It only took a couple of dates for the now-Duke and Duchess of Sussex to hit it off. But how did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet in the first place? It isn’t every day that an American actress ends up mingling with a prince from across the pond, after all.
Well, the way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met was pretty classic: They were set up! During the couple’s very first sit-down interview with the BBC following their engagement announcement in 2017, Harry revealed, “We were introduced actually by a mutual friend.” While the identity of their matchmaker has long remained a subject of debate, E! News claims it was Harry’s childhood friend Violet von Westenholz who introduced them, whereas other sites speculate it was fashion designer, Mischa Nonoo.
Either way, we know someone played matchmaker and landed Harry a blind date with Meghan. It is believed the pair met in early July 2016 at the Dean Street Townhouse in London—and when Harry walked in, he was already taken with the Suits alum. “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her,” he said during the couple’s 2017 BBC interview. “I was like, Okay, well, I’m really gonna have to up my game!”
Meghan, meanwhile, only wanted to know one thing: “Is he nice?” she recalled texting a friend. “If he wasn’t kind, it didn’t seem like it would make sense,” she explained. But it looks like Harry passed the test: “We met for a drink, and then I think very quickly into that we said, ‘Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again,'” Meghan said.
The pair went on a second date not long after. During a March 2021 interview with James Corden on The Late Late Show, Harry revealed that this was when he realized just how “special” his connection with Meghan really was. “The second date… I was starting to think wow this is pretty special,” he told Corden.
He reflected on these early days of dating, adding, “We got to spend an enormous amount of time, just the two of us. There were no distractions, and that was great, it was an amazing thing. We went from zero to 60 in the first two months.”
“We hit it off with each other,” Harry went on to explain to Corden. “We were so comfortable in each other’s company.”
So comfortable, in fact, that Harry had the wild idea of jetting off to South Africa with Meghan for their third date. “I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars,” he said to the BBC. “Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other.” And as we know, the rest is history.