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14 Ways Meghan Markle Changed Prince Harry

Marriage changes everyone, even royals.

Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle pose for photographers during a photocall in the grounds of Kensington Palace in LondonAP/Shutterstock

Meghan and Harry

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, we know more about their decision to leave the royal family and the terrible treatment they suffered in the pages of the British press, and even with their own family members. But some changes were already underway, as Harry moved out of the party days of his youth, fell in love, and progressed into a new phase of his life. Here are some ways that being married to Meghan has changed Prince Harry.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (9686355b) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during the Carriage Procession of their wedding in Windsor, Berkshire, UK. The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Windsor, UK - 19 May 2018Shutterstock

He stepped down as a “senior royal”

It’s no secret that being a royal is stressful. On January 8th, 2020, Meghan and Harry announced that they were stepping down as “senior royals.” They made the announcement on their Instagram page, stating, “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have since moved to California and intend to raise their son, Archie, and their forthcoming daughter as private citizens while continuing their life of public service and charity involvement. Here’s what it really means to step back from royal duties.

Prince Harry Opening 'Future' Youth Zone, Barking and Dagenham London, UK - 11 Apr 2019Shutterstock

He’s now a yogi

Meghan Markle is all about yoga. One of the things you might not know about her is that her mom is a professional yoga instructor—and it seems she’s passed her love of the practice to Prince Harry. “We never thought Harry would be raving about yoga, but he loves it,” a source told Vanity Fair. We wonder what this former military member’s favorite pose is: Warrior I, II, or III?

Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, London, UK - 11 Mar 2019Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

He gave up drinking to support Meghan

Even before his infamous strip-billiards-playing days in Las Vegas, Prince Harry had the reputation of being a party boy—but not anymore. He’d already calmed down in recent years, but his wife seems to have proven once and for all that he can happily shed his wild side. Meghan Markle didn’t drink while pregnant (for obvious reasons), and her husband reportedly signed on to join her in her alcohol-free months during her first pregnancy. “Considering he’s been a pretty brutal drinker since he was a young teenager, it’s quite an achievement,” an anonymous source told the Express. To learn more about their relationship, read the real story of how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Morocco - 25 Feb 2019Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

He’s an early riser now

Meghan Markle is quite the early bird, reportedly starting her day by 5 a.m. every day, and it seems her husband is now adjusting his hours to get a little more face time with her. “Harry used to love lying in, but he’s up super early with Meghan,” a source told Vanity Fair. With one toddler already, and a baby on the way, all those early mornings were probably good practice for parenting. Learn why their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was not given a royal title at all to begin with.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Morocco - 25 Feb 2019Shutterstock

His diet has changed

Meghan Markle has always been vocal about her love for food and healthy eating, often including posts on the subject on her now-defunct blog, The Tig. She’s the type of person who says a gluten-free diet makes her skin glow, and who drinks hot lemon water to boost digestion, according to an interview with Delish from her Suits days. And she now seems to have preached the benefits of clean eating to Prince Harry, who reportedly starts his day with a green juice. “Meghan is definitely behind his new regimen,” a source told Vanity Fair. “They both see a nutritionist and are into their supplements.” But Harry isn’t the only one who’s changed because of their relationship.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex tour of New Zealand - 30 Oct 2018Shutterstock

He’s been working out more

It’s not all about yoga in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s household. Prince Harry reportedly works out first thing in the morning and has started wearing the sleep and fitness tracker Oura Ring during the day, presumably to make sure he’s hitting his target step count. He’s stopped drinking, he’s stopped partying—what could be next, going back to using his real name?

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Morocco - 24 Feb 2019Shutterstock

He’s kicked cigarettes

Prince Harry picked up smoking when he was a teenager, and could reportedly smoke a pack a day just a few years ago. But all that changed when he got engaged to non-smoker Meghan Markle, who apparently didn’t want the smell of cigarettes lingering around (understandable!). “Harry has promised no smoking at all at home. It’s not nice for Meghan as a non-smoker,” a source told the Daily Mail. “So there’s no more hanging out of the window for a quick puff. Harry has quit for Meghan.” Sometimes, you just need the right motivation to make better health choices! Guess their wedding isn’t the only thing changing history.

Easter Sunday service, St George's Chapel, Windsor, UK - 21 Apr 2019Shutterstock

He’s becoming more private

During all of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton’s births, the royals would introduce the new royal babies to the world soon after the birth, with their husbands at their sides. But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not do the post-birth photo-op. Instead, they waited a few days before showing baby Archie to the world.

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Australia, Sydney - 28 Oct 2018JOEL CARRETT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

He’s distancing himself from reporters

In the past, Prince Harry and Prince William also made a point of buddying up with the media during world tours, inviting them for drinks or tea. So when Harry and Meghan skipped the tradition during their Australia tour, royal reporters weren’t impressed. “We’d get together in a pub and we’d talk about everything, get it off our plate,” Arthur Edwards, a photographer for The Sun, told the New York Times. “It would be frank and open, and you never reported it. Now, it’s not even ‘Good morning.’ Nothing. He treats us just like telegraph poles now.” And after what we know now about how Harry and especially Meghan were treated by the press, we can’t blame them. Telegraph poles have better manners, and don’t spread wild conspiracy theories like these.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex tour of Australia - 27 Oct 2018Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

His social crowd is changing

Plenty of people complain that couples stop hanging with friends as much after they get married, and pals of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no different. It’s no secret that Harry’s former crowd was of the partying sort, but as a husband and father his priorities have now changed. The move to California probably prompted a reduction in socializing with old friends, too. Or maybe his friends just didn’t know these things about Prince Harry.

Royals, London, United Kingdom - 06 Mar 2019Matt Dunham/AP/Shutterstock

His speeches have a new spin

In March of 2019, Prince Harry spoke at an event for WE Charity, which aims to encourage social activism among young people. Although the famously cruel British tabloids dismissed it as “mumbo jumbo… hippie talk” in the Daily Star, the crowd seemed to love his encouraging words about de-stigmatizing mental health, and fighting climate change. “I know you don’t sit back and wait for reactions, you take action and create them…. I am with you, we are with you!” he told the audience. Wife Meghan also made a surprise appearance as Harry gave her a shoutout, noting her favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” His mother Princess Diana, a humanitarian herself, would have been proud. Here’s 15 adorable photos of mother and son.

Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, London, UK - 10 Oct 2018Shutterstock

Harry and William have drifted apart

Prince Harry has always been close with Prince William, but as he admitted in the recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, their relationship is “space, at the moment.” Harry added that while he “loves his brother to bits,” they’re currently on “different paths.” However, Harry seemed hopeful that they could repair their relationship in time. Most of us have some experience with sibling rivalry, but it’s probably a bit different when your brother is going to be King of England some day! We bet Harry knows these facts about Prince William, but you probably don’t.

Prince Harry Opening 'Future' Youth Zone, Barking and Dagenham London, UK - 11 Apr 2019Shutterstock

He’s getting more serious (or maybe just growing up!)

Ever since his marriage, Prince Harry has lost his mischievous, boyish grin in favor of a more serious, adult expression, according to body language Judi James. “These displays look less about Harry getting grumpy and more about Harry growing up,” she told the Express. “He’d had three decades of being in the roles of the younger brother, son, grandson, and ‘Party Prince’ of the royals, and then he met Meghan and became a husband, father, and fellow campaigner.” For more body language insights, check out these photos of Harry and Meghan analyzed by a professional.

Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime SpecialHandout/Getty Images

Meghan saved him

One of the sweetest and saddest things to come out of the recent interview with Oprah Winfrey was Harry’s admission that he had felt trapped as a royal before he met Meghan. “Without question she saved me,” he said, saying that he didn’t see a way out before, and that he did not think he could have stepped back from royal life without Meghan. Harry also expressed compassion for his brother, Prince William, and father, Prince Charles, who he also described as trapped and unable to leave. Next, check out the most iconic photos from Harry and Meghan’s marriage (so far!)

Sources:

  • Instagram.com: “@SussexRoyal, Jan 8th 2020”
  • Vanity Fair: “How Marriage Has Transformed Former Wild Child Prince Harry”
  • The Express: “Meghan Markle’s change in Harry ‘an achievement'”
  • Delish: “What Megan Markle Actually Eats in a Day”
  • People.com: “We solved Prince Harry’s new mystery ring!”
  • The Daily Mail: “How WILL Harry cope?”
  • The New York Times: “Scorned British Tabloids to Harry and Meghan: Show Us Your Baby!”
  • Twitter.com: “@OmidScobie Prince Harry’s WEDayUK speech in full”
  • The Daily Star: “Meghan Markle has turned Prince Harry”
  • The Express: “Royal FEUD”
  • The New York Times: “A Raw Look Behind Palace Doors as Meghan and Harry Meet With Oprah”

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.