How Long Ago Did Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Meet? Longer Than You Might Think

by Annie Foskett
Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When a beautiful human who happens to be an actor starts dating another beautiful human who happens to be an heir to a paper towel fortune or, you know, a prince, I always assume that they met at some fancy people party on St. Barth's. Maybe they crossed paths en route to the loo. Or perhaps one spilled a glass of Dom Perignon on the other. So naturally, I assumed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met years ago in a meet-cute not unlike the Lifetime movies Markle sometimes acts in. Except I was entirely wrong.

These fanciful St. Barth's rendez-vous fantasies likely stem from my childhood habit of swiping my Nana's copies ofVanity Fair — the very same publication that first taught me that royals did in fact exist outside of fairy tales. In reality, Meghan and Harry met in one of the most relatable ways possible: they were set up by a mutual friend. According to E!, Prince Ginger and Princess Messy Bun met through Ralph Lauren PR Director Violet von Westenholz.

Each had seen the other's Instagram account, but they had never met prior to their very first date. Imagine all the nerves of showing up to a first date with someone you've never met, but knowing that he's a prince. The prince. I imagine that this was probably the closest Prince Harry could get to using a dating app without breaking the internet.

Von Westenholz, the daughter of a baron who was acquainted with both Harry and Meghan, played matchmaker and set Markle and Harry up on a blind date. In the couple's engagement interview with BBC, Markle confirmed that it was indeed a truly blind date, “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?’” Indeed, it seems that he was.

But when did this all go down? The amount of press coverage circulating about the pair makes it seem as though they've been dating forever. (When is this wedding again? Isn't it already here yet?) However, according to Andrew Morton, the author of the recently released biography Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, Harry and Meghan's first date took place in a private room at London's Soho House in July 2016. They haven't even been together for two years!

Clearly, however, Harry and Meghan were smitten with each other from the start. Apparently, their first date went so well that the two decided to spend the next evening together, and then ended up going on a safari to Botswana together a few weeks later. "We had two dates in London last July, and it was I think about three, maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana, and we camped out with each other under the stars," Harry shared in the BBC interview. (Oh, to date a royal!)

However lengthy the wedding coverage has felt, the pair's courtship felt shorter. After all, news of their relationship did not leak until October 2016, when the Sunday Express reported that Harry had secretly been dating the "US TV Star." However, the pair did not officially confirm the romance until November 2016, when Prince Harry released a rare statement in which he asked the press and social media trolls to stop abusing and harassing his girlfriend, Meghan Markle. At the risk of sounding like Paris Hilton: that's hot.

So here we are, just short of two years from that fateful first date, preparing to watch a somewhat unconventional, but fully adorable royal couple seal the deal. Cheers to Meghan and Harry, and may all your blind dates be this fruitful!