Why Halloween marks a key milestone in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship

(Image credit: 2021 Kevin Mazur)

OK, so we'll spare you the 'royals are just like us' line.

From their surprisingly pedantic rules about food, to the fact that the Queen has a special person dedicated to breaking in new shoes for her, there are many instances in which the Royal Family have proved that they’re decidedly the opposite of us.

But the younger members of the royal fold tend to take a more relaxed approach to everyday life – whether that’s Princess Eugenie announcing the birth of her son in the most millennial way possible, or Kate Middleton doing the Thomas’s Battersea school run herself.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no different, and are determined to do things their way – whether it's breaking with royal protocol to speak out about important political issues, or celebrating their anniversary in the most low-key way possible.

Another markedly un-royal thing that we love about the Sussexes is their shared love of Halloween.

In fact, the holiday is thought to hold special significance for the couple, as they spent it together in the early days of their relationship back in 2016, before the world knew they were dating.

Harry and Meghan met on a blind date in July 2016 when Meghan was still working on legal drama Suits and living in Toronto.

In October of that year, around Halloween, Harry is said to have visited Meghan in Canada – with internet sleuths discovering that Meghan had actually posted an Instagram picture of a Halloween date during which Harry is thought to have been staying with her. (Sadly, Meghan's personal Instagram account is no more.)

Though Harry is not in frame, the picture shows Meghan in a chunky cardigan holding a carved pumpkin with a smiley face, prompting many to wonder whether the couple had carved it together.

Meghan Markle Halloween pumpkin

Credit: Instagram

That Halloween is also thought to be one of the last times the couple enjoyed a private holiday together before news of their romance hit the headlines.

Just how did they spend it, you ask? By attending a huge Halloween costume party, naturally.

Yep, apparently the soon-to-be-Sussexes spent the "perfect" evening together at Soho House Toronto, with royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand writing in their 2020 unauthorised biography, Finding Freedom: "They especially didn't feel like spending Halloween weekend in hiding, as there was much to celebrate.

"Some four months into their relationship, they were madly in love and eager to take part in the fun of one of their favourite holidays.

"The evening of October 29, with Harry in town, the couple decided to go to a big costume party being thrown at Soho House in Toronto."

Apparently, the couple bought Venetian-style masks which meant they could attend the party under the radar, with Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie also stopping by with her now-husband Jack Brooksbank.

"A cocktail or so into the party, they were both feeling relaxed, absorbing the Halloween spirit," Finding Freedom continues. "It was possibly the perfect night out – until they received a call from one of Harry's aides at Kensington Palace. It wasn't good news."

A newspaper had gotten hold of the couple's romance, and was planning on running a story the following day, the biography claims – marking Halloween 2016 as the last time the couple got to spend together alone, before their relationship became a daily fixture in the press.

Here's hoping Harry and Meghan are marking the significant milestone today with Archie and Lilibet.

Happy Halloween to the Sussexes!

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.