In their engagement interview, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hailed their "matchmaker" for setting them up on a blind date in July last year. However, the all-important date details have remained hush-hush. During a chat with the Mail on Sunday, Meghan's friend and former agent Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne gave royal fans a candid insight into the couple's first meeting, just weeks ahead of the royal wedding. "Meghan had just told me, 'I'm going on a date tonight'," she recalled. "With Prince Harry! I looked at how stunning she was and I just thought: 'There's no way he's going to be able to resist her.'"
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November
Gina, who has travelled the world with the former Suits actress for various charity events and award shows, revealed that during a lunch date in London, Meghan was unable to hide her excitement at the prospect of meeting the royal in just a few hours' time. "I couldn't believe what I was hearing but I think she could barely believe it either," she shared. "We were both extremely excited. I jokingly asked if she knew what she was letting herself in for and she said: 'Well, it's going to be an experience and at least it will be a fun night."
The couple have been together since 2016
Speaking about what happened after the date, Gina shared: "After the date, she was telling me what a great guy he was, a real gentleman, genuinely nice, and when I asked if she would see him again she said: 'Well, it looks like it'." Meghan and Gina worked together for two years, having met in 2014. The self-made businesswoman and her husband Mark established Kruger Cowne Talent Management, with clients including Sir Richard Branson and Cher.
In the days that followed, it was clear to Gina that the romance was heading in the right direction. "I'm sure that the Botswana trip is what clinched the deal," she explained. "I knew that would do it for them - Africa has that effect." She added: "They were so clearly already in love. She told me it was serious and they had started discussing the future." Since Meghan and Harry announced their plans to marry, the happy couple have embarked on a number of royal engagements designed to introduce Los Angeles-born Meghan to royal life. They will tie the knot in Windsor on 19 May.