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