Prince Harry had ‘crush’ on Meghan Markle two years before meeting

Meghan and Harry 'nervous' about Netflix backlash says expert

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been thrust back into the spotlight following the release of a new photograph of the pair posing just before the Duchess gave the keynote speech at the One Young World Summit during their recent visit to the UK. Their “joyous moment” was captured by their friend and frequent photographer Misan Harriman, who posted the image to Instagram. The celebrated photographer also published a new solo picture of Meghan from One Young World’s flagship event, alongside the caption: “From the archive, MM in Manchester moments before attending @oneyoungworld.” 

During her speech, Meghan reminisced about her life before the Royal Family, recalling her history with One Young World, for which she has served as a Counsellor since 2014. The Duchess said she was “probably a lot like each of you” when she first got involved — “young, ambitious, advocating for the things I deeply and profoundly believed in.”

Alongside her philanthropic efforts, Meghan led a successful career in Hollywood, and at the time of becoming Counsellor at One Young World, had a recurring role in the American legal drama Suits. It is well-documented that Meghan and Harry bonded over their humanitarian work, but a royal expert has claimed the LA native’s acting career also had a role to play in their love connection. 

In the Channel 4 documentary, ‘When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance’, which aired in 2018, royal author Katie Nicholl said: “He [Harry] had a crush on [Meghan’s character] Rachel Zane two years before he met Meghan and the reason I know is because I was having drinks with one of his friends.”

Ms Nicholl claimed that the Prince called Meghan his “ideal girl” two whole years before the pair met through a mutual friend. The couple’s love story began in London when they went on their first date in Soho in the summer of 2016.

Co-authors of ‘Finding Freedom’, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, wrote Harry “was in a trance” after their first encounter. In a serialisation in The Times in 2020, Mr Scobie and Ms Durand wrote: “Over drinks (beer for him, a martini for her), they asked each other questions about their work. 

“Nibbles may have been out on the low table in front of their oversize chairs, but neither touched the food. They were also too engrossed in their conversation, and too involved with each other, to notice the rather rude wallpaper featuring photos of women’s private parts that adorned the walls.”

They added: “No one expected what happened next.

“‘Almost immediately they were almost obsessed with each other,’ a friend said.

“‘It was as if Harry was in a trance.’ Meghan called one of her girlfriends. “‘Do I sound crazy when I say this could have legs?’ she asked.”

The following evening, Meghan and Harry met up again for a romantic dinner. And the next night, the then-actress was whisked through the streets of London to Kensington Palace, where Harry was living at the time. Six weeks later, the Prince invited Meghan on a trip to Botswana, a country he holds close to his heart.

Harry has since spoken about how important the trip to Africa was for his future relationship with Meghan. In his keynote speech at the United Nations in July, the Prince said: “Since I first visited Africa at 13 years old, I’ve always found hope on the continent. In fact, for most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I have found peace and healing time and time again.

“It’s where I’ve felt closest to my mother and sought solace after she died, and where I knew I had found a soulmate in my wife. And it’s why so much of my work is based there.”

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They got engaged just over a year after their first meeting in the capital, and Meghan was introduced to life as a royal as she attended official engagements and the family’s Christmas at Sandringham, making her the first royal fiancée to do so. 

In May 2018, tens of millions of people around the world tuned in for the Sussexes’ royal wedding. They have since welcomed two children — three-year-old Archie Harrison and one-year-old Lilibet Diana — and started afresh in California having left their royal lives behind. 

While the couple have lived much of their four year marriage in the public eye, the Duchess of Sussex has claimed there is a side to their relationship that “people haven’t been able to see”. 

In an interview with New York-based magazine The Cut in August, Meghan said: “The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story.”

It has been speculated that their docuseries with Netflix, which was confirmed by the Duchess in September, will explore their “love story”. 

She went on to quote what she says was the end of a speech she gave at her and Harry’s wedding, in which she took comfort in the “resounding knowing that, above all, love wins”. 

Speaking about the series in her more recent interview with Variety magazine, Meghan said: “It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story — a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired — even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it. But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens.”

Referencing the Sussexes’ projects, including her podcast Archetypes and Harry’s highly-anticipated memoir, the Duchess added: “I hope that is the sentiment that people feel when they see any of the content or the projects that we are working on.”

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