After it was revealed in 2016 that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were dating, the media frenzy surrounding the former Suits star reached an all-time high. The formerly fairly under-the-radar actress was suddenly the sensation of tabloids everywhere, apparently prompting such a safety concern that security was increased for Markle on set of her show.
Speaking to Extra, Wendell Pierce, who played Markle's character's father on the USA legal drama, revealed that the actress eventually had her own MI5 agent on hand while filming the series.
"I actually didn't think it was real, then all of a sudden I turn round and there is a guy from MI5 on set every day," Pierce said. "The one thing that was clear [was that] she was extremely happy. She had a glow. I knew she was in love. With the whirlwind of publicity and the world of being a royal now, the one thing that's constant is the fact that I know she loves him."
Pierce added that he has nothing but positive words to say about his on-screen daughter, calling Markle "really wonderful."
Markle starred on Suits as Rachel Zane from the show's pilot in 2011 through its Season 7 finale, which aired just weeks before her own wedding in May of this year.
After it was confirmed that Markle and Harry were dating, things got so bad for Markle in the media that Harry issued a rare statement defending his future wife and campaigning for her privacy.
"Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her," the statement read. "It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is 'the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his."
Now that she is the Duchess of Sussex, Markle's security presence has only increased, with Simon Morgan, a former close-protection officer to Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals, telling CBS News that Markle's detail is "going to be constant."
"She will no longer be able to just pop to the shops and buy a pint of milk or a newspaper," Morgan said. "A protection officer will now go with her."
Markle was also reported as receiving evasive driving training, which would help her avoid any potential attacks or kidnapping attempts.
"Certainly within the younger members of the royal family, they are very much used to being independent – independent within a security bubble," Morgan explained. "And driving does afford them a degree of independence."
Photo Credit: Getty / Samir Hussein