Prince Harry Was ‘Very Protective’ of Meghan Markle Early on in Their Relationship, Royal Photographer Says

Royally smitten! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were destined for one another from the earliest moments of their relationship, royal photographer Dave Benett exclusively tells Us Weekly.

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The London-based photographer, 62, dished on his experiences working with the royal family throughout his decades-long career. Having closely observed Harry, 35, and Meghan, 37, over the years, Benett remembers the prince being “very protective” of his now-wife when they first stepped into the spotlight.

Prince Harry Was Protective Meghan Markle Royal Photographer Says
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Shutterstock

“Even at Audi polo event — she came, but she stayed in the little tent that they have for them,” Benett recalls of the first major event the couple attended together in 2017. “They were really into each other. You could see that straight away. … Harry was definitely looking for his Meghan and he found her. She’s brilliant.”

The royal couple captured the attention of the public from the moment they made their public debut — and have continued to put their own spin on royal life. Less than two years after tying the knot in May 2018, the pair confirmed that they would be stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family. The retired actress and her husband, who welcomed son Archie in May 2019, briefly stayed in Canada before settling down in Los Angeles in March. Despite the drama that followed their royal exit, Benett believes Harry was already starting to break away before making his big move.

Prince Harry Was Protective Meghan Markle Royal Photographer Says
Carly Ledbetter, Christina Garibaldi and Royal Photographer Dave Benett.

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“This was going to happen to Harry anyway,” the photographer tells Us. “And I think a lot of people will put too much emphasis on Meghan. … I don’t think he likes the idea of performing for us. And … I think that’s what was happening already. I think his relationship was already starting to break away from the norm.”

While the former military pilot may have already been toying the idea of leaving royal life behind him, his relationship with Meghan is what gave him the final push.

Prince Harry Was Protective Meghan Markle Royal Photographer Says
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry meet the King and Queen of Tonga on October 26, 2018. Shutterstock

“Meghan turned up with her whole different outlook, [an] American outlook,” Benett adds. “She was probably a great support here with someone who wasn’t thinking in the old royal way, someone who was going, ‘Well, actually, no, you can do that. You know, we can go off and do something.’ And I think that was really what gave him the impetus to go.”

Since settling down in California, the couple have remained committed to helping those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. An insider previously revealed to Us that Harry and Meghan hope to “change lives for the better,” especially for those who are more “vulnerable” in these uncertain times. Though moving to L.A. was a big change for the family of three, Meghan has adjusted to their new home with ease.

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“They’ve been looking forward to [moving], and they’re very content and happy to finally be all settled in,” a separate source said in April. “And of course, Meghan feels more at home too and she’s really starting to feel like herself again.”

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