A former shop assistant has revealed for the first time how she enjoyed a romance with Prince Harry, 28. The girl – known only by her middle name, Margaret – discussed her royal romance with author Chris Hutchins, whose book Harry: The People's Prince is being serialised in the Daily Mail.
The girl worked in a grocery store near Harry's former school Eton and met the Prince, who is now dating socialite Cressida Bonas, by chance. "He was very nice, very polite, and at first I didn't even recognise him," she said. "After we'd been chatting for a few minutes, he asked me if I would join him for a drink later. "
"I told him I had a boyfriend, but he was very persuasive and I agreed to see him at a pub in a nearby town. Another girl who worked with me whispered in my ear, 'You know who that is, don't you? It's Prince William's brother; it's Prince Harry.' I was stunned."
Margaret goes on to describe how she and Harry got to know each other over drinks before he asked for her phone number. She refers to their different backgrounds, saying, "I don't think he really knew how to behave with someone from the other side of the tracks."
She continues: "We talked for more than an hour. He asked me about my job, whether I had any hobbies, and when I said I had to go because I needed to catch a certain bus, he asked me for my mobile number.
"He didn't offer me his, but he did ask me not to talk to anybody from the newspapers about him – which offended me a bit, so half-jokingly I said to him: 'OK, on condition you don't talk to them about me' – which made him laugh. Anyway, he called me the next day and said he'd enjoyed my company and would like to see me again.
"We met on two further occasions, and on the second he held my hand and kissed me and said he thought he was falling for me.
"I felt awful, I liked him a lot but I knew it wouldn't come to anything and that I risked losing the boy I'd been courting for nearly two years. I was also embarrassed, because there was a man who was obviously his minder hovering in the background.
Chris Hutchins' book also sheds light on Prince Harry's current relationship with socialite Cressida Bonas, 24, who is pictured above. The pair started dating last May after being introduced by Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie. A friend tells the writer Cressida may be the girl who becomes Harry's wife in future.
"Harry called me several times after that but I had to tell him I couldn't see him again. He was pleading but I knew it was wrong. I could never be part of his world. I cried buckets after that last call but he never rang me again. I went on to marry my boyfriend, and I'm pleased to say we're very happy and have two lovely children."
Margaret concludes: "I still think about Harry. He's such a lovely man, a true gentleman. It's long been my secret and I guess his, too. I've read about his girlfriends and I hope he's happy, but none of them seem like the girl he needs."
"She's very stable, and a most suitable potential bride for the prince," the insider says. "Intellectually, she is probably his superior. I'd bet on her being the one when the time comes for him to choose his princess."
However suitable Cressida may be, it seems that neither she or the Prince are in a rush to walk down the aisle, despite gentle encouragement from Harry's relatives such as the Duchess of York.
"I'm told they talked of marriage in Switzerland this year." Another friend adds. "Fergie was urging him to propose, but H wouldn't go that far. That said, he's seen how happy marriage has made his brother and I think he wants some of that.
"I'm also informed that Cressida's mother has told Eugenie she'd love to see them settle down together, but Cressida won't be rushed any more than he will."
Prince Harry previously dated law student Chelsy Davy. The couple split in 2011 after an on-off seven-year relationship. The third-in-line was then linked to model Florence Brudenell-Bruce , TV presenter Caroline Flack and The Saturdays singer Mollie King before meeting Cressida.