How did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet and when?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the day they announced their engagement

As they celebrate their third wedding anniversary this month, we delve into the couple's first date and answer the age-old question: how did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet?

When Harry and Meghan first met all those years ago, no-one could have predicted where their royal romance would have taken them.

Nearly two years after their fabulous royal wedding at Windsor, the couple made the huge decision to step back as senior royals and set up a new life and home in LA, with their son Archie and soon-to-arrive baby girl.

The couple have navigated many obstacles together since they first met, yet have remained as solid and strong as ever. We revisit the early days of their relationship and that 'star-aligning' first date.

When did Prince Harry meet Meghan Markle?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met on Friday 1st July 2016.

Meghan was in London to promote the latest season of her TV series Suits. Whilst Prince Harry had just flown back from France after helping to commemorate 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.

In the couple's engagement interview with the BBC, the Duke of Sussex revealed that he fell in love with Meghan "so incredibly quickly" and that it felt like the "stars were aligned" for their relationship.

He also revealed that he did not know of Meghan before their first meeting:

"I'd never watched Suits. I'd never heard of Meghan before," he said. "And I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. And there she was sitting there and I was like 'okay, i'm really going to have to up my game here' and sit down and make sure i've got good chat."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pictured laughing

Harry and Meghan's chemistry was evident from early on. (Credit: Getty)
(Image credit: PA)

According to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of Finding Freedom, Meghan also did not know a lot about the seventh-in-line to the throne prior to the meeting.

A friend said: “She didn’t know much about him at all other than what had been written. She knows how wrong the tabloids can be, and she wanted to know who the real Harry was, not what the likes of TMZ said.”

How did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met on a blind date set-up by a mutual friend.

The two spent the evening at Soho House's Dean Street Townhouse - where Meghan was also staying during her trip to London.

According to Finding Freedom, the date lasted about three hours. Harry enjoyed a few beers, whilst Meghan sipped on martinis.

How did Prince Harry and Meghan meet? During a blind date at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho

The Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, London, was where Harry and Meghan had their first date. (Credit: Getty)

The two immediately bonded over their shared love of humanitarian issues and philanthropy.

Meghan also told Harry about her rescue dogs, Guy and Bogart, showing him sweet pictures of them on her phone.

A source present at the venue on the night said that Harry and Meghan were sat on two velvet chairs and seemed very much "in their own little world"

The prince later told one friend that he was bowled over by Meghan's beauty.

“Wow. The most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my life," he reportedly said.

For the date, Meghan wore a navy blue sundress. This was to make a special re-appearance at the couple's wedding - with a piece of the blue fabric sewn into the petticoat of her wedding dress as Meghan's 'something blue'.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Credit: Getty

Who introduced Harry to Meghan?

Harry and Meghan's matchmaker has never been confirmed. Though media reports have suggested two possible friends: Misha Nonoo and Violet von Westenholz.

According to royal biographer Andrew Morton, Violet's father is Baron Piers von Westenholz, who is a friend of Prince Charles. The families are said to be close. Violet has apparently joined the Prince of Wales and his sons on skiing trips to Switzerland.

Violet von Westenholz who is rumoured to have set Harry and Meghan up

Violet von Westenholz is rumoured to have set Harry and Meghan up. (Credit: Getty)

Violet, a Ralph Lauren PR executive, knew Meghan through work. And she had helped the future Duchess with details of her 2016 London trip.

"While she has been modest about her matchmaking skills – ‘I might leave that for other people to say,’ she told the Daily Telegraph – it seems likely that she set up Meghan and Harry on their famous blind date," writes Morton in his biography Meghan: A Hollywood Princess.

Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand however dismissed Violet as the potential matchmaker. They instead claim that it was in fact fashion designer and soon-to-be mom Misha Nonoo who orchestrated the set up, with the help of Soho House membership director, Markus Anderson.

“Despite reports that Violet von Westenholz had set up the date, it was mostly Meghan’s pals Misha NoNoo and Markus Anderson who were in on the first meeting," they wrote. “Misha thought Meghan could be a match for Harry.”

Meghan hugs friend and rumoured matchmaker Misha Nonoo

Meghan hugs friend and rumoured matchmaker Misha Nonoo (Credit: Getty)

A long-term friend of Meghan's, Misha and Meg first met in December 2014 at an Art Basel lunch in Miami.

Misha knows Harry because the 36-year-old was previously married to Harry's old Eton friend, Alexander Gilkes.

Misha allegedly told Meghan:”Let’s just get you in a room together and see what happens.”

How long did Meghan and Harry date before getting engaged?

Harry and Meghan met in July 2016 and announced their engagement on 27 November 2017. The couple therefore dated for 16 months before Harry proposed.

The couple enjoyed some privacy during the early days of their courtship. With news of their relationship not revealed until 31 October 2016.

Harry and Meghan

Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

A source close to Harry told the Express at the time that Harry was "besotted" by Meghan and that "he’s happier than he’s been for many years."

"At the moment they are just taking it a step at a time and seeing how things develop,” they added.

Fast forward a year and the happy couple announced their engagement to the world.

Harry popped the question whilst the two were “roasting a chicken” at his Nottingham cottage home, in Kensington Palace.

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.