Once upon a time, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were complete strangers who just happened to be set up on a blind date.
And in new details from her upcoming book, Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss and Love, royal reporter Katie Nicholl delves deep into the royal couple’s first encounter. The first big tidbit: It wasn't Markle’s friend Misha Nonoo who had set up the two on their first date, contrary to what many royal fans believe.
It was actually a mutual friend, Violet von Westenholz, a publicist for Ralph Lauren and reportedly one of Markle’s bachelorette attendees, who made the connection. Supposedly, the Duchess of Sussex attended Wimbledon back in 2016 as a guest of Ralph Lauren, and it was right around the time when Markle first met Prince Harry. Prince Harry is a good friend of Von Westenholz and that’s who gave Harry Markle’s phone number.
In an excerpt from the book, Nicholl also reveals that after that first blind date, the two arranged to meet up again soon after. This time, at the swanky and private members-only Soho House in London, run by another mutual friend, Markus Anderson (whom Markle ate dinner with when she was in New York City this spring). During this second meet-up, Harry and Markle chatted over a bottle of chilled rosé, Nicholl writes (and the rest, as they say, is history).
A few weeks after Soho House, the two jetted off to Botswana for their third date (!). Going off a new photo from the official @SussexRoyal account, it seems Markle and Prince Harry were busy helping with elephant conservation efforts during their trip. During the couple’s official engagement announcement in November 2017, Harry recalled the few days they spent in Africa.
“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”
Nicholl’s book is out today on Amazon, and don’t doubt for a second we won’t be furiously reading through the lines to find out more special behind-the-scenes moments like these.