While Prince Harry was courting his future bride Meghan Markle, the couple jetted off on a number of secret vacations that afforded them a relative amount of privacy. One such jaunt was to Jamaica for Harry's best friend Tom Inskip's wedding. According to HARRY: Life, Loss and Love, a portrait of Harry's life by royal author Katie Nicholl, it was here that the couple really took their relationship to the next level.
In this exclusive excerpt, get a glimpse of their romantic getaway, how Harry changed his lifestyle for Meghan, his Michael Jackson dancing mishap at the wedding and the words from his mom Princess Diana that urged the prince to follow his heart...
Against a stunning Jamaican sunset, Harry wrapped Meghan in his arms and kissed her. It had been two weeks since they had last been together, and both had been looking forward to his best friend Tom Inskip’s wedding. Harry had arrived on the island via a scheduled flight, while Meghan flew in on a private jet loaned by a friend. The wedding was a three-day celebration, and Harry had splashed out on a luxury oceanfront villa at the Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay, not far from where Meghan had married Trevor six years before. Thrilled to be together again, the couple spent much of their time tucked away in their villa, which had its own infinity pool and butler on call. At the wedding service Meghan had a reserved seat next to Harry in one of the front rows, and according to one guest she mingled confidently while Harry was busy ushering people to their seats. In her flowing designer sundress and shades, she fitted in with the well-heeled crowd and already knew most of Harry’s inner circle. Helpfully, she also got along well with Tom’s bride Lara who, like many of Harry’s friends, felt that Meghan was a positive influence on him. Certainly, they couldn’t have seemed happier as they emerged from the church after the service hand in hand.
At the reception that night, Harry barely left Meghan’s side. When the DJ started playing, they took to the dance floor and partied into the early hours, but Harry was on his best behavior, not drinking too much and even limiting his beloved Marlboro Lights. Skippy was as surprised as everyone else at the new Harry. Having partied around the world, from Croatia to Vegas, he and Harry were partners in crime, but Harry gave the tequila shots a miss, saying he wanted to remember the night and enjoy it. That wasn’t to say he didn’t have fun, and at one point he was dancing so enthusiastically to a Michael Jackson song with Meghan that he accidentally crashed into a waiter and sent a tray of drinks flying. At the end of the night there was a slow dance, and after Harry escorted Meghan onto the dance floor for a final twirl, the couple politely excused themselves just after 1 a.m.
While the island had mixed memories for Meghan, she and Harry had a wonderful time swimming in the sea and drinking sundowners on the beach. Harry seemed blissfully happy and strolled around the resort barefoot, with Meghan at his side. His mood soured when they were photographed together on their balcony by a paparazzo, and Harry was upset that their romantic getaway was being infringed upon, but Meghan comforted him and reasoned, what did it matter? The world knew they were an item, and nothing should spoil their happiness. Before they left the island Harry booked a table at the Caves, one of the island’s most prestigious restaurants, where they enjoyed supper in a candlelit cave where no one could spy on them.
As they bid each other farewell at the end of the holiday, both knew that things between them were serious. While it was still relatively early days, the relationship was progressing quickly, and Harry and Meghan were already making plans for the future. Meghan was preparing to film her seventh season of Suits, and she had already decided that it would probably be her last. She wanted to focus more on her charity work and if things with Harry were to go to the next level, she knew that one of the sacrifices she would likely have to make would be her career. It was something Chelsy and Cressida had not been prepared to do, but Meghan felt differently. She was older, possibly wiser, and had, as far as she was concerned, reached the pinnacle of her acting career. Now there were other avenues to explore.
Harry, meanwhile, was convinced he had met “the one.” At thirty-two, he was the same age as his father when he married Lady Diana Spencer. His brother, meanwhile, was already married and a father at the same point in his life. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for William and Harry when they were young boys living at Kensington Palace, “I remember Diana once told Harry and William, ‘Do what your heart tells you.’ She wanted them to follow their hearts, and I think that’s exactly what Harry’s doing.”
While Meghan hadn’t yet met the Queen, Harry’s grandmother was aware of the romance. Now fifth in line to the throne, Harry was required to ask his grandmother’s permission to wed. Decades earlier, Princess Margaret had asked the Queen for her blessing to marry divorcé Peter Townsend, but she was forbidden from doing so by her sister because of the fear it would create a backlash against the Royal Family for approving divorce. The story line had been reprised in the popular show The Crown, but as royal historian Hugo Vickers pointed out, times had changed. “On paper Meghan’s everything you don’t want her to be — an older woman, a divorcée — but actually her more positive qualities could suit her well for the role of a royal consort. She has a certain worldly experience and can stand very well on her own two feet. I think most people think she would make a very good partner for Prince Harry, and I am sure the Queen would give her permission for Harry to wed Meghan.” It was a sentiment many shared.
Excerpted from HARRY: Life, Loss and Love by Katie Nicholl. Copyright © 2018. Reprinted with permission from Hachette Books. All rights reserved.