'Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance' premieres this Sunday on Lifetime

By Dana Schwartz
May 08, 2018 at 06:39 PM EDT
Lifetime

On November 27, 2017, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement. That same day, Lifetime greenlit an original movie based on their love story.

“The day after the announcement of the engagement, I got the call from Lifetime,” said Scarlett Lacey (The Royals), who co-wrote the script with Terrence Coli. “We started writing in December and we finished writing in January.” Filming began at the end of that same month.

“It was fast. It was very fast,” Coli added. “Two weeks.”

One help to the writing process was that the real story — of an English prince falling in love with an American actress — didn’t need to be altered or fabricated much to make it a Lifetime-worthy romance.

“Meghan’s [now defunct] blog, The Tig, was a source of a lot of great material for us,” said Coli. “To help us get into the character and understand who she is in real life.”

Lacey drew inspiration from Markle’s feminist bona fides: “When she spoke at the U.N. Women’s Conference, I knew that had to be a major part of her core character. And then when we saw her on Nickelodeon news at 11-years-old, fighting for everyone to do dishes and not just women, it gave us so much.”

The process was equally quick for actors Parisa Fitz-Henly and Murray Fraser, who play Meghan and Harry. After getting cast at the end of January, Fraser only had a few days before filming. “I think I got flown back to Vancouver within the week.”

No one had ever told Murray that he looked like Prince Harry before. “Not at all. Never,” the Scottish actor said. Even after his hair (and beard) were dyed ginger, he still didn’t get mistaken for a prince. “Still no!”

Fitz-Henly had a more elaborate transformation in order to become the perfectly glossed and always-polished future royal. “Preparing to be Meghan Markle…” Fitz-Henly smiled and shook her head. “I hope it’s easier for her than it is for me.”

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance airs this Sunday on Lifetime.

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