Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser tell us about bringing Harry and Meghan’s love story to life for Lifetime’s new movie
Call us sentimental but we love a royal wedding! The fairy-tale romance, the glamour, the star-studded guest list and of course the wedding dress all play their part. But in the case of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there’s extra sparkle too, as he’s a famously playful prince and she’s a well-known Hollywood actress.
Their big day on 19 May is nearly upon us but amid the excitement, secrecy and speculation surrounding the build-up, it’s easy to forget they are also just a young couple who fell in love. This week, Lifetime’s film Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance is here to remind us there’s more to a regal relationship than just the lavish ceremony.
Here, US actress Parisa Fitz-Henley and Scottish actor Murray Fraser, who play Meghan and Harry, tell us more about the portraying the pair’s tender courtship…
Why do you think Harry and Meghan’s romance has captured our imagination?
Parisa: "Monarchy and nobility is something people have always been fascinated with. In this modern age, which is very contrary to the idea of royal family in some ways, there’s still a lot of curiosity about how the British royals have managed to bring both the old roles and the new together. Things are changing in the royal family. Looking at Harry and Meghan’s story, you have a biracial, divorced woman from the States, who’s had her own career and very different life, coming into this family that’s not associated with many of these things. It creates an interesting dynamic."
Murray: "Yes, there’s a massive obsession with the royal family. I didn’t realise how much Americans are obsessed with them as well. Now an American is coming into this family, people are really taken by it! They seem relatable people too. Harry especially seems to be everyone’s favourite, likeable prince. We’re drawn to him and we show a lot of intimacy and emotion between him and Meghan in the film. There are bits about when they were kids growing up, the blind date they were set up on, right up to the proposal and when it gets official."
Is it challenging to play a real-life royal couple?
Parisa: "The challenges around this were unique. For one, we had a short period of time to film. Portraying a real person, you want to have as much time as you possibly can, particularly when that person is currently in the news and your performance and their reality can be compared constantly. But I enjoy a challenge!" Murray: "Yes, there are pros and cons. If you’re playing a fictional character, you’re starting from scratch. If they’re a real person you’ve got plenty of material to look at."
Did you do any special preparation for the roles?
Murray: "I watched as many interviews as possible. But the majority of the script is set behind closed doors so the dialogue between them is all subjective. I felt it was more about capturing the essence of Harry and what makes him tick, rather than impersonating him." Parisa: "In my research, I listened to Meghan talk about how they’ve had to shut out the world and do their thing. Funnily enough, that was a good piece of advice for me too. That’s all you can do, focus on the piece and do it as sincerely as possible."
Murray, was it difficult to maintain a posh English accent?
Murray: "It was interesting! I pretty much stayed in that accent for the duration of the shoot. It was helpful because I’d rather do the scenes justice instead of worrying about how I sound. But half the cast didn’t realise I was Scottish until it was over!"
Parisa, have you ever crossed paths with Meghan?
Parisa: "I’ve never met Meghan but we share some friends in our circle and I’m sure we’ve gone up for some of the same roles because our looks and age are similar, which is really cool. In our film we’ll see Meghan on Suits. Some of the crew for this also worked on Suits so there was a real folding over of realities!
Harry & Megan: A Royal Romance premieres on Lifetime on Monday 14 May at 9pm
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.