Prince Harry is tipped to wed socialite Cressida Bonas, a 24-year-old high-society beauty from a well-connected and privileged background, but his love life, it has emerged, started with humbler beginnings.
One of the first girls to catch Harry's eye, a grocery store assistant named Margaret, has revealed details of a secret date with the Prince that took place when the they both were still in school.
A new book, Harry: The People's Prince by Chris Hutchins reveals details of Harry's love life, including an account from mystery woman Margaret.
Their relationship, which the author says has been "confirmed by a member of the Royal Household", began when Harry walked into the store she was working at behind the checkout, near Eton, where he went to school.
"He was very nice, very polite, and at first I didn't even recognise him," she says.
"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."
The young woman, who declined to reveal any information that would further identify her, said she was as keen to keep their meeting under wraps as the pap-worthy Prince.
"I didn't want to be seen with Harry by anyone who knew me, or, more importantly, someone who would tell my boyfriend, so we met up in this pub and I had cider and he had a beer.
"He was really lovely, although I don't think he really knew how to behave with someone from the other side of the tracks. Also, I felt so guilty because I knew my boyfriend would have been very upset if he knew.
"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 for my mobile number."
She goes on to say they met on two further occasions, and that one of their dates ending in hand-holding and kissing, but Margaret withdrew as she already had a boyfriend who she went on to marry. The pair now have two children.
Margaret said she has kept track of Harry in the papers, reading about his girlfriends, but "none of them seem like the girl he needs".
Harry's romances have been well documented by the press since he started dating and earned his reputation as a ladies man and 'Party Prince'.
At one stage he was tipped to marry the daughter of a millionaire and law student Chelsy Davy who he met on travels to Zimbabwe.
Harry wrote in a letter to a school friend that she was "the love of my life — this one's unreal", the Daily Mail reports, but their on-again, off-again romance ended for good in 2010.
A string of brief romances led to Harry's current squeeze, former Burberry model Cressida who friends of the Prince say he was smitten with since they were introduced by his cousin Eugenie last year.
"She's very stable, and a most suitable potential bride for the prince," one friend said. "Intellectually, she is probably his superior. I'd bet on her being the one when the time comes for him to choose his princess."
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