Harry: “It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life.”

Van artist Ruddy Muddy marks the Royal engagement Picture: Ruddy Muddy

Van artist Ruddy Muddy marks the Royal engagement Picture: Ruddy Muddy - Credit: Archant

For Prince Harry, it was fate he met and fell in love with Meghan Markle - thanks to a mystery mutual friend who organised their blind date.

Despite being from different backgrounds, the grandson of the Queen and the US actress clicked and their romance quickly developed into love.

When interviewed on the day of their engagement announcement, Harry described how destiny appeared to intervene in their lives: 'So the fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that everything - all the stars - were aligned. Everything was just perfect.

'It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life.'

Harry had never heard of the actress before their blind date in London in July 2016 and he quickly realised he had to make a memorable first impression.

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'I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her,' he said. 'I was like 'okay, well, I'm going to have to up my game, sit down and make sure I've got good chat'.'

What cemented their tentative relationship was a short break to Botswana where they 'camped out with each other under the stars', getting to know each other over five days.

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When news of their relationship broke several months later, smitten Harry was described as being happier than he had been in years.

Theatre dates followed, along with romantic African holidays and expeditions to see the Northern Lights, and a shopping trip to buy a Christmas tree together for Harry's Kensington Palace pad.

Being in a long-distance relationship meant plenty of jet-setting between Ms Markle's home in Toronto, where she filmed the hit series Suits, and Harry's London base.

There were reports that Ms Markle was staying so much at Harry's home she had practically moved in.

The pair share a strong bond through their philanthropy, with Harry supporting military veterans and mental health organisations via his charity work, and Ms Markle pursuing her role as a humanitarian campaigner.

Even in its early days, their union appeared to be a serious one. Six months in and just days after it became public they were dating, Harry took the unusual step of issuing a lengthy statement condemning media treatment of his girlfriend and criticising the 'wave of abuse and harassment' she was facing.

'Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,' his office said.

The statement added: 'This is not a game, it is her life and his.'

It was Ms Markle who offered the biggest insight into their relationship when she was interviewed by Vanity Fair magazine in September 2017 after they had been dating for just over a year.

'I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it's really simple,' she said. 'We're two people who are really happy and in love.'

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