Once upon a time, a royal prince met a stunning American actress and swept her off her feet. A royal fairy tale romance ensued, and now Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are happily married and parents to little Master Archie.
Except, it wasn't as cut-and-dry as this love story makes it sound. When Prince Harry met the former Suits actress, he was actually already dating someone else. Yeah, sorta scandalous, right? (Pour up the Dubonnet, Queen Liz.)
Back in early 2016, Harry was casually dating model Sarah Ann Macklin, according to royal biographer Angela Levin. She spills the tea in her new book, Harry: Conversations with the Prince, but says the relationship wasn't really serious. Macklin and the prince reportedly met at a private party in 2016, exchanged numbers, and even went on a few dates, but it turned out to be "just a fling."
Around the same time, the Duke of Sussex was set up on a blind date with Markle, supposedly via their mutual friend and Markle's BFF Violet von Westenholz, a publicist for Ralph Lauren.
The duchess spilled the deets of their meet-cute during their engagement interview at Kensington Palace back in November 2017. "It was definitely a set up, it was a blind date. I didn’t know much about him and so I asked her when she said she would set us up: 'Is he nice?' If he wasn’t kind it didn’t seem like it would make sense," Markle said.
Prince Harry remembered being taken aback by his wife-to-be when he first set eyes on her. “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into a room and there she was sitting there,” the sixth in line to the throne said.
During the couple’s engagement photo session, the prince also revealed he knew they were meant to be from “the first time [they] met.” Markle was just as taken by Harry. She said they both felt the spark soon into their first date. “Very quickly into that, we said, ‘Well, what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.’”
In an excerpt from another book, Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss and Love, royal reporter Katie Nicholl revealed the details behind their second date. It reportedly took place at London's swanky members-only club, Soho House, which is run by another mutual friend, Markus Anderson (whom Markle ate dinner with when she was in New York City this spring). During this meet-up, Harry and Markle chatted over a bottle of chilled rosé, Nicholl writes.
Macklin and Harry were never very serious, though. It seems Macklin, who's also a nutritionist and contributing wellness editor (not to mention, an influencer with an Insta page that reminds us of The Tig...), is doing just fine.
And the rest is royal history.