Here’s Why The Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Lifetime Movie Had All Those Lion Scenes

Even if you don’t suffer from Royal Fever — that is, the incurable need to follow the lives of the British royal family super closely — the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle might just be enough to pull you in — especially once you watch their Lifetime movie. But, while the movie is based on Meghan and Harry’s courtship, this is still a Lifetime movie, not the news. Did that scene with Prince Harry and the lion actually happen? Ummmm, probably (definitely) not, but Prince Harry has actually gotten up close and personal with the king of the jungle in the past.

In the film, Harry’s meetings with the lion serve as a neat and tidy plot device, emphasizing the beginning, middle, and end of the story. First, Harry comes face to face with a lion as a little boy in Botswana, just after his mother’s death. Instead of attacking, the lion stands there patiently, a symbol of his mother’s courage and bravery, and the bravery that lies within Harry’s own heart.

Next, while on their second date in Botswana, Meghan awakens to the sound of a lion roaring, and wakes Harry out of fear. Harry tells her not to worry, the lion is merely calling for his mate. Sure enough, soon two roars are heard, as the lions found each other — a pretty obvious echo of the fact that Harry and Meghan have now found each other, too.

The lion appears one last time as Harry storms out of their Botswana bungalo after refusing to talk to Meghan about the anniversary of his mother’s death. Once more, he walks right into the path of the lion, but this time, Meghan is there with him. Together, they admire the majesty of this fearsome beast, and then, as it runs off, Harry finally lets down his guard and opens up to Meghan.

So, is Prince Harry actually some kind of lion whisperer? Seeing as the repeated symbolism of the lion’s appearance fits way too perfectly with the narrative of the film, I’m going to have to go ahead and say Lifetime embellished on this one. However, choosing a lion to be an important symbol in Harry’s life wasn’t such a random choice. The ginger-haired prince actually does have some affinity with the animal.

In 2015, The Daily Mail published an article called "Harry the Lionheart," showing Harry monitoring the heartbeat of a sedated lion in Namibia. Harry’s personal coat of arms also prominently features lions. The shield is flanked by a lion on the left and unicorn on the right, and topped by a smaller lion on top of a coronet. There’s also a bunch of red and gold Lannister-looking lions on the panels of the shield.

In Harry and Meghan, during the marathon first date scene, Harry mentions to Meghan that his favorite movie is The Lion King. Whether that’s true or not, I can’t say for sure, but, according to The Sun, the pair did go to see the musical version of the Lion King in London’s West End back in December 2016. You can bet that people definitely are watching The Lion King in Buckingham Palace, too, as Prince William mentioned to one young fan that it happens to be Prince George’s favorite movie.

As for Prince Harry, Glamour reports that he prefers Zulu, the 1964 film about a famous battle between British soldiers and Zulu warriors in South Africa. The opening lyrics to "Circle of Life" are actually in the Zulu language, so it’s all connected, really.

The official Royal Wedding won’t take place until May 19, and when it does, you’ll be able to watch the entire thing on TV and in 200 selected movie theaters across the US. In the meantime, however, Lifetime’s Harry and Meghan will premiere this Sunday, May 13 — lions and all.

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