Spotlight On Family
The British Royal family are undoubtedly some of the most well known global celebrities. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s overrated or if you are invested in their lives, one thing that is certain is that you will be familiar with Queen Elizabeth II, William, Harry, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle.
As much we know about them, there are still parts of their lives that they prefer to keep secret. As an example, few people know that Prince William and Prince Harry have a step-sister or why she has been excluded from the limelight.
To understand the story we’ll need to go back to the very beginning back in 1981 when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. Even though it looked like a fairytale there were problems just below the surface.
Not So Charming
Unfortunately, Prince Charles was not the Prince Charming that it seemed.
He wasn’t focussed on Diana and had someone else in his heart, setting the stage for Laura, the little-known sister, to enter the family.
Charles met Camilla Parker Bowles back in 1971 and they started a relationship.
A few years later they stopped seeing each other and went on to marry different people, even though they still had feelings for each other. So, how did Laura Lopes come into the picture?
Three’s A Crowd
In 1995 Diana once told the BBC “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
While you might expect this to make her unhappy or withdraw from the public eye, Diana did the exact opposite. But Laura Lopes was completely different.
Heart Of Gold
As Princess of Wales, Diana brought new life to the Royal Family. She embraced her role as the Princess of Wales, bringing a new spark to Royal Family.
She became heavily involved in charity work and soon became an icon all around the world. Even so, she still found time to focus on an even more critical task.
Diana decided to break from the norm when it came to raising her children.
She didn’t let nannies take care of her two sons. She chose to do this herself, even going so far as to drop them at school herself. But nobody knew that Harry and William would have a sister in their future.
Beginning Of The End
This started to fall apart, however, and by the mid-1990s everything came crashing down when Diana and Charles separated and finally divorced.
It looked as if things were going badly for the royals, but little did they know what was still to come.
Crash Heard Around The World
It was August 31, 1997, when Diana was in a car crash. The car had driven into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris while trying to get away from the paparazzi.
Unfortunately, she passed away due to the severe internal injuries she had sustained.
Candle In The Wind
The entire world was in shock and thousands of people poured into London to pay their respects.
People had left so many flowers that there was a five-foot thick carpet of flowers outside her home.
Getting Back To Business
After the public funeral finally passed, her two sons, Harry and William, along with their father, started to go back to living their normal lives.
Until the day that Charles made a shocking announcement.
Rekindling The Flame
In 2005, Prince Charles announced that he and Camilla were not only back together but they were getting married.
This meant that the two princes would have a new stepmother, as well as a new sister who preferred to stay out of the limelight.
Stepping In As Stepmother
Of course, the British public, and indeed the world, wasn’t sure about the idea of someone else taking Diana’s place. Of course, this meant that things would also be different for the royal family.
The fact of the matter was that the marriage made Charles happy. The fact that their father was happy also made Willam and Harry happy.
“She’s not the wicked stepmother. William and I love her to bits,” Harry stated in a 2005 interview.
Eventually, the public warmed up to Camilla as well. She did bring something else to the table too, however.
More Then Meets The Eye
Everyone was focussed on Camilla and overlooked the fact that she had two children from a previous marriage too.
One of them would quite easily step into the limelight, while the other was happy to remain in the shadows.
Camilla’s son, Tom Parker Bowles, is a well-known food writer and critic. Apart from having published several books and regularly appearing on the BBC show Master Chef, he was also a contributor to Gordon Ramsay’s The F-Word.
His sister, however, remained more secretive.
Laura Lopes has actively stayed out of view as much as possible. She would appear at unavoidable events such as Royal Weddings, however.
There is a good reason as to why she remained in the shadows.
Focus Of The Press
Laura and Tom were still young children when Charles and Diana got married.
Since their mother was Charles’ former lover, they had to constantly deal with the paparazzi which, naturally took a toll on the children.
The paparazzi would be waiting outside the Parker Bowles house in the hopes of catching the glimpse of the family. On occasion, they would even chase their car through traffic.
It was a similar situation which had led to the death of Princess Diana.
Tom once explained to the Mail, “They’re bullies, half of these people, and they made you very angry. All I wanted to do was smack them in the face and beat the hell out of them. But you couldn’t do that.”
His sister, however, had a completely different approach.
She decided to withdraw from view and not be in the spotlight.
This didn’t mean that she distanced herself from her family, however.
Ties That Bind
Once she had married Charles, Camilla admits that she couldn’t have made it that far without her family.
Despite being followed by paparazzi and dragged through the mud by the tabloids, she always had the love of her family. As the saying goes, blood is thicker than water.
However, rumors about the “true” nature of the various relationships have always plagued the Royal Family. For years, there were rumors about heavy tension between the newest Duchesses: Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
From the moment Meghan appeared in the picture, there have been rumors of tension and feuds in the air.
Reporters kept digging into the chaos and rumors and soon discovered that the real reason for the tension was in fact, due to a disagreement between the two princes, Harry and William.
The two brothers had always been so close, however.
Brother Against Brother
Despite being very close, partly due to the loss of their mother, and their vastly different experiences, the two brothers were at loggerheads.
The reason for this was yet to come to light.
Changing The Rules
It was a break in royal tradition that aroused the most suspicion in the public. The fact that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle were branching out from the rest of the family showed that something was amiss with the Windsors.
But how serious was this rift?
See, at first, Newlyweds Harry and Meghan moved into Kensington Palace, where, for her first year adjusting to the vastly different change in lifestyle, Meghan was surrounded by longtime royal vets who could show her the ropes.
All appeared normal.
Roaming The Grounds
In fact, just a stone’s throw away from Harry and Meghan’s Nottingham Cottage were the residences of Princess Eugenie as well as the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Across the grounds, William and Kate lived in a 21-room apartment.
But as the birth of Harry and Meghan’s first child approached, they broke the news that they’d had their fill of the “Nott Cott,” as it’s sometimes referred to.
They’d move their family into the more spacious and accommodating Frogmore Cottage at Windsor.
Making A New Home
Renovations started right away on Nott Cott, which was only 2 bedrooms and Harry’s bachelor pad prior to married life.
Meanwhile, the media speculated the move stemmed from animosity.
Even once their relationship blossomed into a marriage with a baby on the way, the underlying iciness — made worse by other family members parroting William’s concerns to Harry — failed to melt away.
In fact, it continued to grow. But why?
The Real Reason
Finally, the cause of the move surfaced. There was alleged friction in the Windsor family, which started the moment Meghan and Harry’s courtship began.
See, following William’s first meeting with his future sister-in-law in Kensington Palace, he sat his little brother down for a chat…
For William, it was apparent that Harry and Meghan were beyond smitten and headed toward marriage. William advised his brother not to rush.
He expressed some apprehension about their rapid dive into a serious commitment.
Concerns About His Partner
“Wlliam told his brother they knew nothing about her background, her intentions, what she was really like,” one source said.
Prince William tried to express his concerns gently, but Harry was allegedly miffed by the sentiment.
The Reason For Concern
The source, a royal court member, elaborated about William’s misgivings, “He just wanted to stress that becoming part of the Royal Family is a massive undertaking, and the pressure and scrutiny are [sic] unrelenting. Was Meghan the right one?”
But how would Harry react to this?
Defending The Damsel
Needless to say, Harry disagreed. He viewed his older brother’s advice as a slight to the person he loved. Meghan was already juggling overwhelming speculation by the public, the media, and her own family.
In his eyes, Harry needed to stand up for his partner.
Protecting The Family
The source of the Windsor’s coldness towards Meghan remained a mystery to the general public, though the many public criticisms, lead by Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, and her half-sister, Samantha, certainly threw the House of Windsor for a loop.
Who Is She?
Others said the royal cold shoulder towards Meghan perhaps centered around race (she’s half black).
Some argued the doubts were due to Meghan’s previous place in the spotlight as an actress — were they even privy to the real Meghan?
Not Just Acting The Part
But Meghan and Harry never wavered publicly. The couple maintained a united front, and their adoration for one another was obvious.
Meghan, despite William’s alleged worries, was a member of the royal family just as much as any of the other Windsors.
The way the sources painted it, the drama was Harry’s fault: “He will brook no criticism of Meghan,” one source said.
“And he is so sensitive he often sees criticism or negativity where there isn’t any.”
Not Letting It Happen Again
According to a courtier, “It’s my opinion that Harry feels he couldn’t protect his mother, so he’s going all out to protect his wife.”
Princess Diana was lambasted in the press for every move; Harry refused to let history repeat itself for his wife.
A New Position
Adding to the tension between the Fab Four, the Queen named Harry as Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth. Getting passed over reportedly left William stung.
That being said, he could have vetoed the appointment and didn’t intervene.
As A Team
Still, so many royal fanatics brush off any idea of conflict as the press just stirring up trouble.
But when the four were questioned by the press about if they run into any disagreements, William broke the awkward silence by piping up with a firm, “Oh yes.”
Testing Their Ties
Nervously the two couples laughed. Harry smiled while fielding the next question if their squabbles get resolved, he quipped, “We don’t know.”
Through the humor, it was apparent some strain trickled into the brother’s bond.
All of these tensions were flamed by the complicated dynamic between the duchesses: Kate and Meghan.
When Meghan entered the royal mix, she hoped, that she’d find an ally in the Duchess of Cambridge.
A Not So Warm Welcome
At the same time, Kate, pregnant with her third child, Louis, didn’t get the memo about guiding her new sister-in-law. With her children and own royal responsibilities on her plate, her time was limited.
Meghan viewed her lack of a welcoming as a snub.
Still, reporters couldn’t help but speculate: was the tension between them real? Were they friends, rivals, or something in between?
Though neither Kate Middleton nor Meghan Markle started out as royals, the two duchesses became the two most visible members of England’s most famous family.
Meghan and Kate made their first official appearance together on Christmas Day in 2017. Of course, they had very different paths in ingratiating themselves into the Windsors.
They were almost from two separate worlds.
Even though she wasn’t a noble, Kate came from a privileged background. Her parents ran a successful party supply company, and she attended the prestigious University of St. Andrews.
There, she befriended classmate Prince William.
After years of dating, William and Kate decided to tie the knot in 2010. The following year, in what the press dubbed “The Wedding of the Century,” she became the Duchess of Cambridge.
Similarly, Meghan got married in 2011.
However, she didn’t marry any prince! Then a Hollywood hopeful, the Los Angeles native got hitched with actor and producer Trevor Engelson.
Their marriage dissolved two years later, as Meghan’s career really started to take off.
Meghan’s earlier career was defined by bit parts and a stint as a suitcase girl on Deal or No Deal.
However, her name went up in lights when she nabbed the regular role of Rachel Zane on the USA legal drama Suits.
As Meghan’s work prospects took off to new heights, her personal life did the same. In 2016, a mutual friend did her a royal favor by setting her up on a blind date with Prince Harry.
Their relationship started heating up before long.
The Big Break
Soon, she scored an invitation to Kate’s 35th birthday party. We can only assume she made a strong first impression on the royal family, but the details are hazy.
All we know for sure was that she gifted Kate a dream journal.
Coming In From The Outside
And the two women would soon get to know each other even better. Not to be outdone by William and Kate, Harry and Meghan wed in lavish fashion in 2018.
A foreigner — and a mixed-race one at that — had officially become a Windsor.
The Start Of Something New
With Kate and Meghan now firmly entrenched among the royals, there was the big question of how the sisters-in-law would get along.
Insider accounts reported they got off to a bit of a bumpy start.
Pregnancy Under Strain
While pregnant with Prince Louis, Kate felt stress from both the physical toll and the public scrutiny.
She didn’t necessarily have the time to properly welcome Meghan into the family, as she already had a ton on her plate.
However, Meghan reached out to Kate during this trying time. She shared some dietary advice that helped the Duchess through the rest of her pregnancy.
In turn, Kate lent a hand in Meghan’s big dilemma.
Returning The Favor
Naturally, Meghan found herself in a big adjustment as she shifted from Hollywood to Buckingham Palace.
Her experienced sister-in-law helped her learn royal protocol — everything from proper wardrobe to how to stand at official events.
From there, a close bond formed between them. When their busy schedules allowed, they spent time together one-on-one, such as a weekend visit to Wimbledon.
They exchanged jokes and comments throughout the match.
A New Invitation
The royal sisters-in-law grew closer on a personal level, but Kate also took Meghan under her wing on a professional level.
She invited Meghan to join the Royal Foundation Forum, a charitable organization started by William and Harry.
This was a huge step forward for Meghan.
“She really admires how Kate has carved out her own space when it comes to humanitarian work alongside being an amazing mother,” said a source close to the royal family.
Changes On The Horizon
When Meghan announced her pregnancy in late 2018, nobody celebrated more than Kate. She couldn’t wait for the two of them to experience motherhood together.
But she didn’t foresee the other big change on the horizon.
A New Home
Just months before the birth of their first child, Harry and Meghan decided to move out of Kensington Palace.
They would take up residence at Frogmore Cottage, under a separate roof from the rest of the family for the first time.
The move would mean that Meghan and Kate would see each other on a less regular basis.
Still, there was no doubt they’d still make time for each other, especially once their children became friends.
Part Of The Whole
Though they may clash on occasion, the two women realize that they’re best off supporting each other.
When it comes to marrying into the world’s most high-profile family, Kate and Meghan know they need to stick together.
The First Meeting
After all, it’s no walk in the park being a royal, especially with the world scrutinizing your every relationship.
Meghan found this out when she first met Prince Harry…
Most famous love stories have fairytale-like beginnings, but the story of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle actually began on a blind date.
In fact, Meghan knew very little about Harry and his royal bloodline.
“I didn’t know much about him,” Meghan told BBC, “so the only thing I asked… was, ‘Well is he nice?’” Harry was even more ill-prepared — he had never even heard of Meghan before that night.
Talk about awkward!
Getting To Know You
But, as luck would have it, the pair hit it off, and just a few weeks later Harry invited Meghan to a charity trip to Africa.
“[It] was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other,” the prince recalled.
The couple managed to keep their relationship under wraps for several months, but in late October 2016, news of the courtship broke.
Sources claimed that Harry had “been desperate to keep the relationship quiet.”
A Subtle Hint?
Then Meghan posted a photo to Instagram that featured two bananas spooning on the day that the news of the relationship leaked.
Was this Meghan’s coy way of confirming the rumor?
A Different Kind Of Gossip
The tabloids were quick to eat up every last bit of juicy gossip.
Sure, Meghan was used to the spotlight, but the attention that came with being associated with the Royals proved to be an entirely different ballgame.
“There was a misconception that this would be something I would be familiar with,” the actress told BBC.
“But I’ve never been part of tabloid culture. I’ve lived a relatively quiet life.”
Going Too Far
The press grew relentless when it came to getting the scoop on the newest royal relationship, going as far as harassing Meghan’s mother to get the info they were after.
Eventually, Harry had had enough.
A Royal Decree
Through the Royal House, Harry issued a statement that called for an end to the harassment: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety.
It is not right that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”
The statement worked to somewhat quell the media frenzy, though it wasn’t long before rumors began to circulate that Prince William was unhappy.
This prompted the Duke of Cambridge to issue his own statement.
“The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” read part of the statement.
But what would that mean going forward?
Ultimately, it was made clear that while Harry’s call to the press was off-brand for a royal, the family had no issue with his defense of Meghan.
But her support wouldn’t stop there.
By the end of 2016, Harry’s press hiccup had all but been forgotten in the wake of the news that Queen Elizabeth herself had given Meghan her approval.
What more could she ask for?
The Queen isn’t just the ruler of the United Kingdom, but she’s also one of Harry’s biggest fans.
A source close to the family told Us Weekly: “[The Queen is] delighted to see Harry in a loving relationship.”
Seeing Her His Way
Meghan had similarly good things to say about her time spent with the Queen.
“It’s incredible, to be able to meet her through [Harry’s] lens,” she shared with BBC.
“Not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother… She’s an incredible woman,” she added.
The couple spent Christmas apart in 2016, though they reunited for a romantic New Year’s holiday.
Now that their secret was out, Harry and Meghan were free to travel to Norway without fear of spilling the beans.
Sleigh Bells Or Wedding Bells
Among the beautiful sights they took in during their excursion to the Arctic Circle were the Northern Lights.
By this time those close to the couple swore they could hear wedding bells on the horizon.
Madly In Love
Though Harry and Meghan were staying mum, their friends had things to say! “I can see them engaged by the spring,” a friend of Harry’s told Us Weekly.
“He’s head over heels.”
Meet The Family
Following their Norway trip, Harry began bringing Meghan around the family more often.
He introduced her to Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte at Kensington in early 2017.
Meghan also began spending more time with William, with whom sources claimed she got along very well.
“Naturally, William is very happy for his brother,” one source relayed.
Introducing The In-Laws
When it came time for Harry to meet Meghan’s family, the actress flew her mother, Doria Ragland, out to London for a rendezvous with the prince himself.
Harry was no-doubt nervous about this meeting, but, like Meghan and the royals, he and Doria immediately hit it off.
More proof that this pair was meant to be!
Doria was subsequently spotted with the couple on numerous occasions. But Harry hadn’t yet gotten the chance to meet Meghan’s father.
“He’s talked to my dad a few times, [but] hasn’t been able to meet him yet.”
Spending Time Together
Even though they were still living apart at this time, Harry and Meghan had grown closer than ever.
When the actress wasn’t in Toronto filming Suits, she was “virtually living” with Harry at Kensington Palace.
Their next big outing took place when Harry brought Meghan to Jamaica as his plus one for a friend’s wedding.
Many took this as the official next step in their relationship, and photos from the event seemed to confirm this.
The rumors about the couple only continued to grow after Meghan shut down her popular lifestyle website, The Tig.
The actress insisted she did so to focus on her charity work, but by then the speculation had already begun.
Causing A Buzz
Things got even more buzzworthy when Meghan flew to London just before Pippa Middleton’s wedding.
Apparently, Meghan was taken straight to the royal palace upon arriving at Heathrow International Airport.
Meghan was present at Pippa’s wedding reception, which was the first time she’d been seen at a royal family event.
She was also spotted at the Audi Polo Challenge in England cheering on Harry from the stands.
Then, the couple celebrated Meghan’s 36th birthday with another trip to Africa.
The choice might’ve seemed strange, but many believe Harry and Meghan first bonded over their desire to help those in need.
In fact, they visited the founding site of his charity, Sentebale. In the language of the Lesotho people, “sentebale” means “forget me not.”
Harry used this as an homage to his late mother, Princess Diana.
Meghan’s first major royal appearance came at the Invictus Games in September 2017.
The event serves to honor wounded, injured, and sick military personnel through sports and other physical competitions.
Entertainment TonightThe games were being held in Toronto, and more than once the couple was spotted holding hands.
Doria was also in attendance, furthering the notion that the two families were soon to become one.
Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag
Finally, after over a year, Meghan finally came clean.
Gracing the cover of the October issue of Vanity Fair, the actress gave a tell-all interview about the truth behind her relationship with Harry.
Confessions Of Love
“We’re a couple. We’re in love,” Meghan revealed.
“I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell.”
“But,” she continued. “I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that’s just ours. But we’re happy.”
“Personally, I love a great love story,”
The Big Question
With the word finally out, there was only one thing left for Harry to do. So, in November 2017, the Prince of Wales popped the question that everyone was waiting for.
And, wouldn’t you know it, she said yes!
News of the engagement traveled as Prince Charles issued his official statement.
“His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle.”
Recounting The Tale
On the same day that Prince Charles announced the engagement, the couple’s BBC interview was released to the public.
In the video, Harry and Meghan recounted the fateful night they’d spent in their Kensington cottage.
A Sweet Moment
“It was just a standard typical night for us,” Harry said before Meghan chimed in: “Just a cozy night… trying to roast a chicken.”
“It was just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic.”
Quick To Answer
Meghan was so excited about the proposal that she didn’t even let Harry finish the question before she said yes!
“It was just the two of us and I think I managed to catch you by surprise as well,” Harry said to Meghan.
When asked when he realized that Meghan was “the one” during an engagement photoshoot, he didn’t hesitate in reply.
“The very first time we met.”
The Big Day
At last, on May 19, 2018, Harry and Meghan tied the knot at Windsor Castle in front of a crowd of guests.
Tens of millions around the world also tuned in from home, making it one of the most-watched events of the year.
Meghan turned heads in a beautiful Givenchy gown and was given a diamond-platinum tiara from the Queen’s own collection.
With Meghan’s father, Thomas, absent, it was Prince Charles who walked her down the aisle.
The Next Announcement
Now hailed as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple announced on October 15th, 2018 that they were expecting their first child!
The newest royal will join the family sometime in the spring of 2019.
When the next prince or princess does finally arrive, however, they’ll be disappointed to find that becoming the next King or Queen of England may not be in the cards.
But where do they stand?
Standing In Line
Upon being born, the baby will be seventh in line for the throne.
They will stand behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.