I had known Harry, so that was comfortable."

Another image which occasionally resurfaces shows a 15-year-old Meghan posing outside Buckingham Palace with a friend on a holiday to London.

There are various reports of friends of Meghan suggesting she had a copy of a biography on Diana. 

Ninaki Priddy, who was Meghan's maid of honour when she married Trevor Engelson, told the Mail in 2018: "[Meghan] was always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0."

Other claims by the Duchess of Sussex of her time as a senior royal have been at odds with accounts from palace staff – leading the Queen to issue a rare statement after the Winfrey interview, pointing out that "recollections may vary".

Watch: Prince Harry candidly speaks about his own royal upbringing