This love story has one great beginning. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to wed on May 19, and they have one great mutual friend to thank for their relationship: Violet von Westenholz.
As the story goes, Prince Harry, 33, was bemoaning his lack of luck in the dating arena to von Westenholz, a longtime pal who heads up PR at Ralph Lauren’s London outpost, when she realized that she had the perfect person in mind for the young prince.
Von Westenholz, who had initially met Markle, 36, via her work with Ralph Lauren, plotted to set the two up on a blind date. “Meghan had been a part of the London social scene for a while and had slotted into the high society set really easily,” a source told E! News. “And so when Harry told Violet he was having trouble finding someone, Violet said she might just have the perfect girl for him.”
When von Westenholz proposed the idea to Markle, the former Suits actress was cautious.
“It was definitely a set-up. It was a blind date,” Markle told the BBC last November shortly after the pair announced their engagement. “I didn’t know much about him and so the only thing I had asked her when she said she wanted to set us up was, I had one question, I said, ‘Was he nice?’ Cause if he wasn’t kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense.”
The couple went on a date in early July 2016 and hit it off immediately. Though they were initially set to just grab a drink, by the end of the date, they were asking each other what they should do the next day.
And the next. And the next.
About three or four weeks later, the stakes escalated quickly when Prince Harry invited Markle to accompany him on a trip to Africa.
“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars,” he said during the BBC interview. “Then we were really by yourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other.”
The pair announced their engagement in late November 2017 after making several very public appearances traveling around the globe (to Norway, to Toronto, to Jamaica), and they lived, as they say, happily ever after.
Watch the video above for more from their first interview. Follow The Knot for all things related to the royal wedding, happening May 19 at Windsor Castle.