British Royal Family

Meet Meghan Markle's British friend who warned her about marrying Prince Harry

''I said, 'This is serious. This is the end of your normal life, the end of your privacy – everything.'"

By Rebecca Sullivan
Meghan Markle's former British agent has revealed she tried to warn her friend about marrying Prince Harry and the intrusion the British media would have on her life, years before she walked down the aisle and became the Duchess of Sussex.
Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne and Duchess Meghan were friends around 2016, the same year that Meghan met Prince Harry. In fact, she actually had lunch with the then-Suits actress just hours before her first date with Harry.
Gina told the Daily Mail she was having lunch in London, when Meghan told her: "I'm going on a date tonight ... with Prince Harry!"
"She whispered it so quietly I had to ask her to repeat it," Gina said.
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing but I think she could barely believe it either. We were both extremely excited."
Gina says she knew right from the beginning that Harry and Meghan's romance would flourish.
"I looked at how stunning she was and I just thought: 'There's no way he's going to be able to resist her'."
Meghan and Gina pictured together in June 2015, before Meghan met Prince Harry. Instagram
Gina, who is a director at the London-based talent agency Kruger Cowne, said despite Meghan's budding romance with Harry, she tried to warn her friend about the reality of life as a member of the royal family.
As she was familiar with how brutal the British tabloid press could be, she attempted to warn Meghan about exactly what she was getting herself into.
"One day we were having lunch on the Strand in London and it was obvious it was getting very serious with Harry," Gina said.
Gina runs her own talent agency in London. Instagram
"I did speak to Meghan about the British media and it was clear that she didn't know what she was letting herself in for. She was naive. I still think that now.
"I told her she didn't know what she was letting herself in for.
"I said, 'This is serious. This is the end of your normal life, the end of your privacy – everything'.
"But she just held up her hand and said: 'Stop. I don't want to hear any negativity. This is a happy time for us."
Meghan (left) pictured with former US talk show host Jay Leno, Gina and Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney (right) in 2016. Instagram
Meghan (left) and Gina (right) pictured in 2016. Instagram
Gina's comments echo Meghan's own admission in the explosive new ITV documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, which unveils the heartbreaking impact the constant pressure from the British press has had on the Duke and Duchess.
"When I first met my now husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy. But my British friends said to me: 'I'm sure he's great. But you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life,'" she told reporter Tom Bradby in the tell-all TV special.
She added she had 'very naively' told her friends: "'What are you talking about. That doesn't make any sense'. I didn't get it. So, it's been complicated."
WATCH BELOW: Meghan says she was "naive" when warned about the British tabloids. Story continues after video.
Meghan says while she never thought her role as a royal would be easy, she always assumed the media coverage of her "would be fair".
"I've really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip... I've tried, I've really tried," she said.
"But it's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life, you've got to thrive and feel happy."