Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
In the first episode of the couple's Netflix docuseries, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reflected on the early days of their romance and their quick connection. Meghan — an American actress who had been married before — was not the typical royal bride-to-be.
"I think for so many people in the family, especially obviously the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mold, as opposed to somebody who you are perhaps destined to be with," Harry said.
"The difference between making decisions with your head or your heart," Prince Harry continued, thinking of his mother Princess Diana. "And my mom certainly made most of her decisions, if not all of them, from her heart. And I am my mother's son."
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry reflected on his mother in the show, saying that he didn't have "any early memories" of Princess Diana, who died when he was 12.
"The majority of my memories are being swarmed by paparazzi," he continued. "Rarely would we have a holiday without someone with a camera jumping out of a bush. Within the family, the system, the advice is always 'don't react, don't feed into it.' "
He added there was always public pressure "with its fair share of drama, stress, and also tears and witnessing those tears. I always see it on my mom's face. And I guess those are the moments when I thought, okay, hang on. Maybe what am I? Who am I? What am I part of?"
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Elsewhere in the series, Prince Harry said that his family was "incredibly impressed" with Meghan when they first met her.
"I think they were surprised," he said. "Maybe surprised that a ginger could land such a beautiful woman and such an intelligent woman."
"But the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else at the beginning. 'Oh, she's an American actress — this won't last,' " he added.
Meghan agreed that as their relationship blossomed, "the actress thing was the biggest problem, funny enough."
DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex also had to adjust to both cultural differences in the U.K. and protocol within the royal family. Meghan described her first time meeting Kate Middleton when the now-Princess of Wales came over for dinner with Prince William.
"I remember I was in ripped jeans and barefoot," Meghan said. "Like I was a hugger, always been a hugger. I didn't realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits."
"I guess I'd start to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside, carried through on the inside," she continued. "There is a forward-facing way of being and then you close the door and you relax now. But that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me."
"It's so funny if I look back at it now because now I know so much," Meghan added. "And I'm so glad I didn't then because I could just authentically be myself without so much preparedness."
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan also admitted to performing an over-the-top curtsy the first time she met Prince Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
"And I remember we were in the car and we were driving up, and he's like, 'You know how to curtsy, right?' And I just thought it was a joke," Meghan, 41, deadpanned.
"How do you explain that to people?" Prince Harry, 38, added. "How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother and that you would need to curtsy? Especially to an American. That's weird."