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Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started 'afresh' with one another

The royals began dating in 2016

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Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry opened up about the very beginning of their relationship and why they were glad they knew nothing about each other.

MORE: Meghan Markle's engagement ring upgrade wasn't the Duchess' decision

Their love story began in London where they met for a drink at Soho House's Dean Street Townhouse London in summer 2016 after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Fast-forward 18 months and they were reminiscing about how they could "start afresh" in their engagement interview after Harry popped the question with a diamond trilogy ring while they were cooking a roast dinner at their former home, Nottingham Cottage.

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Despite the Duke of Sussex being a key part of the high-profile British royal family, his now-wife Duchess Meghan admitted that her upbringing in America meant she was largely unaware of his life. 

"Because I'm from the states you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family. So while I now understand very clearly there is a global interest there, I didn't know much about him and so the only thing that I had asked her when she said she wanted to set us up was: 'Is he nice?' If he wasn't kind it just didn't seem like it would make sense.

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meghan markle prince harry engagement photocall

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed it was 'refreshing' to get to know each other with no prior knowledge

"So we went and met for a drink and then very quickly into that [date] we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again," she told the BBC.

When asked if Harry had seen the former Suits actress on TV before their first meeting, he replied: "No, I'd never even heard about her.

"I'd never watched Suits, I'd never heard of Meghan before and I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. There she was, sitting there, and I thought wow I'm going to have to really up my game here, got to sit down and make sure I have good chat," he laughed as he gazed lovingly at his then-fiancée. 

meghan ring

The Duchess proudly showed off her engagement ring

Meghan added that it was "refreshing" to start their relationship at the very beginning and build their knowledge of one another in a very private, intimate way without outside influences. 

She said: "I think for both of us it was really refreshing because, given that I didn't know a lot about him, everything that I've learned about him I learned through him, as opposed to having grown up around different news stories or tabloids or whatever else.

"Everything I knew about him and his family was what he would share with me and vice versa, so for both of us, it was just a really authentic and organic way to get to know each other."

meghan markle wedding chapel harry

The royals on their wedding day in May 2018

With people "thinking they know" a lot about Harry, he reiterated it was "hugely refreshing to be able to get to know someone who isn't necessarily within your circle". He continued: "To be able to start almost afresh, right from the beginning and getting to know each other step by step.

"And taking that huge leap of only two dates and then going effectively on holiday together in the middle of nowhere and sharing a tent together and all that kind of stuff. It was fantastic, it was absolutely amazing to get to know her as quickly as I did."

Meghan later said during her interview with Oprah Winfrey that she hadn't researched the Queen or her relatives ahead of meeting the royal family, leading to her learning to curtsy just minutes before meeting the late monarch.

The couple got engaged in 2017 after Harry presented Meghan with an engagement ring made from a diamond from Botswana flanked by two diamonds from his late mother Princess Diana's collection. They exchanged vows in May 2018 and they are now doting parents to children Archie and Lilibet.

MORE: Inside Prince Harry's relationship with 'amazing' mother-in-law Doria Ragland

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