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Here's the Real Story on How Harry and Meghan Got Together

Meet the woman who set up the royal lovebirds

What are friends for?

After months of speculation about who introduced Meghan Markle and Prince Harry,  the mystery matchmaker turns out to be Violet Von Westenholtz, a childhood pal of Harry's who first set the couple up on a blind date back in July 2016.

The daughter of former Olympic skier Baron Piers von Westenholz, who is a close personal friend of Harry's father, Prince Charles, Violet worked with Meghan before setting the pair up. She does PR for Ralph Lauren and met Meghan when she was being outfitted with the designer's clothes while doing press for Suits. At that time, according to a royal source, "Harry was having a really hard time finding anyone. He can hardly go on Tinder or a dating app like normal people, but to meet someone that you actually connect with, that was proving to be almost impossible."

When Harry confided in Violet he was having trouble finding someone, she suggested she had a friend, Meghan, who Harry should meet for a drink.

Meghan and Harry revealed the details on their first date in their interview with the BBC after announcing their engagement. "It was definitely a set-up," Markle said. "It was a blind date. I didn't know much about him and so the only thing I had asked her when she said she wanted to set us up was, I had one question, I said 'Was he nice?'" At the time, Meghan told Harry that she thought they should keep Violet's identity a secret to "protect her privacy."

Despite reports to the contrary, Harry was unaware of Meghan until his friend suggest the pair meet for a drink. "I'd never, never even heard about her until this friend said 'Meghan Markle,'" Harry told the BBC. "I was like, 'Right okay, give me, give me a bit of background, like what's going on here?' When I walked into that room and saw her and there she was sitting there, I was like, 'Okay, well I'm going to have to really up my game here.'"

After their second date, Harry invited Meghan to join him on a trip to Africa just a few weeks later. "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars. We were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other."

Apparently those "stars were aligned" as Harry has said and they were very much a couple from that time on. A few months later the British tabloids began reporting that Harry was dating "an American actress."

By early 2017, Meghan had met Prince Charles, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. Some time later, Harry took Meghan for tea to meet the Queen. In a cover story for the  October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair, Meghan went public as Harry's girlfriend, "We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time." The same month, Meghan and Harry made their first appearance as a couple at the Invictus Games in Canada.

The royal lovebirds announced their engagement on November 27, 2017 and their wedding is set for May 19th at Windsor Castle.

Before getting together, Meghan and Harry were involved in serious relationships. Meghan married to producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 until 2013. Harry dated Chelsy Davy from 2004 on and off until their breakup in 2011. He also has allegedly dated Eddie The Gun singer Camilla Romestrand, British television host Caroline Flack, singer Natalie Imbruglia and Cressida Bonas from 2012 until 2014. And for more on the royal couple and the upcoming nuptials, Here Are the Latest Details on Harry and Meghan's Wedding.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and the author of Imagining Diana A Novel and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style. 

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