So Many Thoughts About Lifetime's Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance
It is at once forever and a day (well, five and a half days) until the royal wedding but if you need your fix (raises hand!), look no further than Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. We can thank the filmmaking gods (a.k.a. Lifetime television) for this mostly-true-but-probably-not-at-all-accurate recount of the real-life fairytale that is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. My Instagram followers know I have “So Many Thoughts” on all the royal happenings, so naturally, I had a lot to say about this flick.
These are the moments I can't stop thinking about:
1. THE LION
Ok, wow. These movie makers are not messing around. Within the first five minutes, they let out a roar—literally—with this scene of young Harry staring down a lion in Botswana shortly after his mother’s death. If CGI is to be believed, this damn cat got within ten feet of our beloved prince, which, obviously not. But the point is not that green screens have come so far that even Lifetime can make them look relatable. It is that Harry stops an already-old Charles from shooting the thing, making it clear that even as a young boy in the depths of grief his heart is true. Absolutely nothing about this scene makes me think any of this happened in real life, which is important to remember for the next two hours.
2. THE MEETING
But let’s get to the point, people. We need our couple to meet. Fast forward through a few quick scenes depicting Meghan blossoming into the feminist we all desperately want to believe she is and she finally meets her prince on a blind date in London. A montage of Meghan,
Moving on! It turns out this was not a blind date, in so much as they both knew they would meet the other and had a chance to Google, which makes me wonder why she would dress in her
The next five minutes reveal Meghan was not, in any way, intimidated by Harry’s royal status and he, in turn, was completely
It turns out this was not a blind date, which makes me wonder why she would dress in her favorite Ann Taylor sheath from Suits?
The DO NOT SO MUCH AS KISS because she is a lady and he is a prince. She vomits up all of her potential red flags (briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal, ex-husband, you know it all) until the sun literally comes up and they vow to meet again. And I vow to try my hardest to believe Meghan has half as much spunk in real life. I like her more already.
3. THE KISS
Shoutout to Lifetime for paying for this swirly drone shot. My
Late at night, curled up on a sofa back at their hut, Meghan talks about being biracial (which, buckle up, more on that later, kids). Harry opens up about how hard it is... to have red hair. He eventually hints at the
4. THE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Meghan is clearly head-over-heels for this guy but the lead member of her Suits glam squad convinces her this is never going to happen. The biggest hurdle is that she lives in Toronto, clearly. She tries to call it off with Harry over Facetime (I kept wondering: is this a secure connection?), only to have him surprise her in her trailer on set...which never would have happened. The lack of respect for, and depiction of, the secrecy measures they surely took is a real missed opp here, Lifetime.
Cut to Meghan buying him a frog costume—get it, a frog for her Prince Charming?—so they can go to a Halloween party together. She is dressed as HRC because she is an independent woman, dammit. It’s all fun and games until he takes off his frog hat to drink an RBV (who hasn’t been there) and gets bullied by some drunks (again, who hasn’t been there). Someone snaps a picture and that's it! Our frog is a prince and the world knows. They wake up in bed, both of their cell phones ringing. “It’s the palace,” Harry scowls. “It’s my publicist,” Meghan
If the world knows, it’s clearly time to meet the family. Kate and Wills are first up, but only after a scene in which the whole family brutally criticizes Meghan to Harry. To think of Charles discussing the Tig gives me great joy. “If she’s your girl, she can’t have opinions,” Kate chimes in, one of many moments that makes Kate look snotty. The film leads us to believe she is beholden to William and feels somewhat trapped. To quote the great Cher Horowitz, AS IF! This movie is not about Kate so I will not dwell on it but I am side-eying you, Lifetime.
To think of Charles discussing the Tig gives me great joy.
Back to the couple of the moment: when Harry finally introduces Meghan to his brother and sister-in-law, Meghan curtsies in a way that would suggest she is fixing her skirt. Again, the choice of attire (olive green office wear??) is so not Meghan—clothing is, like, the easiest thing to get right—I am disappointed in you, costume department. Gary Janetti’s George would have a field day with it, but Lifetime’s George simply says, “You’re pretty.”
6: THE REAL TALK
At the subsequent reception, the whole movie stops being polite and starts getting real. Really real. A “friend” of Kate’s begins critiquing Meghan, under the guise of helping her adjust to the world stage, and asks how she got her hair so straight. Audible gasp from me.
Meghan politely excuses herself to the ladies room but we see her next outside. Harry joins her and this is where the truth is served. Meghan tearfully recounts the story, that the real MM has shared,
7. THE BREAKUP
Deep breath. Ok. Obviously, you know what is next, which is all the bad stuff. The paparazzi harassment of Meghan and her family leads to the statement Harry famously released asking the world to leave them alone. In this depiction, Meghan had no idea that was coming (which cannot possibly be the case) but suspend all disbelief because it lays the groundwork for a dramatic and inevitable break up. “I am not some damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by her Prince Charming,” she shouts at Harry, whilst wearing a plaid shirt. Which, uh, plaid? I get that it’s the Uniform for the Distraught and/or Downtrodden, but we’ve never seen her in a pattern, and certainly not a flannel. A messy bun and the tendrils also make an appearance here but you know I can’t with that, so let’s not.
8: THE BFFS
Meghan, the Serious Girlfriend makes her debut at Pippa’s wedding. It is suggested she was not invited, so as not to upstage Pippa on her big day, but then a pair of elderly, peripheral royals make some truly appalling comments about Meghan to Harry, which I shall not repeat (can you believe I do not want to repeat something written for a Lifetime movie?). Charles defends his son’s chosen mate and requests her presence. Epic quick change from Harry’s blue button-up shirt to a dramatic, low-back red gown (again, sorry Pippa) and Meghan is ready to dazzle the room. She even earns a wink from Camilla upon ordering a dirty martini! Ah, Camilla, I have so many thoughts on you...another time.
Royal fans need to know that this scene is where Kate and Meghan become the BFFs we all want them to be. Kate literally links arms with Meghan to rescue her from the same petty mean girls, this time going after her age (35 going on 36). Kate confides in Meghan her fears about her own royal role: “My most important contribution to this country is my reproductive ability,” she laments. “It’s bizarre.” What’s bizarre is why the Lifetime people hate Kate so much!
9: THE (FIRST) PROPOSAL
And...we’re back in Botswana, for a bit more Botswana-ing. Meghan sees Harry distraught over the 20th anniversary of his mother’s death and takes him back to Africa. They have some real talk about Diana, Harry calling her “complicated” and “sad” and “difficult” and “funny,” which sounds like a millennial’s Twitter bio. There is another CGI lion moment here—which you might say is two tew many for one fairytale film—but the point is that Diana approves of Meghan. So Harry can propose! And he does! After the film’s only true sex scene! The palace was
Cut to Harry staring at Meghan while she sleeps (kinda creepy) and then a declaration of epic shade in the form of a proposal: “I don’t need my life to be some perfect royal picture” PAUSE. “I just need you.” PAUSE. “Will you marry me?” HARRY, DO BETTER.
10: THE QUEEN
God save us, we finally have the scene with the Queen! The lead-up is perhaps more interesting, as Meghan and Harry discuss the need for the Queen’s approval, calling it a “deal breaker or history maker” moment (some writer was super pleased with him/herself over that line, let me tell you). Meghan acknowledges all the disapproval that has come before her: King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend—hell, Camilla and Charles. All of this is to say, we’ve come a long way, baby!
Queen Elizabeth II offers her approval rather easily, the corgi plays with Meghan. It’s a progressive portrayal of the old lady, which is kind and I want it to be true but I fear it is not. The Queen gives a nice little speech about choosing life as a
11. THE RING
Actually, rewind a minute: Harry had planned to move to Toronto (was that ever a thing?) so Meghan can continue her work on Suits. Until! She realizes, via the admiration of an adorable little black girl, that being a full-time royal is the Role of a Lifetime (see what I did there?). “This is going to change the way people see the world,” says the girl’s uncle, and the aforementioned member of Meghan’s glam squad, imparting wisdom as only glam squad members can.
Meghan quits her job, Harry protests (which is adorable and maybe the most unrealistic thing about this whole damn movie) and Meghan responds with her own masterful shade: “The best way for me to make a difference in this world is by marrying you.” It’s not you, silly prince, it’s her destiny!
Back in London, with the Queen’s approval, Meghan is cooking a chicken and he gets down on one knee. Harry, in describing the two stones on the ring that came from his mother’s collection: “She wouldn’t just have approved of you she would’ve loved you.” I’m not crying, you’re crying!
12: THE SURPRISE REAL-LIFE ENDING
How might these blissful/ridiculous two hours come to a close? Not with the engagement photo call, or the engagement photo shoot (probably no budget for a Ralph & Russo dress) but with Meghan and Harry’s first official engagement as a royal couple. A montage of the whole damn story dissolves into Meghan sitting in the car, considering her future. And then, dear reader, as the camera pulls back to see the crowds awaiting them OUT STEPS THE REAL HARRY AND THEN COMES MEGHAN. The real deal, arm-in-arm. Smiling for the throngs before them, changing the world handshake at a time. I may or may not have felt my heart swell and I may or may not have shed a tear in my champers.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors