It’s nice to think that our closest friends will be there to support us through the ups and downs of any romantic relationship, whether that involves deciphering texts in the early stages, providing a shoulder to cry on after a break up or, you know, offering up their homes as a hideaway when the world’s media realise that you’re dating the man who is fifth in line to the British throne. So, when the news broke back in September 2016 that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were officially ‘a thing,’ it’s only natural that she turned to Jessica Mulroney, her best friend slash unofficial stylist, for support – and that Jessica stepped up to the mark, offering Meghan and Harry a place to hide from the cameras.
In her new book Harry: Life, Loss and Love, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl reveals how, after the tabloids first began to report news of Harry and Meghan’s relationship, the couple were together in Toronto, and turned to Jessica and her husband Ben – who were, as Nicholl puts it, ‘two of the few friends who knew about the romance’ - for help. In an extract in Vanity Fair, the writer details how Jessica and Ben were ‘more than happy’ to open up their home to shelter the new couple from the paparazzi, adding that Harry was ‘a big hit’ with their three children, seven-year-old twins Brian and John and four-year-old Isobel (who is now rumoured to be a flower girl at the forthcoming royal wedding).
‘When Harry came to visit the family he brought a bag filled with gifts,’ a source told Nicholl. ‘He won the kids over in an instant. He was brilliant with them and I think what swung it for Meghan was how good Harry was with them. I actually think that might have been the moment Meghan really fell for Harry. He got to know the Mulroneys quite well, and they liked Harry from the beginning.’ Sigh…
While the couple were holed up in the ‘sanctuary’ of the Mulroneys’ home, Harry was reportedly ‘fascinated’ to hear anecdotes of his mother, Princess Diana. Ben, who is the son of Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian Prime Minister, revealed how the late Princess had stayed with his family during an official tour and had ‘ventured up to the nursery to play with Ben and his three siblings,’ having tied of the after-dinner political talk.
‘Harry found them immediately kind and welcoming people, and he loved hearing stories about his mother,’ a friend of the couple told Nicholl. ‘Jessica is one of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet, and Ben is really easy to get along with.’ Could this be yet another clue that Jessica will be on maid of honour duties come May 19th?
NOW READ: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'