Prince Harry's quest to find 'the one': the women before Meghan Markle

Sue de Groot explains why the girlfriends who went before could never have been more than a warm-up act for Prince Harry's magnificent fiancé

03 December 2017 - 00:00 By Sue de Groot
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, whom he will be marrying in May.
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, whom he will be marrying in May.
Image: Mark Blinch/Reuters


Had Harry not found Meghan, the Grammy-nominated singer, philanthropist and Labour Party supporter might have been an acceptable second choice.

Her working-class origins would have irked snobs as much as Meghan's background does, and she could have sung at her own wedding.


At the same polo event where he would snog Ellie Goulding a year later, Harry got cosy with Jenna.

It didn't go anywhere, partly because most people associate the actress with her role as his great-great-great-great-grandmother in TV's Victoria. And that would just be weird.


The reality-TV star and former Miss Edinburgh has consistently refused to confirm reports that she and Harry kept each other warm on a cold night at a trendy London nightclub in 2014.

Just as well - dating someone with the same name as your stepmother could be awkward.


This 2012-14 romance had a lot going for it. Cressida's family tree goes back to kings with curls and spaniels and she isn't bad-looking. But those who marry royals must be prepared to take a back seat and dancer-actress Cressida expects her big break any day now.


Harry's longest-serving girlfriend (on-off for seven years) was never going to forge a union between Great Britain and Former Rhodesia. Apart from dad's business ties to a member of Mugabe's cabinet (wedding invites for Bob and Grace?!) she found the media attention "horrible".


She frequently appears on lists of the world's most beautiful people and her acting stint in the soapie Neighbours might have prepared her for life among the Windsors, but the singer's brief liaison with Harry was doomed. Letting an American into the palace is one thing, but an Australian?


The lingerie model has impeccable aristocratic credentials on her father's side and interesting French artistry on her mother's, but her dalliance with Harry lasted about as long as a pair of pantyhose. She then married a multimillionaire, so it all worked out OK


The Norwegian rock singer told press that Harry made her breakfast in bed after they hooked up in one of his breaks from Chelsy. The prince declined to comment, so we'll never know if this was true or a bit of scandimagination. For further comment, see Camilla Thurlow.


Harry met pop princess Mollie at a polo match in 2010, and the rumour mill churned. But despite her presentable appearance and their compatible interests - Mollie was a skier for Britain before devoting herself to girl group The Saturdays - it all fizzled out.


The British TV presenter's name would have been a gift to headline writers, but the minute she revealed details of her fling with Harry it was all over. Flack once had her jaw wired shut for eight weeks after a playground accident. It doesn't seem to have taught her much.


Harry and TV presenter Natalie became friends in 2003 when she was dating rugby player Matt Dawson. They stayed friends while she dated cricketer Kevin Pietersen. In 2007, UK tabloids ran pictures of Harry hugging Natalie - but it seems they have always been just friends.