Parisa Fitz-Henley stars as Meghan Markle in Lifetime’s “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” this Sunday night. The actress fills us in on what it’s like to play royalty.
There’s a lot of anticipation for “Harry and Meghan,” even Chrissy Teigen tweeted her excitement. Were you surprised?
I was! I’d never seen so much excitement about a televised movie — especially from such a wide range of folks. I’ve seen people say things like “I’m not into this kind of movie — but I’m watching this!” And Chrissy Tiegen is such a sweetheart…knowing she’s looking forward to this makes me sohappy!
Growing up, did you ever want to be a princess?
I wanted to be a doctor. And an astronaut. But I did like pretending to be Cinderella pre-Prince Charming. The rag-wearing, forced floor-scrubbing woman with a complicated family was a meatier role. No one bothered to show us what happened after she got with the Prince, so that part wasn’t as fun for me to imagine.
Does royal life appeal to you at all, the idea of giving it all up for love and a chance to make a difference, but at the cost of the intense scrutiny palace life brings?
In my own way I’ve tried it. I left acting to study writing and human development, then went to work in community development (previously a dream of mine) for 15 months in the Caribbean. There were a lot of expectations and guidelines to follow that were challenging. I ended that experience feeling like I could offer more service to the world in my capacity as an artist.
Royal life is appealing in that it offers incredible access to opportunity, to beautiful things and experience, to security, to comfort. Meghan’s platform for public service is extremely enviable because of that access. But the platform comes with unique and huge personal sacrifices — including total loss of anonymity. There’s definitely an appeal to having the resources to carry out big projects that can change many lives for the better — and even save lives. I’d just hope I could do that and create and live freely.
“Harry & Meghan” seem to have a good sense of humor. Do you think they’ll watch?
I love that you mention their sense of humor when asking about what they’ll think when they watch! Are you assuming they won’t be moved to tears? I think if they ever watch it will be for the fun of it. My guess is they’ll think it’s hilarious. I know I would if I had to watch someone depict my life.
Will you be watching the Royal Wedding?
Depends on my time zone. But the closer it gets, the more interested I am so maybe I’ll be setting my alarm for pre-buttcrack of dawn.
“Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.