Harry 'wanted a celebrity wife': Prince told friend 'only someone already in the public eye would be able to handle relationship with a senior royal' BEFORE he met Meghan

  • Prince Harry was worried a potential suitor would struggle with public attention
  • Two of his previous relationships collapsed because the women could not cope
  • But Harry need not have the same worries with Suits actress Meghan, who has faced a high level of media attention during her US acting career?

With her Hollywood smile and confident air, actress Meghan Markle may seem a world away from Prince Harry’s previous girlfriends.

But there was one person who was not the least bit surprised that Harry found love with a glamorous celebrity – the royal himself.

Shortly before meeting Miss Markle, the prince had told friends he would marry someone used to the spotlight.

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Two of Harry's previous relationships collapsed because the women could not cope with the pressure of being associated with the Prince. He is pictured with his fiance Meghan Markle

Two of Harry's previous relationships collapsed because the women could not cope with the pressure of being associated with the Prince. He is pictured with his fiance Meghan Markle

The fifth in line to the throne told a confidante that ‘only somebody who was already in the public eye would be able to understand and handle everything that goes with being with [a prince]’, it was reported.

Harry, 33, met divorcee Miss Markle, 36, last summer, shortly after making the comments, yet the source added: ‘I don’t think he went out and deliberately looked for a famous actress.’

The prince’s candid remarks came after his two serious ex-girlfriends, Chelsy Davy, 32, and Cressida Bonas, 28, admitted they struggled with the scrutiny of being with the royal.

Miss Davy said the attention during their seven-year on-off romance was ‘so full-on: Crazy and scary and uncomfortable’.

A source close to the prince told The Sunday Times: ‘It makes sense that he has ended up with a celebrity… he feels comfortable being with someone who has already come to terms with the price of fame in the way that his other girlfriends never could.’

New pictures from the Markle album illustrate the future royal’s life long before she met Harry.

Suits actress Meghan Markle has faced a high level of media attention during her US acting career
Suits actress Meghan Markle has faced a high level of media attention during her US acting career

Suits actress Meghan Markle has faced a high level of media attention during her US acting career

One shows Miss Markle, aged 18, as she graduated from her all-girl Catholic high school where she was known as ‘Markle Sparkle’ because of her popularity among her peers.

Other images show a glimpse of Miss Markle’s reclusive father Thomas.

A photograph from 2010 shows the former lighting director mingling with old classmates at his school reunion.

As his family confirmed that he would make an appearance at next year’s royal wedding, which will be watched by millions, friends told of how he proudly carries pictures of the celebrity daughter he affectionately calls ‘Bean’.

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, a friend told how when he last saw Mr Markle, 73, he declined an invitation to stay because his daughter had warned him about his loud snoring. Instead, the retiree, who lives on a diet of junk food, checked into a hotel during one of his infrequent outings.

And Mr Markle is so aware of his bulging gut that he has fondly nicknamed it the ‘money belt’, according to one person close to him. Loretta Strawser, 76, from Newport, Pennsylvania, described Mr Markle as a ‘great guy’ and said: ‘He’s always been very proud of Meghan.

‘He talked about her career and the things she was doing. Tom is very laid back and likes his life in seclusion. He doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.’ Another friend, Ron McGowan, told of how when he saw Mr Markle in 2010, he produced a picture of his daughter in a blue dress, adding: ‘He just beamed when he talked about her’.

Mr McGowan said that, when his old friend had turned up at his door in 2010, Mr Markle had joked: ‘Do you have any room for an old, fat, bald man?’

Cressida Bonas, pictured, and Chelsy Davy both said they struggled with the burden of constant pressure from being in the public eye
Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, pictured, both said they struggled with the burden of constant pressure from being in the public eye

Cressida Bonas, pictured left, and Chelsy Davy, pictured right, both said they struggled with the burden of constant pressure from being in the public eye

Those close to Mr Markle have told of how he worships his youngest child, yet Prince Harry has never met the man who was once an award-winning lighting director who would often take his daughter on set. Since declaring bankruptcy last year, he has built a new life in a quiet beach town in Mexico.

Images of his 1979 wedding to Miss Markle’s yoga instructor mother Doria Ragland, 61, show the bride in a floral crown and simple white dress while the groom looks on lovingly in an grey suit and red shirt. A world away from the pageantry Miss Markle will share with Harry in May, her parents wed in an unconventional ceremony at a faux-Indian temple.

The nuptials were on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles – in front of a man named as Brother Bhaktananda, dressed in orange robes.

Elusive: Tom Markle in 2010
Hollywood Smile: Meghan, aged 18, at her high school graduation

Elusive: Tom Markle in 2010 and Meghan, aged 18, at her high school graduation

Unconventional: Meghan's parents Doria and Tom of their wedding day in California in 1979

Unconventional: Meghan's parents Doria and Tom of their wedding day in California in 1979

Christmas with the Queen??

Beaming with her aunt and baby cousin, a nine-year-old Meghan clearly enjoyed low-key family Christmases as a child.

However, this Christmas may be a rather different affair – as she could be spending it with the Queen.

In a break with traditional protocol, divorcee Miss Markle may be opening her presents with the Royal Family at Sandringham.

Her appearance may raise eyebrows among other family members – including her future sister-in-law Kate – who were invited only once they had married into the Firm.

A friend of Harry’s told The Sunday Times: ‘Now they are engaged it was unthinkable that they would be apart for Christmas. The Royal Family have fully welcomed Meghan into the fold.’

The pair will then reportedly be holidaying abroad over the New Year and will also spend some time in California with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, 61.

The invitation reportedly came after Harry asked the Queen to make an exception for his fiancee last Monday, it was reported.

Kensington Palace has not ruled out the actress joining the family for Christmas, with a spokesman last night saying that arrangements would be announced ‘in due course’.

No date with Cheryl's Ex?

She will soon marry into the Royal Family but Meghan Markle could have become a footballer’s wife – if she had accepted the offer of a date from Ashley Cole, it is claimed.

Before Miss Markle was a household name here, she caught the eye of singer Cheryl Cole’s ex-husband who barraged her with social media messages.

Shortly after splitting from her first husband Trevor Engelson, Miss Markle asked a British journalist, during a visit to London in 2013: ‘Do you know this guy Ashley Cole?

She will soon marry into the Royal Family but Meghan Markle could have become a footballer’s wife – if she had accepted the offer of a date from Ashley Cole, it is claimed

She will soon marry into the Royal Family but Meghan Markle could have become a footballer’s wife – if she had accepted the offer of a date from Ashley Cole, it is claimed

‘He follows me and he keeps trying to talk to me on Twitter. He’s trying really hard,’ The Mail on Sunday reported.

Of the footballer, 36, who now plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in the US, Miss Markle added: ‘He wants to go out on a date while I’m over here in London. What do you think? Do you know him?’

After the journalist told Miss Markle she would advise turning down the offer, the actress was taken aback but answered: ‘Thanks, I appreciate it.

‘Some of my friends told me to stay away from him too,’ adding: ‘I think I’ll leave it’.

His alleged proposition came three years after the former Chelsea star had split from Cheryl, 34, following accusations that he had cheated on her with several women.

She now has a child with One Direction star Liam Payne, 24.

The ones that got away! As Prince Harry gets engaged to Meghan Markle, the pop stars, society girls and lingerie models who missed out

2016: ELLIE GOULDING

Prince Harry's most recent rumoured fling prior to settling down with Meghan Markle was Ellie Goulding.

Prince Harry was spotted getting very close to the popstar at the Audi Polo challenge in Coworth Park, Berkshire, in 2016.

Onlookers said the pair were 'all over each other' and one claimed they appeared to share a kiss under a blanket.

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2015: JENNA COLEMAN

Prior to Meghan, another of Prince Harry's rumoured flings was Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman, who he was alleged to have enjoyed a 'flirty' night with in a 'tactile' after-dark encounter during an A-list polo party.

Witnesses said the royal took the 29-year-old actress by the hand for a private chat after the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park in Ascot.

Photographs of their meeting showed Harry with his hand on her knee while the pair leant in on a number occasions and shared several jokes.

One onlooker told The Sun: 'It looked like they were really enjoying each other's company.'

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2014: CRESSIDA BONAS

As Prince Harry's most recent serious ex, actress and society girl Cressida Bonas was the woman presumed to become Harry's wife.

However, in 2014, the pair split and the thespian chose to remain dignified about why exactly the pair parted ways.

The months leading up to her split from Harry saw rumours hit fever pitch that the pair would imminently announce plans to marry.

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2012: MOLLIE KING

Mollie and Harry first met at a polo match in 2010 and were pictured partying together at Public nightclub and karaoke bar Bunga Bunga in London.

The 24-year-old singer - who split from male model David Gandy earlier that year - and Harry were allegedly set up by his cousin Zara Phillips, who is a friend of the pop star's Saturdays bandmate, Una Healy.

Mollie remained very cryptic about the reports that she was in a relationship with the royal.

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2010: FLORENCE BRUDENELL-BRUCE

According to friends, Ms Brudenell-Bruce, who was Harry's first girlfriend following his split from Chelsy Davy in 2011, found the attention that came with dating a royal hard to deal with.

'Flee hated all the press attention she got when she was dating Harry,' a source was quoted as saying at the time.

'She really liked him but she was embarrassed by being splashed all over the papers.'

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2009: CAROLINE FLACK

X Factor host Caroline Flack told how she was once 'Prince Harry's bit of rough', revealing that she dated the royal before her romance with One Direction star Harry Styles.

The television presenter said she began seeing Prince Harry in 2009 after the pair were introduced via a mutual friend.

However, she said that they were forced to call off their relationship after the 'story got out', and two years later she shocked fans by dating a then 17-year-old Harry Styles, who was 14 years her junior.

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2004-2010: CHELSY DAVY

As one of his longest-standing girlfriends, Chelsy was also lined up to be Prince Harry's wife before they split in 2010.

The 32-year-old businesswoman, currently promoting an ethical jewellery brand, recently lifted the lid on what it feels like to date the prince, calling the intense media interest 'scary'.

On and off with Harry for the best part of seven years, Zimbabwe-born Davy revealed that she 'couldn't cope' with the attention and eventually retreated back to Africa for calm.


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2003: NATALIE PINKHAM

Rumours of Natalie and Harry's liaison started to whirl in 2006 after pictures surfaced of the pair and a source reported at the time that Harry was 'absolutely infatuated with Natalie'.

Yet the relationship didn't blossom further and she went on to marry Endemol executive, Owain Walbyoff, and the pair have a one-year-old baby boy.

The duo, who mix in the same circles, have remained close friends ever since.

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2009: ASTRID HARBORD

Party-loving Astrid - who with her sister Davina has been dubbed one half of the 'The hardcore sisters' - was spotted in the back of a car with Harry entering Clarence House by a rear gate in the early hours of the morning in 2009.

A month later it emerged that Harry had attended an illegal rave with the Harbord sisters and 400 other revellers in a repossessed office block in Whitechapel, East London, and the prince left the ‘Dress2Sweat’ event at 1.30am with Miss Harbord.

Astrid, a history graduate from Bristol University who works in hotel PR, is also at the centre of William and Harry's set and was a guest at the royal wedding.

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