In the second episode of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new docuseries Harry & Meghan, which hit Netflix Thursday, Meghan, 41, recalled how her life changed after it was confirmed she was dating the British royal, and how the paparazzi became frightening while she was living in Toronto filming Suits.
"I remember going to get flowers, coming out of the flower shop, and there must have been 9 or 10 paps standing in the street. They were all sort of blocking the cars, and saying, 'Hey, how are you doing Meghan?' " and I was like, 'Oh thanks, stay warm guys!' " the Duchess of Sussex said.
"And I remember H the next day saying, 'You can't talk to them,' " Meghan said, shifting to a serious tone. "And I was like, 'I'm just trying to be pleasant, I don't know what to do, I've never dealt with this before. And he's like, "Right, but the U.K. media are saying you love it. You're smiling, you love it." The camera panned to an old headline from The Sun saying Meghan "couldn't stop smiling" while out and about buying flowers, wearing a necklace with her and Harry's initials.
Friend Lucy Fraser said it was a shock for Meghan to come to grips with her new reality, and Meghan added in a separate sit-down that it felt at the time like all of the U.K. press "descended upon Toronto." The Archetypes host said her home was "surrounded" and photographers would lurk, "waiting for me to do anything," she said.
"I was hearing all of this from thousands of miles away," Prince Harry, 38, recalled. "And trying to do something about it but being completely helpless."
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The scrutiny increased, and Meghan said that her neighbors told her paparazzi would knock on their doors, looking for her, and certain neighbors were even paid to install a livestream camera in her backyard.
"Suddenly, it was like everything about my life got so much more insular. All the curtains were pulled, all the blinds were pulled," she said. "It was scary."
News of Harry and Meghan's relationship dominated headlines, placing a strain on their long-distance relationship, with Harry living in England. Tabloids dug into every detail of Meghan's life before the royal spotlight, driving Harry to ask his girlfriend what was true and false.
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"There were things said and things written that I had to go to her to ask. And that was the hardest piece," Harry said, which his wife of four years agreed with.
"It really accelerates the learning curve in a relationship," she explained.
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan are now streaming on Netflix. Volume two hits queues next Thursday, Dec. 15.