Prince Harry, fifth in line to England’s throne, and U.S. actress Meghan Markle announced Monday that they are engaged to be married. The news wasn’t exactly a surprise — rumors had been swirling for months and had intensified over the weekend — but royal observers the world over clamored to hear from the newly-engaged couple.
Hours after the announcement, the pair made their first public appearance at Kensington Palace in London and Harry told reporters that he knew Markle was “the one” from “the very first time we met.” The two were engaged sometime earlier this month and the wedding is set to take place in the spring of 2018.
Women in the World founder Tina Brown, who literally wrote the book on Princess Diana, said in a post on Twitter that Harry’s mother would be “thrilled” to see her son and Meghan Markle ending up together. In a post on Twitter, she said Diana would be “smiling” that her Harry is “engaged to bi-racial beauty and strong humanitarian Megan.”
So, how can Markle expect her life to change after she ties the knot with Harry and becomes a royal next spring? As Business Insider pointed out, Markle is a well-established woman with a high-profile career of her own, starring as Rachel Zane on the USA Network legal drama Suits, among credits on other TV shows. Markle is also an accomplished entrepreneur, activist and humanitarian. And the 36-year-old is well known for being a feminist. Conjecture about the dramatic changes her new life will hold for her was the topic of conversation on numerous morning shows and in tabloids.
For one thing, Markle will live under a microscope she’s likely not accustomed to and she will have a host of responsibilities that will be completely new to her, explained Victoria Murphy, the royal correspondent for the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, during an appearance on Good Morning America.
“It can be pretty daunting marrying into the royal family. It can be a bit like a kind of cage or gilded cage with all eyes on you,” Murphy said. “When she marries Harry, she will be expected to carry out official duties. She will be expected to be a working member of the royal family, taking on charities, attending events, supporting the Queen … We already know that Meghan had a lot of charitable interest, she’s done work with U.N. women, she’s done work with World Vision, so those are things she might want to bring in there as she grows her role in the royal family.”
During an appearance on the Today show, Victoria Arbiter, an expert on the Royal Family, was more blunt about the lifestyle changes in store for Markle. “The stresses of royal life” will be “a shock,” Arbiter said.
One clue about the future of her acting career might lie in her future on Suits. According to US Weekly, Markle has already informed the show’s producers that she won’t be returning as a cast member for its eighth season. Grace Dent, a columnist for the The Independent wrote that the move signaled a deference to the Royal Family. “It seems she has rejected, perhaps not entirely of her ‘deciding’ she’d not make any more movies after marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco. And that was in 1956.”