Any bride, a week before her wedding, looks forward to sitting back and watching as the final details she’s worked so hard to arrange fall into place. For Meghan Markle — who is set to become royalty on May 19 when she says “I do” to Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle — that precision is even more important.
So when news broke May 13 that her father, Thomas Markle Sr., had staged paparazzi photos for cash, Markle was horrified. “Meghan is upset and disturbed by the entire ordeal and just wants to move past it,” a Kensington Palace source says in the new issue of Us Weekly. “Her relationship with her father has always been strained, mostly because of his ill-thought-out decisions and lack of responsibility. This goes to prove that.”
But if her family drama threw a wrench into Markle’s vision of regal perfection, she is poised to overcome it. Says the source, “She doesn’t want anything to ruin her day and is trying to keep her focus on the weekend.”
And beyond. Once she becomes a member of the House of Windsor, the plucky Los Angeles native, 36, plans to rule as no other recent royal has done. From the start of her relationship with Harry, 33, it was clear “she was and is different,” royal expert Omid Scobie also says in the new issue of Us. “She is this woman who is an accomplished actress and philanthropist who wasn’t afraid to use the F-word — feminism. She was already shunning traditional dating protocols.”
Whereas her soon-to-be sister-in-law Duchess Kate was viewed in this light before her 2011 vows to Prince William, divorcee Markle is further along on her personal path of discovery. “Kate was growing up and becoming her own woman within the palace walls,” Scobie adds. “Meghan has already been through that process.”
Markle’s refreshing modernity isn’t lost on her future husband. In fact, it’s one of the qualities he found most endearing. After Queen Elizabeth named him a Commonwealth youth ambassador in April, Harry gave Markle a special shout-out in his speech: “I’m also incredibly grateful that the woman that I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, in which she too is hugely excited to take part.”
In their postengagement BBC interview, both the sixth in line to the throne and the former Suits star gushed over their philanthropic bond. “It was really one of the first things we connected on,” said Markle, “just the different things we wanted to do in the world and how passionate we were about seeing change. I think that was what got date two in the books probably.”
The bride-to-be is so plugged into global affairs, she doesn’t need direction on causes. “Meghan has come in with her vision and the changes that she can make in the world,” says Scobie. “The aides at Kensington have had to sit back and let her get on with it, let her choose her own issues.” Harry — along with his progressive team — fully supports Markle’s independence. “Harry’s staff, versus William’s, is much younger and used to Harry having his own way,” says Scobie. “He wants Meghan to have that same freedom.”
For more on Markle’s pre- and post-wedding plans, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.
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