‘The Meghan I Knew’ – Lizzie Cundy On Meeting The Woman Who Would Become The Duchess Of Sussex

Before she met Harry, Meghan was an actress seeking fame and fortune.

Lizzie Cundy Meghan Markle

by Grazia |

Presenter and model Lizzie Cundy befriended the then-actress Meghan Markle at a party in 2013, but had no idea what would come next. This week, she has again recalled how Meghan 'wanted to meet someone' when she came to the UK. She tells Grazia about her time on the party scene with the woman who would become one of the world's most recognisable faces.

In 2013, I was at a pre-dinner for a charity event held at the home of John Caudwell of Phones 4 U. I was told that one of the guests was an actress, just flown in from Canada, that she was in a show called Suits. I’d never heard of it, but they said it was a hit in the States. I was asked if I could look after her, as she didn’t really know anyone.

To be honest, I didn’t really want to – all my friends were on another table – but we met, and got on like a house on fire instantly. Meghan was very friendly, great fun, with a big smile. She wanted to do selfies and was very open, talking about her recent marriage split and how she wanted to work here in England and maybe even work on Made In Chelsea. So I assumed Suits must be like that sort of programme.

She was a real girl’s girl: full of energy. She didn’t stop talking, and we had a big giggle. There was just something special about her. We just got on, and immediately swapped numbers. I looked at her and thought ‘you have something special.’ She makes you feel at home straight away and it felt like I’d known her all my life. I can see why Harry fell in love with her.

Meghan said she loved London, and would love an English boyfriend, so I went through my phone to see who I knew that might be a good fit. I tried to find her a boyfriend - Ashley Cole wasn’t so keen - but I did try to fix her up, which is funny looking back.

The following night, we had the big do that she had flown in for, the Global Gift Gala, and I interviewed her on the red carpet, which must have been one of her last interviews before she met Harry.

My producer said ‘we have big names coming tonight: we have Victoria Beckham, Mel C, Eva Longoria, there is no time to interview Meghan.’ But I said we had to. I knew how she wanted to get more known in the UK and I wanted to help. I was pleading – I said we could even interview her and not film it, if it just showed her that I was trying to help – but in the end he said I could interview her if I made It really quick. Now he regrets rushing that interview, where she talked all about how much she loved London and the UK. But who would have thought that she would go on to marry Prince Harry?

When she first got together with Harry, I texted her to say how amazing it was and she did reply. But once the ring was on the finger, I soon realised she was off Twitter and that her number wasn’t working. And that was it. I’m afraid both Piers Morgan and I got ghosted.

People ask If I’m upset to go from friendship to silence, but I understand. It’s a different world going from celebrity to royalty, and a whole different life. So I get it. I wasn’t in any way upset.

She wanted fame and she was open about that. She has that sparkle, that magic. But I don’t think she knew how hard it was going to be. I think she thought it would be more glamorous, but fame is hard work. Personally I don’t think they’ve gone around things the right way, but if I saw her today, I’d give her a big hug. I’m happy that they’re happy.

Gallery

Best Books About The Royal Family

Best Books About The Royal Family
1 of 15
CREDIT: Meghan: A Hollywood Princess by Andrew Morton

The man who interviewed Diana so famously takes on Meghan, interviewing those closest to her to uncover the story of her childhood: growing up in The Valley in LA, studying at an all-girls Catholic school and her breakout into acting. The book also delves into her previous marriage and divorce in 2013, her struggles in Hollywood.

Best Books About The Royal Family
2 of 15
CREDIT: The Final Curtsey A Royal Memoir by the Queen's Cousin by Margaret Rhodes

The intimate and revealing autobiography of Margaret Rhodes, the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. This is as close to the royal family as you get. The publishers say: ' In the Second World War years she 'lodged' at Buckingham Palace while she worked for MI6. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousin, Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip. Three years later the King and Queen attended her own wedding; Princess Margaret was a bridesmaid. In 1990 she was appointed as a Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen Mother, acting also as her companion, which she describes in touching detail. In the early months of 2002, she spent as much time as possible with her ailing aunt, and was at her bedside when she died at Easter that year. The next morning she went to Queen Elizabeth's bedroom to pray, and in farewell dropped her a final curtsey'

Best Books About The Royal Family
3 of 15
CREDIT: Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

Published in August 2020, this book is expected to be a 'bombshell' that it's been claimed will 'settle scores'. In its description, the publishers claim: 'Finding Freedom goes beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan's life together, dispelling the many rumours and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond. As members of the select group of reporters that cover the British Royal Family and their engagements, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have witnessed the young couple's lives as few outsiders can.With unique access and written with the participation of those closest to the couple, Finding Freedom is an honest, up-close, and disarming portrait of a confident, influential, and forward-thinking couple who are unafraid to break with tradition, determined to create a new path away from the spotlight, and dedicated to building a humanitarian legacy that will make a profound difference in the world.'

Best Books About The Royal Family
4 of 15
CREDIT: Mau2019am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

Definitely one for fans of The Crown and its various Princess Margarets… She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine and Pablo Picasso lusted over her. To her friends Princess Margaret was witty and regal, to her enemies, she was rude and demanding. Ma'am Darling looks at her from many angles, creating a kaleidoscopic biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

Best Books About The Royal Family
5 of 15
CREDIT: Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith

This vivid, eye-opening biography--the product of four years of research and hundreds of interviews with palace officials, former girlfriends, spiritual gurus, and more – claims to be the first authoritative treatment of Charles's life that sheds light on the death of Diana, his marriage to Camilla, and his preparations to take the throne one day.

Best Books About The Royal Family
6 of 15
CREDIT: The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves by Andrew Lownie

A well-researched deep-dive into the lives of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten, a couple who witnessed much of the 20th Century's history – including Royal landmarks – at first hand.

Best Books About The Royal Family
7 of 15
CREDIT: Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

The remarkable life of Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret who was also a Maid of Honour at the Queen's Coronation. Anne Glenconner reveals the real events behind The Crown as well as her own life of drama, tragedy and courage, with the wonderful wit and extraordinary resilience which define her.

Best Books About The Royal Family
8 of 15
CREDIT: Our Rainbow Queen by Sali Hughes

A photographic journey through Queen Elizabeth II's ten decades of colour-blocked style. From the dusky pinks the Queen wore in girlhood all the way through to #NeonAt90, by way of that hat she wore on the announcement of Brexit, and not forgetting her trusty Launer handbag ever at her side, this must-have collection celebrates the iconic fashion statements of our longest reigning and most vibrant monarch.

Best Books About The Royal Family
9 of 15
CREDIT: The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

The original people's princess, Diana is the subject of many great books – this, by Tina Brown, is by someone who knew her personally and the world she inhabited.The book explores, 'Diana's sexually charged mother, her subtly scheming grandmother, the stepmother she hated but eventually came to understand, and a terrifying trio of in-laws and relations: Fergie, the force of nature whose life was full of its own unacknowledged pathos; Princess Margaret, the fading glamour girl; the implacable Queen Mother and more formidable than all of them, her mother-in-law, the Queen, whose admiration Diana sought till the day she died. Add Camilla Parker-Bowles, the ultimate "other woman" into this combustible mix, and it's no wonder that Diana felt the need to break out of her royal cage into celebrity culture, where she found her own power and used it to devastating effect.'So yes, quite a lot there.

Best Books About The Royal Family
10 of 15
CREDIT: Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton

Formerly 'Her True Story' before it was revealed much of the book was based on taped interviews with Diana herself and the book was reissued, this is the often-quoted pretty much definitive story of Princess Diana.

Best Books About The Royal Family
11 of 15
CREDIT: The Royals by Kitty Kelley

Originally not available in the UK for fear of legal repercussions, this book makes for a page-turner for Royal gossip fans. The description promises: 'Kitty Kelley has gone behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace to raise the curtain on the men and women who make up the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana...here are the scandals of the last decades: the doomed marriages and the husbands, wives, lovers and children caught in their wake and damaged beyond repair. No one is spared.'

Best Books About The Royal Family
12 of 15
CREDIT: The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

Angela Kelly has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty's Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty's Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen, with the monarch's position.

Best Books About The Royal Family
13 of 15
CREDIT: Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss and Love by Katie Nicholl

It's another book about Harry and Meghan, but coming from Katie Nicholl - one of the best authorities on the royal family - you know that it's good. This book details their romance right up until the royal wedding.

Best Books About The Royal Family
14 of 15
CREDIT: Meghan Misunderstood by Sean Smith

The latest biography on Meghan Markle to hit our shelves (from November 12), the description says Sean Smith 'pulls no punches as he reveals the remarkable and powerful story of this self-made, intelligent American woman with a strong social conscience who has made such an impact on our lives.'

Prince Philip Revealed: A Man Of His Century
15 of 15
CREDIT: Prince Philip Revealed: A Man Of His Century

Royal expert Ingrid Seward presents an incredibly in-depth exploration of the man who has stood by the Queen's side for decades. The perfect accompaniment to his forthcoming centenary celebrations next year.

READ MORE: Who Really Set Up Prince Harry And Meghan Markle?

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