Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Open Up About 'Living in a Tent for Five Days' at Start of Romance

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle traveled to Botswana in Africa after having only met each other twice, the couple confirmed in their Netflix docuseries

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Croke Park
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are opening up about the early days of their romance.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's six-episode docuseries on Netflix, titled Harry & Meghan, premiered on Thursday, and the couple spoke about how they escaped to Botswana together in 2016, after having only met twice before.

"I was astonished that she said 'yes,' " Harry revealed in episode one of the docuseries. "This woman, that I've really met twice, she's coming to Botswana and we're gonna be living in a tent for five days!"

Meghan recalled the romantic African escape: "So I get there, this is the first time I've seen him in a month. Very awkward at first like, oh God, do we, do we kiss? Do we? And I just remember he handed me a chicken sandwich!"

The new couple then jumped into a land cruiser to tour Botswana, which holds a special place for Harry and is the focus of some of his long-standing conservation work.

Meghan Markle Prince Harry Duke Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in South Africa. COURTNEY AFRICA/AFP via Getty Images

"For me, it was critical to share it with Meg," said Harry. "To start with we're sitting next to each other and then we progressed to holding hands and then we squeezed in a kiss and amid the bumps and then everything felt totally normal and natural."

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"We had to get to know each other before the rest of the world, before the media sort of, you know, joined it," he added.

"We could both just be completely ourselves," added Meghan about life in "the bush."

"There's no distraction," she continued. "There was no cell phone reception. There's no mirror, there's no bathroom. And there was no, how do I look? Thankfully, we really liked each other."

After their trip to Africa, Meghan and Harry picked up their romance in London and Toronto, with Harry following his new girlfriend's strict two-week rule that they had to see each other at least once every 14 days.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie in South Africa in September 2019. Henk Kruger/AP/Shutterstock

"Those first few months when no one knew," continued Harry. "It made much more sense for her to come to me so that then she can come and stay with me on Kensington Palace grounds."

"We can then jump in the car and head up to Windsor and go for walks around Frogmore, and do all these things together so that we can get to know each other without someone taking a photograph and then it becoming news," he said.

Meghan was the first to reveal their romance to anyone close. Speaking to friend Abigail Spencer over tea at Bergdorf Goodman in New York in September 2016, she dropped the news about her new boyfriend.

"She was like I think I met someone and I'm in love. It's Prince Harry," Spencer related in the show. "I could feel everything vibrating. I was screaming because I could feel it was different."

Prince Harry
Prince Harry visiting Africa in 2019. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Inevitably, however, the romance could not remain secret for long. When trusted staffer Jason Knauf called Harry to let him know that the story was going to break in a U.K. newspaper, the couple decided to enjoy one final night of fun, joining Princess Eugenie and her then-boyfriend Jack Brooksbank for Halloween.

Speaking in the docuseries Harry said they decided to "Pull the pin on the fun grenade. And we did."

Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in November 2017 and married in May 2018 at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

They welcomed son Archie Harrison in May 2019, followed by daughter Lilibet Diana in June 2021.

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Meghan and Harry signed a multi-year deal with Netflix in September 2020. At the time, The New York Times reported that the Sussex's production hub, later named Archewell Productions, would exclusively create documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children's programming for the popular platform.

The Harry & Meghan docuseries comes from Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus, whose previous celebrity-focused features include Love, Marilyn, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Becoming Cousteau.

According to Netflix, "the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution. With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family's relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple's love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other."

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