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Royal couples & where they went on their first date

Think of this as a Royal First Dates special...

royal first dates
February 25, 2020
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We know what happened after they met but how did the romances of Meghan and Harry, Kate and William and Charles and Camilla start life? From polo matches at Windsor Greak Park and private members’ clubs in Soho to trips aboard the royal yacht and Rendez-Vous on the ski slopes of Verbier, we take a look at how these royal couples were first introduced and what they did on their 'first dates'.

Prince William & Kate Middleton

While it’s widely known that Prince William and Kate Middleton met at university at St Andrews, what’s less well-publicised is what happened on their first date. Apparently not everything went totally to plan; wanting to make a joke, Kate tried a curtsey but then fell over, making William spill a drink onto himself. Kate has now nailed curtseys and it’s worked out pretty well ever since.

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Meghan Markle & Prince Harry 

Meghan and Harry met on a blind date, set up by their mutual friend, Violet von Westenholz. She was a childhood pal of Harry’s and the first meeting was rumoured to have taken place at private members’ club Soho House in London. Apparently Meghan was buzzing after their first encounter and Harry obviously felt the same as the pair then enjoyed back-to-back dates before heading off on safari together soon after. 

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Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank

Beautiful scenery and far away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi, a ski resort seems a pretty appropriate place for a first royal romantic encounter. And it was on the slopes at Verbier in 2010 that Princess Eugenie met her future husband, Jack Brooksbank, and enjoyed the après ski as much as the slopes. 

MORE: Look back on the best pictures from Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding

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King Felipe of Spain & Letizia Ortiz

King Felipe met his future queen for the first time in October 2002 when they were both invited to a dinner party, hosted by Spanish news anchor Pedro Erquicia in Madrid. 

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Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall

Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall met on the other side of the world – in Sydney’s Manly Wharf bar. She was on her gap year, while he was drowning his sorrows after being dropped from the England rugby squad for the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup. "Zara was in the same bar; we got introduced but didn't speak that much. Later on, Austin [Healey] gave me her number and said, 'She wants you to text her, to say where you're all going out after the final so she can come along,'" Mike revealed. He did text back and then, when they were both back in England, Zara invited him to join her at the North Cotswold Ball, a more traditional royal date night.  

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Peter Phillips & Autumn Kelly

They might be over, but it really was love at first sight for Peter Phillips. The royal spotted Autumn Kelly at the Montreal Grand Prix and apparently "couldn’t take his eyes off her," said a friend. "Within five minutes he had managed to engage her in conversation. He had to go off to do some official business but within half an hour he was back and had managed to get her mobile telephone number, her email address and invite her and three of her friends to the Formula One post-race party. He certainly wasn’t going to let her disappear."

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Sophie Rhys-Jones & Prince Edward

Though the-then Sophie Rhys-Jones and Prince Edward met briefly through a friend in 1987, it was six years later that they actually got together after rekindling their acquaintance at a charity event. 

prince albert monaco charlene

Prince Albert of Monaco & Charlene Wittstock

Permanent bachelor Prince Albert shocked everyone when he was spotted at the 2006 Winter Olympics on a date with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. Apparently the couple had met during a swimming meet in Monaco, six years earlier, in 2000.

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Prince Charles & Diana Spencer

Lady Diana Spencer famously met Prince Charles when she was 16 and he was dating her older sister, Sarah. Three years later, her family was invited to be guests at a country weekend and she watched him play polo. It was here that they apparently first clicked but he took the relationship to another level by inviting her aboard the royal yacht Britannia for a sailing weekend to Cowes. 

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Prince Charles & Camilla Shand

Polo also played a key factor in Charles and Camilla’s first meeting. They met for the first time at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in 1970. They started dating straight afterwards before history took over. 

READ: 8 times the royals have gone to the theatre

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Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson had "played tag" together as children but it was when the Queen invited Fergie to stay at Windsor Castle for Ascot week in 1985 that things got serious.

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Sophie Winkleman & Lord Freddie Windsor

Despite being a famous actress and the son of a prince, Sophie Winkleman and Lord Freddie Windsor had a very ordinary first meeting. The pair first clapped eyes on each other on a night out in London. It was in the midst of Freddie’s partying days but Sophie soon tamed his wild ways. 

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Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece & Marie-Chantal Miller

Mutual friend, New York investment banker Alecko Papamarkou, set this American heiress up on a date with the Greek Crown Prince after being convinced that they would hit it off. He wasn’t wrong; "We clicked," the Princess said in 2008. "It was love at first sight. I knew that he was the person I would marry." 

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Prince Rainier of Monaco & Grace Kelly

This fairytale romance started at the suitably glamorous Cannes Festival in 1955. Hollywood actress Grace Kelly was there promoting her film To Catch A Thief and her poise and style caught the eye of Monaco’s prince. Grace was persuaded to meet Rainier at a staged photo opportunity. "When Prince Rainier arrived, Grace Kelly gave that kind of very discreet American bow, bending her knee, and they shook hands," revealed photographer Edward Quinn. "When Grace left, [she] said to everybody, 'He is a very charming man,' and that was the end of it for the time being." But the prince was smitten and the pair married a year later.

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Princess Anne & Mark Phillips

It will come as little surprise that Princess Anne met her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, at a party for horse enthusiasts in 1968. The pair bonded over their shared love of riding and Princess Anne used to keep her romance a secret by hiding Mark in the back of her horsebox while she drove around. 

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