The Secret Heartache That Truly Bonded Harry and Meghan

At first blush, it might appear the ginger-haired British prince and his American wife make an unlikely couple. But their romance bloomed quickly, and when you scratch the surface, it becomes apparent: These two had everything in common that actually mattered.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of SussexShutterstock

He’s a British Prince Charming, born to the monarchy. She’s an former actress, born to regular American working folk. He’s younger than her by several years. She’s already been married and divorced. He grew up in a palace in London. She grew up eating dinner in front of the television.

Yet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem a match made in heaven, in large part because they share important values (the desire to make the world a better place, for example), which psychologists see as a major predictor of relationship success. But there’s another part of the equation, and it may be the reason they bonded so quickly when they met on a blind date just two years ago. “Both Harry and Meghan suffered traumatic losses during their childhoods,” Fran Walfish, PhD, a Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist tells Reader’s Digest, referring to the divorces of their respective parents, as well as the loss of Prince Harry’s mom, Princess Diana.This is potentially a powerful bond that could be the permanent glue in their relationship.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, separated when Harry was eight and divorced when he was 12, but the marriage had been miserable almost from the get-go, and, arguably, had broken down irreparably by the time Harry was born. (Here’s the heartbreaking comment Prince Charles made to Diana after Harry’s birth that may have cemented their marriage’s doom.) Meghan’s parents divorced when she was six, having separated when she was two. Both were shuttled between parents, although Meghan has fond memories of the back-and-forthing, whereas Harry does not. But that difference may only strengthen the newlyweds’ bond. According to Psychology Today, relationships can be a place where we heal from childhood traumas. Meghan’s upbeat attitude about the way things went in the aftermath of her parents’ divorce may encourage Harry to reprocess his negative experiences into something more positive.

Something else Meghan and Harry have in common is, despite the demise of their parents’ marriages, each had parents who were particularly influential in their lives and who they’d become. Meghan’s parents instilled in her a sense of adventure, the ability to mix with people from all walks of life, and a desire to help repair the ills of the world. Regardless of their fundamental differences in upbringing, the same can most certainly be said about Harry, despite him losing his mother at age 13. Don’t miss these rarely seen photos of Prince Harry and Princess Diana.

Meghan and Harry’s first date was a blind date, arranged by mutual friends. After two dates, they were already planning a major trip together; for date three, they went camping in Botswana, South Africa. “They fell in love with nothing around them,” Meghan’s longtime friend, Janina Gavanker, told Elite Daily. “No frills. No bells and whistles.” Just two humans in a bare wilderness, baring their souls and doing the philanthropic work so important to both of them.

These days, Meghan has been connecting with Harry’s dad, Prince Charles, reinforcing the relationship between son and father. And Harry has stood by Meghan as she’s dealt with the drama surrounding her father, Thomas Markle. Clearly, Meghan and Harry are who they are, in part, because of their childhoods, and it’s made them a stronger couple. Read on for more unlikely royal friendships that will surprise you.

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Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.