Tiffany Smith, who plays Meghan Markle in Lifetime’s “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal,” is aware of her uncanny resemblance to the Duchess of Sussex.
“Obviously when Harry and Meghan started dating, it became even more [prominent to me] because I had so many friends who said, ‘You know who you look like?’ ” says Smith, 36, who’s previously appeared on The CW’s “Supernatural” and “Jane the Virgin.” And, like Markle, Smith is from a multiracial family. “Seeing Meghan and Harry come out and say, ‘We love each other and this is how we’re choosing to spend our lives, and either you’re onboard or you’re not but this is where we’re going’— that was such a strong connection for me,” she says. “And a strong connection to my parents.”
Smith co-stars in “Becoming Royal” opposite Charlie Field (“Poldark”) as Prince Harry. The movie, premiering Monday (8 p.m.), is a followup to last year’s “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance,” starring Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser in the titular roles. It snared 2.2 million viewers as Lifetime’s biggest original movie of 2018.
In order to help Smith and Field get to know each other better, the “Royal Romance” producers sent them on an adventure to an escape room before filming began in Vancouver. “I’ve done escape rooms before but I’ve never done it with one other person,” says Smith. “And this [escape room] was a horror room, and we both are not great with horror. I went to set the next day like, ‘Thanks guys for doing this for us — I realized that I’m the one who would get us out of a jam and Charlie would just hide behind me!’ ” Smith and Field also went to a hockey game together.
While last year’s “A Royal Romance” followed Markle and Harry’s meeting and courtship — which began while Markle was co-starring on USA’s “Suits” — “Becoming Royal” covers the behind-the-scenes drama leading up to the couple’s wedding and Markle’s eventual pregnancy, including friction with Harry’s brother, Prince William (played by Jordan Whalen).
(Royal baby Archie, born May 6, appears as a coda in the movie and, as the credits roll, there’s a photo of Harry and Meghan with their son.)
Smith says her main research in tackling the role consisted of watching videos of Markle with Prince Harry. “At the very end of their [first] interview, there was a part where the mics were off but they were just being goofy and playful together,” she says. “That was a really important moment for me to keep going back to. They have their public face, but both of them are a lot more relaxed than what we get to see from the royals. I wanted to make sure that came through in the performance.”
Smith also took the initiative of meeting Lifetime’s previous Markle portrayer, Fitz-Henley — contacting her through a mutual friend so the two “Meghans” could talk.
“It was awesome,” she says. “So much of what we know about [Markle] is women supporting women, women’s empowerment. There’s so much that people will say about … actresses being in competition with each other. And it wasn’t like that at all for us.
“[Parisa] was working on another project,” she says. “When I got back from shooting we went out to lunch together and that was so much fun. We talked about, ‘Of course we get along. We both got cast as the same person!’ ”
Photo Credit: Town & Country Magazine