It was love at first sight for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who quickly noticed that their brief encounter on a blind date could blossom into something much, much bigger.
They were created by a mutual friend when American actress Markle was passing through London in July 2016, and the couple later revealed that they knew little about each other. The speed of their relationship surprised both of them.
"The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly fast was a confirmation to me that all the stars were aligned, everything was perfect," Harry said.
Less Two years later, they will be married at Windsor Castle on May 19, sealing a relationship that grew rapidly out of the focus of the media, and survived when it was made public explosively.
When the couple met for the first time to take, both were baffled.
She was 34 years old and was divorced for three years; He 31 and with some failed relationships and his 10-year military career recently behind him.
Harry had never heard of Markle or saw "Suits", the series of legal television drama in the United States that he had starred in since 2011.
"I was pleasantly surprised when I entered that room and saw it," he recalled. , and thought to himself: "I'm going to have to improve my game here!"
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Linkage in Botswana
By linking with their passion for good causes they represented, they immediately established a second appointment: the next day.
A few weeks later, he persuaded her to join him by camping for five days in Botswana, which Harry called a "great leap" to take so soon, but it paid off.
"We were really alone, which was crucial for me to make sure we could get to know each other," he said.  While Markle continued filming "Suits" in Toronto, the couple never spent more than two weeks apart.
Their romance was undercover for the first five or six months, and largely conducted at night behind closed doors.  "We really could have a lot of time to connect," Markle said.
The prince said that the royal family had been very supportive of the relationship, including his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, his father, Prince Charles. , as well as his brother Prince William and his wife Kate.
Harry said they had candid conversations about what their future might entail and considered it a "great relief" to have finally found someone comfortable with the pressure and life-long work that he comes along with.
The real author Andrew Morton, who wrote a biography of Markle, said the speed with which he fell in love with Harry was surprising since the television star was a prudent character for life.
"He was more of a supplicant than I ghan, he had more to gain and Meghan has more to lose by agreeing to be his girlfriend," Morton told AFP, in an unusual role reversal for the prince.
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& # 39; This is not a game & # 39;
Harry publicly confirmed that they were leaving in November 2016 with a very unusual statement criticizing the racist "abuse and harassment" directed towards her.
"It's not right that in a few months in a relationship with him Mrs. Markle should be subjected to a storm," said communications secretary Jason Knauf.
"This is not a game, it's her life and his."
The angry statement, going far beyond what Harry was to previous brides, confirmed how seriously this relationship was dealing with.
Finally, Harry proposed in November 2017.
The couple was having a cozy night in Nottingham Cottage, the two-room house they now share on the grounds of London's Kensington Palace, roasting a chicken.
"It was an amazing surprise, it was very sweet, natural and very romantic." He got on his knees, "the actress said.
Markle said yes before Harry finished proposing or even producing the ring.
They announced their commitment on November 27 of last year and she quickly joined the royal fold. making his first official public appearance with Harry on December 1 and spending Christmas with the family.
The couple will throw themselves into the causes they wish to defend, while Harry has suggested that their joint approach will be in the Commonwealth, particularly in youth.
"We both have passions for wanting to make a change for the better," he said.