Wednesday 19 September 2018

Meghan Markle's former agent speaks about the early days of her Harry relationship - and what's changed since

US actress Meghan Markle arrives to meet participants at the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village in Bath, southwest England on April 6, 2018 with her fiancee Britain's Prince Harry
US actress Meghan Markle arrives to meet participants at the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village in Bath, southwest England on April 6, 2018 with her fiancee Britain's Prince Harry
Meghan Markle attends the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018 in Bath, England
Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, throws a volleyball with his fiancee Meghan Markle as they meet athletes at the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018 in Bath, England
Guests at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be caught up in a multi-million-pound secutiry operation. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to Catalyst Inc science park in Belfast Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation attend the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018 in Bath, England
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, arrive for the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London
Meghan Markle greets wellwishers while on a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle, as she and Prince Harry visited Scotland
Britain's Prince Harry's fiancee US actress Meghan Markle greets well-wishers as she arrives with the prince at Millennium Point to attend an event hosted by social enterprise Stemettes to celebrate International Women's Day in Birmingham on March 8, 2018
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Meghan Markle greets a child as she departs from the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry depart from the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry (R) and his fiancee US actress Meghan Markle (L) meet participants taking part in a seated volleyball as they attend the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village in Bath, southwest England on April 6, 2018.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Meghan Markle's former agent has offered insight into the early days of the couple's romance in 2016 and how her life has changed exponentially since.

Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne worked with Markle for two years for various speaking engagements around the world, saying she noticed a change in her behaviour after the couple became more serious.

In the early days of their working relationship and subsequent friendship, which began in 2014, she praises the actress' "ferocious intelligence" and dedication to making an impact with her philanthropic work.

"We just clicked. We spoke on the phone and through e-mails a number of times before actually meeting, but it was an instant connection," she told the Mail on Sunday.

Meghan Markle attends the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018 in Bath, England
Meghan Markle attends the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018 in Bath, England

"We hugged as if we had known each other for ages. She was delightful, warm and personable. And hugely charismatic. I've been in the business a long time and I know that's not something you can train someone to be.

"You've either got it or you haven't and Meghan is a really warm and genuine person. She just has it."

So close was their burgeoning bond that Gina says she was even privy to details of her first date with Prince Harry, saying she knew he would fall in love with her client instantly and believes their top secret Botswana trip "clinched the deal".

Prior to that, Markle was in a relationship with Toronto-based chef Cory Vitiello. When it was clear that Harry and Meghan were becoming more serious as a couple, Gina said she tried to warn her of the impending media swarm which would follow her from then on.

Guests at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be caught up in a multi-million-pound secutiry operation. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Guests at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be caught up in a multi-million-pound secutiry operation. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

"I repeated my previous warning to her, asking if she knew what she was letting herself in for," she says. "I said, 'This is serious. This is the end of your normal life, the end of your privacy - everything.

"But she just held up her hand and said, 'Stop. I don't want to hear any negativity. This is a happy time for us.'

"She is so focused on what she wants and she wasn't going to listen to anything that would cast a shadow, so I just said, 'OK. I'm happy for you, Meghan'.'

Weeks before announcing the engagement, Gina says she noted a changed in her demeanour, in particular with the press, saying:  "From that moment on, it seemed to become much harder for her to do anything outside the official brief."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Meghan Markle greets a child as she departs from the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Meghan Markle greets a child as she departs from the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

She added that at a later date, when she contacted Meghan to ask permission to use a photograph of her, her lawyers intervened on her behald.

"She must get thousands of emails. But it would have been nice if she'd just dropped me a line to say her lawyers were handling it, rather than have them reply to me directly. It's a shame," Gina explained.

Online Editors

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