Meghan Markle delivered a moving surprise to her husband, Prince Harry, on the occasion of his 35th birthday last year by ‘recreating’ the camping trip to Botswana, where the pair first ‘fell in love’, a source has revealed.
According to a royal insider, the 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex organized an elaborate party for Harry’s birthday on September 15, by pitching a tent and sleeping bags in their yard at their former residence, Frogmore Cottage, so they could camp under the stars.
“Last year, for Harry’s birthday, Meghan recreated their camping adventures in Botswana in their backyard,” the source said People. “It’s a place that means so much to them – and to Harry in particular – so Meghan wanted to bring him that happy place in his day, so she pitched a tent, got sleeping bags, cooked dinner and recreated Botswana they fell into love.’
Special: Meghan Markle ‘repeated’ her 2016 trip to Botswana with Prince Harry for his birthday last year, a source told People. In the summer of 2017, the couple is there in the photo
Meaningful: The 38-year-old Duchess, pictured in South Africa with Harry, 35, ‘pitched a tent, got sleeping bags, cooked dinner and recreated Botswana where they fell in love’
Prince Harry and Meghan then lived with their son Archie at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor – and just a few weeks later, they embarked on a trip to Africa as a family, visiting Botswana, as well as South Africa, Angola, and Malawi.
Botswana is an incredibly special place for both Meghan and Harry, who first visited the country together just a few weeks after they first met on a blind date.
Shortly after their engagement in November 2017, the couple joined the BBC for their first interview, in which Harry recalled how he ‘convinced’ Meghan to fly to Botswana to travel with him – revealing how the couple had a romantic time spent five days camping under the stars.
“It was about three, maybe four weeks [after their first date] that I was able to persuade her to come with me to Botswana, “he said at the time.
“And we, we camped together under the stars, we spent, she came and went with me for five days, which was absolutely fantastic.”
The country has special significance for Prince Harry, who first visited Botswana shortly after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he traveled there with his brother and father.
Harry fell in love with the land on that maiden voyage and has returned regularly since then, becoming increasingly involved in conservation efforts in Botswana. In 2017, he was even named as a patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana, but it is unknown if he will still hold that position after stepping down as senior royal.
Second home: Harry and Meghan traveled to Botswana for the third time last year when they toured Africa with their son Archie. They are depicted together in Cape Town
Home: At the time of Harry’s 35th birthday on September 15, the couple still lived at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, but moved to the US just months later
Meghan and Harry returned for a second, extended trip to the country in the summer of 2017 shortly before their engagement. They would have spent three weeks together celebrating Meghan’s 36th birthday as well as their first year as a couple.
When it came to finding the perfect engagement ring for Meghan, Harry even chose to buy a Botswana diamond – which he previously called his ‘second home’. The stone was combined with two diamonds from a tiara that belonged to Princess Diana.
News of Meghan’s heartfelt birthday surprise for Prince Harry comes just after details of the couple’s second birthday were revealed.
According to a source close to the pair, Harry and Meghan, who celebrated their anniversary on May 19, exchanged ‘very creative and romantic’ gifts, doing ‘their own take’ on the traditional second wedding anniversary gift – cotton.
“This year they gave each other gifts based on cotton,” the insider said People. “It was undoubtedly a very creative and romantic gesture, because all their gifts are together.”
Putting a creative spin on the traditional anniversary gifts is something the Duke and Duchess of Sussex started last year, the source added – revealing that Meghan presented her husband with a framed copy of their wedding speech on the occasion of their first year as a husband and woman.
“They love to do their own take on traditional wedding gifts,” the person said. “The first anniversary was paper, and Meghan wrote the wedding speech and had it framed for him.”
Celebrations: On Thursday, a source revealed that the couple traded ‘very creative and romantic’ gifts for their second wedding anniversary on May 19
Shaking things up: couples traditionally exchange cotton on their second birthday, and the source told People that Harry and Meghan ‘love to do their own take on wedding gifts’
According to wedding website The Knot, paper symbolizes the vulnerability of marriage in the initial phase. Like a piece of paper, the relationship needs to be cared for and protected, but if it does, it can survive a lifetime.
Meanwhile, cotton represents how close and bonded a couple will be during the years of marriage, while also showing how husband and wife can learn to be more flexible when they grow together.
Prince Harry and Meghan seem to have had plenty of time to consider the significance of their second wedding anniversary, with royal expert Katie Nicholl revealing to Vanity Fair that the pair had a very ‘reflective party’ together.
A friend of the pair told Nicholl that the pair marked their milestone in the relationship by ‘enjoying the family’ with their son Archie, one, at Tyler Perry’s $ 18 million home in Beverly Hills, where they currently live.
The pair’s unnamed friend added that after a year of ‘huge changes’, the duo felt ‘pretty reflective’ about the big day.
“The past year has been pretty epic and all the changes they’ve been through and been through are huge … To be honest they are only just coming to air,” Nicholl revealed in Vanity Fair.
Harry and Meghan’s friend explained that the couple wanted to spend the day ‘mostly offline’ with their son Archie and just ‘enjoy each other’.
Two years after their wedding day, the source said they are both “in a really good place” and added that “speaking out” and removing themselves from “a toxic situation” had allowed them to create a life where they could “flourish.”
Quiet Time: It has also been reported that the couple spent their day ‘reflecting’ and ‘enjoying the family’ at Tyler Perry’s $ 18 million Beverly Hills home where they currently live
Busy Bees: Harry and Meghan, pictured on a Zoom charity call, ‘made sure they didn’t have meetings or calls in the diary’ during their birthday, Harper’s Bazaar reported
The couple, who were busy organizing various charitable foundations, made sure they didn’t make any job calls yesterday, two years after they got married in Windsor Castle.
“The day is just going to be quality time with each other and as a family,” said a source close to the couple Harper’s BazaarOmid Scobie, author of their upcoming biography Finding Freedom.
The source revealed that they were very busy working on various charities and continued, “They are not going to do any work and have made sure they don’t have meetings or calls on the agenda.”
“Like everyone else, they’re locked right now, so they’ll just hang out at home together,” the source said. “But it will be a wonderful day.”
Last year, the official royal family accounts were the only family members to pay tribute to the couple’s first wedding anniversary, writing at the time, “ Wishing The Duke and Duchess of Sussex a very happy wedding anniversary.
“It has been a year today since Their Royal Highnesses exchanged vows at St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.”
However, this year their focus remained on the Queen’s future garden parties, while Kensington Palace, Clarence House and the other official accounts remain silent.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex married two years ago on Saturday, May 19 in the Chapel of St. George with the entire royal family in attendance, along with many celebrities, including George Clooney and Robbie Williams.