The Times’ excerpts of Finding Freedom aren’t ALL palace politics and royal aides waiting to stick a knife into one’s back. The Times also devoted a lot of space to the story of Prince Harry and then-Meghan Markle’s courtship, which moved fast because it was love/obsession at first sight. They were two adults who had life experience and romantic experience and they knew love when they felt it. But I think they were both romantics too – if anything, Meghan more than Harry. Harry seemed like he knew well enough that as soon as the press caught wind of his relationship, Meghan’s life would be drastically altered. Finding Freedom also doesn’t confirm the name of the person who set them up, a matchmaker whose identity has been widely speculated but never established. Some highlights from these Times excerpts:
[From The Times]
Their first date: On that first date at Soho House’s Dean Street Townhouse Harry quickly realised that impressing Meghan was going to be tougher than just giving her one of his big smiles. Perhaps she sensed his nervousness, because the couple were somewhat bashful at first. However, it didn’t take long for them to start chatting easily. Very easily. On two individual velvet club chairs, the pair were “in their own little world”, a source said. Harry talked about his charity work, excitedly telling her stories from his extensive trips to Africa. Their “passions for wanting to make change for good”, as Harry described it, was, as Meghan said, “One of the first things we connected on.”
They made plans for a second date that night: At the end of the evening, which had lasted almost three hours, Harry and Meghan went their separate ways. Despite the palpable attraction between them, there was no goodbye kiss, no expectation, just a hint that something was there and they hoped to see each other again soon. 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. [For their second date] They returned to Dean Street Townhouse the next evening for a romantic dinner. No front entrance for the pair, they were given directions for how to get into the building using a discreet door away from prying eyes.”
Harry knew she was the One on the second date: “Harry knew they would be together at that point,” a friend shared. “She was ticking every box fast.”
Meghan started following his IG account @SpikeyMau5. It was in fact Harry’s private account. A big house music fan, he crafted the pseudonym by using part of the name of one of his favourite DJs, Deadmau5. Spikey came from a Facebook alias that Harry used for an account he had under the name of Spike Wells. “Spike” was a nickname sometimes used for the prince, particularly by Scotland Yard officers.
He took her to Botswana for their “third date”: “She came back smiling and just completely spellbound.” Her phone was full of photos — the nature they had seen, candid snaps of herself, and selfies with Harry. According to the friend, if Meghan didn’t have to return to Canada for work and Harry to his life in London, “they would have happily spent the entire summer there together”. Meghan said that she and Harry talked so much, about things she rarely shared with anyone. “I’ve never felt that safe,” Meghan told her friend, “that close to someone in such a short amount of time.”
They both fell hard & fast: Three months into their relationship, a Meghan friend said, they had already begun swapping the words “I love you”. It was Harry who said it first, but Meghan immediately replied, “I love you, too.” From there it didn’t take long for them to begin talking in non-oblique terms about their future.
Racism among the elitists: When he first started seeing her, Harry, sensitive to even the slightest hint of prejudice, had fallouts within his own circle. When some questioned his new relationship, and whether she was suitable, he would wonder, “Is this about race? Is it snobbery?” An old friend of Harry’s spent an afternoon gossiping about Meghan, making disparaging remarks about her Hollywood background. Word got back to Harry, and the prince immediately cut him off. If he was willing to confront those close to him, when it came to the media, Harry was poised for outright war.
This made me think of how tortured the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s “love story” is with all of the breakups and waitying and cheating and everything else. So many authors have tried and failed to make William and Kate sound like a grand love story and they’re just… not. But man, Meghan and Harry were obsessed with each from the word “go.” It clearly was love too, not “lust” (as William apparently said to Harry). Harry saw who he wanted and went after her, big time, and he will stop at nothing to protect her and their son. Why wasn’t their love story celebrated?
Photos courtesy of WENN.