It wouldn't be a royal wedding without Lifetime rewriting the love affair between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, creating the slightly malformed monster, Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. And if a royal wedding Lifetime movie doesn't get a recap, did it even happen at all?
…it did happen. I sat through all 2 hours and 22 minutes of it. And while the retelling of Harry and Meghan's relationship hurdles and engagement isn't the worst Lifetime flick ever (that esteemed title goes to The Pregnancy Pact) it does try to sell us on some pretty incredulous things, sandwiched within some deeply uncomfortable subject matter. Painstakingly recorded for your amusement, here's what happened in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance.
Flashback: Harry and Meghan as youths.
We open on picturesque African Plains where an intelligible young Gingersnap and his intelligible babely brother are mourning the loss of their mother. Oh, to flashback within a flashback, their mother is Princess Diana, JSYK. Ripping headlines from multiple blog posts, little Harry screams at his father, "WHY DID YOU MAKE US WALK BEHIND THE COFFIN?" and "I DON’T WONT TO SET AN EXAMPLE" before running off. He has sad memories of eating pastries with Lifetime!Diana, before then a lion appears and viciously murders him.
Kidding, he keeps his dad from shooting the animal, which is nice.
To check in on young Meghan, she's kind of spitfire who's angered by dishwashing commercials. "They should say people, not women, you wash just as many dishes," she says to her dad. "I don't know, write a letter or something," dad tells her, handing her a pen so he can continue running a household.
Cut to 2016. We see modern day Meghan is an actress who wants to portray her character, Rachel, as a Strong Independent Woman devoid of coquettish head tilts. This is the closest anyone on the planet has actually come to watching Suits.
Harry meanwhile, is just recovering from another one of his lingerie-and-champagne parties as he gets reamed out by his brother, Prince Will — OH SHUT THE F–K UP, THIS GUY LOOKS LIKE PRINCE WILLIAM IN THE SAME WAY THAT I LOOK LIKE ANGELINA JOLIE. Prince Charles is also pissed about Harry’s antics like "the Nazi uniform and showing off the family jewels" (yeah, that was all a bad look they're choosing to gloss over). And a sallow, lank-haired Kate Middleton tells Harry that maybe he should settle down because, "Marriage isn't so bad."
Anyway, Meghan is fast approaching her mid-30s and as such, will soon cease to be a viable woman. Before she forfeits her personhood, her friend offers to set her up with Prince Harry. Then they reenact my favorite probable lie in the Harry-Meghan meetcute: when Meghan gets pitched the hot, rich, well-connected Prince of England she asks her friend, "Is he nice?"
Prince Harry, while being pitched Miss Markle, asks "Is she hot?" Real. His friend is all, "If you weren't a prince, you wouldn't have a shot." Also real. To paraphrase my friend Megan (no H) Delaney, "Let’s be honest, if you met Prince Harry in a bar and he said he worked in sanitation, you'd dismiss him immediately."
Harry and Meghan meet on a blind date.
He's like 40 minutes late and Meghan, a Strong Independent Woman, does a painfully long tongue-lashing about how a watch works. I really can't tell if this is part of her act or if she genuinely doesn't know who he is, but either way the following exchange is pretty painful.
Meghan: I'm kind of a well-known actress, after all, and what do you do?
Harry: I'm kind of the Prince of England.
Leave. So yeah, they blandly fall in love but before Meghan leaves, she shares that she has joint custody of her dogs with her ex and BTW, she was divorced. That cool? It seems cool, so they part ways after talking all night in an abandoned TGI Fridays.
Harry and Meghan go to Botswana, I guess.
The next day, Meghan is talking to her mom about how dating a royal is fun. She seemingly lives in a minimalist Pinterest board. Harry calls to ask her out for round two, and they go to Botswana for their next date. We get some close-ups of snakes and giraffes and Harry eating carrots. The royal family is actually related to Bugs Bunny, but on the Spencer side (which is an older family than the Windsors).
Meghan explains her problems she's faced in her life being biracial and Harry, says he can relate because of the persecution he's faced as a ginger in England. HE'S ACTUALLY COMPARING BEING A RICH, WHITE, PRINCE BORN INTO POWER TO BEING A BIRACIAL WOMAN. Wow, OK.
Harry also says that after seeing his parents whole trashfire of a marriage he, "promised myself I'd never have kids unless I knew that the relationship could go the distance." I mean, yeah, sounds like a reasonable plan. Meghan, swooning over this and the fake Milky Way backdrop, drops off her robe and coquettishly head tilts, "You joining me?" I’m sure the real Meghan Markle LOVES that.
At home, Will and Kate pretend that they've binge-watched, that anyone's binge-watched, Suits and I die laughing. And Kate, ripping headlines from multiple blog posts points out, "She’s American, she’s divorced, her mom is black." The way she says it makes me uncomfortable, it makes us all uncomfortable.
Too late, though, because now Harry and Meghan are smitten.
Meghan really likes him, but she knows that a roll in the hay with the Prince does have real life sustainability. She, at the sage advice of her hairstylist, has to shut this down as a Strong Independent Woman. She tries to break it off with him but Harry hand-delivers flowers to her trailer. "That did not happen," I say. "I hope that didn't happen," says my dad.
They then spend a few days together after Prince Harry does some breaking and entering and dresses up her dogs in shark costumes. He also gives her matching friendship bracelets that he made at summer camp, no doubt. I'm sure with all the royal jewels at Buckingham, Meghan is totes stoked to receive that.
Anyway, they go to a Halloween party where Meghan excitedly dresses up as the "soon-to-be first female president" Hillary Clinton (sigh) and Harry's a Gecko(?) and that can't be real. Some Canadian is mouthing off at Prince Harry being too good for a selfie but goes silent when Meghan Markle shuts him down. Also, someone sends pics of them to Gossip Girl, so woops, the affair's exposed.
Meghan and Harry can’t be together.
Everyone's giving Harry a hard time because Meghan is a Strong Independent Woman who doesn't fit the mold of a model Princess by the royal family's narrow-minded racist standards. Harry rebukes them and their attempts to shut down her personal blog, shrieking, "THAT BLOG IS PART OF HER IDENTITY." I mean it seems like a now-defunct haven of coconut chai smoothie recipes named after an $89 bottle of wine, but OK. William and Kate think they should meet her, so they have a little shindig to introduce Meghan to royal society. Also Lifetime!George and Lifetime!Charlotte, who are cute, but too old for these roles. Princess Charlotte would never wave that sloppily, how dare you.
So anyway, we're introduced to Bella, our movie's White Supremacist Mean Girl, who asks Meghan how did she get her hair so straight and other horrible things like that. Who the f–k is this racist woman? I typed in "Harry and Bella" only to land on "Harry and Bellatrix fanfic" (nope) and eventually concluded this is probs Windsor family friend, Isabella Calthorpe. Not sure if she's actually like this or not, but I don't like it.
Meghan is rightfully upset and tells Harry that this can't work because she's biracial, divorced, and from California. Harry is insistent in his love, like, "I DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT except the California thing." Anyway, they used the n-word in a Lifetime movie to prove the point the strifes of being red-haired isn't the same as being a black woman in America, at all. There's a lot of things about Meghan Markle worth making fun of, like a pretentious psuedo-Goop lifestyle blog or a TV show that lasted seven years without anyone noticing. But the struggles and persecution she’s faced because of her experiences as a woman of mixed race, that's no joke.
I don't know if I'm doing a great job of expressing that, and the movie is handling it awkwardly, but unless this point isn't getting across, Meghan and her mom are having their house broken into. It's here that Prince Harry makes that royal family release asking to press to stahp.
After hiding out with her mom all day, Meghan, stone-faced, watches as his letter comes to public on TV. Harry shows up to make things right, but she's pissed off that after "begging my nearest and not so dearest family" to deny their dating the royal family outs her anyway. She's upset that they, that she, doesn't have a voice. And she, in a speech that’s like pretty good for Lifetime, doesn't need protecting. "I am not some damsel and distress who needs to be saved by her prince charming." Oh, nevermind. They break up and when Meghan gives back her BFF bracelet.
Meanwhile, Meghan's mom shows Meghan footage from Princess Di's funeral and, ripping them headlines, says, "They made him walk behind the casket." Then she reminds Meghan to maybe pick her battles because "That boy lost his MOTHER TO THE PAPARAZZI," and this isn't a sexist thing, it's a Diana thing, calm down.
OMFG DOES MEGHAN GO AND STOP HIM AT THE AIRPORT? I CANNOT. SHE SAYS SHE DOES WANT A PRINCE CHARMING AFTER ALL. THEY KISS AND SPIN. AND WE'RE ONLY LIKE AN HOUR DONE WITH THIS.
Harry and Meghan ruin Pippa’s wedding.
Harry doesn't want to be there which is fair, because Pippa Middleton is the most unearned celebrity of all time. Kate's all, "Look, this is a no ring, no bring situation, and if you brought Meghan, it would upstage Pippa on her special day." I guess this is also fair because Pippa Middleton is also the most upstaged woman of all time. Harry is livid after seeing one of his pinched-looking relatives wearing a pin symbolizing the country's imperialist rule of Africa, and brings Meghan anyway.
Racist Bella decides to rip into Meghan some more and throws in some Old Jokes for funzies, saying, "Her biological clock is at 11:59." Kate pulls Meghan aside with, "Us commoners have to stick together." I'm not going to Google this, but I'm pretty sure the Middletons were like millionaires from new money. Kate also remarks that her life as a breeder kind of sucks and it's a bummer that, her reproductive organs are the talk of the town. But hey, she's preggo with a spare to the spare, so cheers to that.
The next day Meghan wakes up with a fright because all her eggs are going to dry up and she NEEDS to have kids, like, tomorrow. Harry, responds appropriately and rushes out of the room.
And that was the last time she saw him.
JK, he's being weird because it's the anniversary of Diana's death.
They go back to Africa for some charity work and soccer (sorry, football) and Harry gets upset when he meets a little girl who lost her parents at such a young age. Meghan gives Harry some pets and is all, "It's okay to be bummed about your mom, what was she like, anyway?" Harry freaks out and says, in a pretty good speech for Lifetime, that Diana wasn’t a saint. She was complicated and sad and difficult and funny. Which she was. R.I.P. England’s Rose.
Anyway, the lion comes back and stares at the frightened couple before running into the wild. "Is that his mom," my mom asks. I don’t…know.
So they bone I guess, in a less-than-scandalous, sheets-up-to-armpits way. And then Harry, after their vanilla love-making, romantically asks, "Will you marry me?"
Obviously they’re not moving to Toronto.
Anyway, Meghan is getting criticized for being born into the royal family, which is hilarious considering the tabloid-making lives of the Windsors. As a Strong Independent Woman, she’s also upset that Vanity Fair airbrushed out Meghan’s freckles. Meghan must have her freckles.
Meanwhile, "You're moving to Canada?" William asks Harry. "Of f–king course you're not," I say to my TV screen. Harry packs his bags as Meghan continues to work her unfulfilling day job. Her hairstylist's niece asks for an autograph and Meghan says she seems a little young for that show and her hairstylist is legit like, "LOL she doesn’t watch Suits."
As a result, Meghan rushes home and tells Harry that JK, she wants to live in the palace. Harry’s all, "Do you really want to give up your career to be a princess." Meghan says, with her eyes, "I'm on Suits, Harry."
Is this movie almost over?
No, they need permission from the queen to get married. At least we're going to see some Corgi action, although there's a huge moment of historical inaccuracy when Liz tells Monty to settle down. Everyone knows Monty passed away in 2012. I don't know what to say except that there's no way that Elizabeth II, she of Perpetual Frowns and Neon Suits, is thrilled with this union IRL. In any case, she asks Meghan if she's ready for the public scrutiny. Meghan's all, "I know there's going to people judging my every move, my heritage, my race. But I also know that I’m going to be a princess, so honestly they can suck it."
Anyway, there’s a really awkward moment where the Queen shares a portrait of one of their African relatives, in a gesture that feels very much like the royal equivalent of, "I'm not racist, my friend is black."
Finally, Harry formally proposes to Meghan while she was making chicken. She SPOILER ALERT says yes, and then we're mocked with real footage of Meghan and Harry’s schlubby self. Come on.