David Butler, with his painting sent to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Scenic artist gets thank-you from Meghan and Harry for wedding gift

Special to the VOICE

While working as a scenic artist on the Toronto set of the TV series “Suits,” David Butler heard the rumors, as did many others, that the show’s then-star Meghan Markle was dating Prince Harry.

“It was all kind of hush-hush,” Butler, who is 31 and currently lives in Fenwick, said last week. “Although [the prince] came and did a walk-through on set once.”

Once the pair became engaged, Butler’s artistic instinct gave him an idea: Paint the soon-to-be royal couple a picture.

“The makeup girls were able to find out what she was into, I kind of went off of that,” Butler said.

It turned out Markle’s favorite flower is the peony, which also happened to be beloved by Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Butler then commenced the month-long process of creating the painting, an item that ultimately became a belated wedding gift to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from Markle’s co-workers.

Suits’ entire cast and crew signed the finished product, but then proper protocol set in.

“First, we had to get the go-ahead from [show producers]NBC Universal, in L.A.,” Butler said. “There was a whole chain of command thing that had to happen.”

After talking to the Duchess’ personal secretary, it was decided to hold off sending the gift until the global media frenzy surrounding the May 2018 wedding had subsided. Then, just before last Christmas, British Airways World Cargo delivered the painting to the royal couple, who welcomed their first child—a boy—this Monday.

Butler did not expect to hear back directly from Meghan and Harry, so he was a little surprised when a personal thank-you letter arrived in Fenwick via special delivery last month.

“It was great,” Butler said.

Butler said that while he wasn’t close with Markle while working on Suits, the typical camaraderie of a film set was at play.

“Actors mingled with the crew and vice versa, it was good that way,” he said.

As an artist, Butler found the project rewarding because of the personal trials he was dealing with at the time.

“Going through my divorce, there were a lot of emotions that kind of spewed out over that painting,” he said. “Speaking as an artist, you kind of get lost in it a little bit.”

Butler is now working on another Ontario-filmed production, the new Netflix series, “Locke & Key.”