How Meghan was saved from Cheryl's footballer ex Ashley Cole and the VERY unroyal fate of a WAG wedding when he asked the Suits star on a date after following her on Twitter

  • Meghan met with UK journalists four years ago keen to make her name there
  • She admitted ex-footballer Ashley Cole followed her on Twitter asking for a date?
  • Warned about his infidelity, the future royal giggled saying 'I think I'll leave it'?

The truth is that I had almost no idea who she was. Inconspicuous in a black wrap coat, dark jeans and high-heeled boots, Meghan Markle was just another hopeful actress at the time – if one with a Hollywood smile.

But even when we met four years ago, she seemed determined to raise her profile in this country – and that's why she'd arranged to spend a cold November evening with me, angling for a mention or two in the British press.

Young, bright and energetic, she was doing well with a new role in US legal drama Suits, and was clearly going places.

Working our way through a bottle of prosecco at the rooftop bar of the Sanctum Soho Hotel, something else became clear, too: her keen interest in British men of a certain, well, standing.

Producing an iPhone from her handbag, she pointed to the picture of a good-looking man on her Twitter account, and said: 'Do you know this guy, Ashley Cole?

Four years ago Mail on Sunday journalist Katie Hind met up with a bright-eyed Meghan Markle, keen to make contacts in the British press. She revealed Ashley Cole (pictured with ex-wife Cheryl) had followed her on Twitter and had been desperately trying to get a date with her?
Meghan (pictured) was clearly flattered by the attention. Ashley Cole was, after all, a genuine football star earning more than £100,000 a week playing for Chelsea, writes Katie Hind

Four years ago Mail on Sunday journalist Katie Hind met up with a bright-eyed Meghan Markle (pictured right), keen to make contacts in the British press. She revealed Ashley Cole (pictured with ex-wife Cheryl) had followed her on Twitter and had been desperately trying to get a date with her?

'He follows me and he keeps trying to talk to me on Twitter. He's trying really hard.'

'I bet,' I said calmly.

She continued: 'He wants to go out on a date while I'm over here in London. What do you think? Do you know him?'

Meghan was clearly flattered by the attention. Ashley Cole was, after all, a genuine football star earning more than £100,000 a week playing for Chelsea.?

An England international, at one point he had been considered the best left-back in the world.

As for his celebrity credentials, Cole had famously been married to Girls Aloud singer Cheryl. Yet he had also been chronically unfaithful – notoriously so.

It was just a few years earlier that the player had been unceremoniously dumped by Cheryl as a succession of mistresses came forward to share tawdry details of their liaisons.

HEN PARTY FIT FOR A GREEK GODDESS?

Meghan Markle's holiday snaps from 2015

Meghan Markle's holiday snaps from 2015

She is marrying the 'Party Prince' with a reputation for outrageous stag night antics.

But Meghan Markle is likely to opt for a more demure hen party after sharing details of the luxury bachelorette weekend she planned for best friend Lindsay Roth.?

On her now defunct blog The Tig in 2015, she said: 'The thought of running around a city trying to get into clubs and wearing headbands of the phallic persuasion didn't seem very 'on brand' for us.'

And in a manner fitting for a Royal bride-to-be, there was no tequila-fuelled dancing followed by grease-laden snacks.?

Instead, Meghan decided on a weekend jaunt to the luxury Greek island of Hydra – and shared pictures of peaceful stone houses and stunning sea views.

The guests sunbathed 'with no one watching,' ate fresh Greek salads, sipped white wine and swam in the cool waters of the Mediterranean. Meghan wrote: 'It's a perfect weekend getaway – especially when you've got something to quietly, beautifully and peacefully celebrate.'

So, as the evening progressed, I set her straight. Meghan seemed taken aback, and quietly replied: 'Thanks, I appreciate it. Some of my friends told me to stay away from him, too.'

Then she giggled: 'I think I'll leave it.'

We spent three hours together that night, with Meghan gulping down the fizz.?

We talked about boys, established that we were the same age, 32, both single and both unhappy that The One seemed so elusive.

She asked me about British men, and confided that she had recently got divorced from her husband, and now she was single and very much ready to mingle.

I quizzed her about American men, but she didn't seem so keen on them.

As our night came to an end, we hugged and wished one another luck – not that she would need it.?

At the time of her confession, it was just a few years earlier that the player (pictured) had been unceremoniously dumped by Cheryl (right) as a succession of mistresses came forward to share tawdry details of their liaisons

At the time of her confession, it was just a few years earlier that the player (pictured) had been unceremoniously dumped by Cheryl (right) as a succession of mistresses came forward to share tawdry details of their liaisons

There was a sign of things to come, perhaps, even in the final moments of our time together.

Meghan's berth that night was the nearby Soho House, a club for media types, a hotel and restaurant chain which is run by Markus Anderson, who is rumoured to have helped introduce Meghan and Harry.

(It is understood that the Royal romance developed in secrecy in sojourns at a number of Soho House branches around the world.)?

Meghan, however, was unable to find a taxi for the short trip through the wet London streets – and somehow persuaded the owner of the Sanctum to ferry her round there in his Aston Martin.

It is true that we barely knew each other even then, and that I forgot her name soon afterwards.

But an entanglement with Ashley Cole? I think that Meghan owes me a bottle of prosecco – and Harry, too.

Meghan is pictured with her new fiance Prince Harry at their first royal engagement in Nottingham yesterday?

Meghan is pictured with her new fiance Prince Harry at their first royal engagement in Nottingham yesterday?

What coat of arms will she choose??

BY DANIELLE ZOELLNER?

Meghan Markle is set to become the most 21st Century of Royal brides, but she will still have to have a coat of arms made for her in a tradition that dates back to medieval times.

Conventionally, Royal brides came from other aristocratic families, which had their own coats of arms.

But in recent decades, brides have been from more ordinary backgrounds – requiring heralds from the College of Arms, founded in 1484, to create a new design.

Here, The Mail on Sunday has respectfully taken on their task, creating a coat of arms for Meghan.

It comes complete with her beloved dogs, high heels and – representing her glamorous TV career – boom mics and film lights.

Traditionally, coats of arms are only granted to British citizens but it is thought likely that Meghan, a US citizen, will receive one in the gift of the Queen. Last night, Kensington Palace and the College of Arms declined to comment.

PS: LOOK WHO'S MEGHAN'S ANCESTOR...

They were raised 5,500 miles apart – one in Kensington Palace, the other next to the bright lights of Hollywood.

But both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are related to former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

In Meghan's case, the connection comes through her ancestor Zachariah Howe, who was part of a British family that originally came to America from Essex and is distantly related to her father, Thomas Markle.

Genealogists say this means Meghan is the wartime politician's sixth cousin, five times removed. Harry, through his mother Princess Diana, is also a distant cousin of Sir Winston as both are part of the same extended Spencer family.

Both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are related to former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (pictured), The Mail on Sunday can reveal

Both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are related to former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (pictured), The Mail on Sunday can reveal

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