Meghan Markle confided in her former friend Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne (pictured together) about her plans to wed Prince Harry
A British friend who warned Meghan Markle over marrying Prince Harry because of intense media scrutiny today insisted: ‘I told her she didn’t know what she was letting herself in for.’
Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne says her friend was ‘naive’ about dealing with the UK press and predicted pressures for the duchess if she wed into the Royal Family.
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne made the admission after Meghan told an ITV documentary that pals had told her before the wedding that British tabloids would ‘destroy’ her life.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Meghan’s former agent admitted: ‘I knew the documentary was on but I made a decision not to watch it.
‘However I’ve since read that Prince Harry talks about his relationship with his brother and that Meghan discusses her struggles of being in the spotlight with the Press.
‘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.’
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne, 54, was the confidante who had lunch with the then-Suits actress just hours before her first date with the royal in 2016.
The two women had been in Delaunay restaurant in London’s Covent Garden when Meghan told Gina: ‘I’m going on a date tonight… with Prince Harry!
She recalled: ‘She whispered it so quietly I had to ask her to repeat it.
Meghan had lunch with Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne in London just hours before her first date with Harry in 2016 and confided in her when things were getting serious between the couple
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne (seen on a beach with Meghan) said she warned her friend of the impact of marrying Harry – but the former actress put up her hand and said she wanted no negativity
Meghan opened about her struggles with the British Press in an hour-long ITV documentary with Tom Bradby and said friends had warned her over the difficulties she would face as a royal
‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but I think she could barely believe it either. We were both extremely excited.’
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne, who is a director at the London-based talent agency Kruger Cowne, said: ‘I looked at how stunning she was and I just thought: ‘There’s no way he’s going to be able to resist her.’
She said as the relationship with Harry blossomed and she could see that it was serious she warned her friend that romance with such a high-profile royal would impact heavily on her life.
‘One day we were having lunch on the Strand in London and it was obvious it was getting very serious with Harry,’ she said.
‘I said, ‘This is serious. This is the end of your normal life, the end of your privacy – everything.’
Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne’s friendship with Markle ended shortly before her engagement
‘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.’
She described the 38-year-old as someone who hates ‘negativity’ and is ‘so focused on what she wants’ that she will stop associates in their tracks if they question her decisions.
She accused the mother-of-one of being ‘picky’ and someone who ‘likes to move on’ quickly if she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with them.
She revealed the ruthless side of Ms Markle in an interview in which she described Harry’s future bride as ‘difficult’ to work with after travelling the world with the former actress.
The entrepreneur however described Ms Markle as ‘delightful, warm, personable – and hugely charismatic’, someone who instantly brings you into their world.
Yet Ms Nelthorpe-Cowne has not had any correspondence with the future royal since the week prior to the announcement of Ms Markle’s engagement. Her last exchange with her was via a lawyer who ended their professional working relationship.
The pair officially split professionally in October 2017, a week prior to the announcement of the royal engagement, but the former agent claims Ms Markle ‘changed’ around the time that the couple started to get serious.
In the documentary, the Duchess of Sussex lays bare her struggle to cope with being a member of the Royal family, becoming a new wife and mother to baby Archie in the last year had been ‘hard’.
Both Prince Harry and his wife discussed the troubles that they have faced in the public eye since their wedding and becoming parents to baby son Archie in the last two years
The hour-long documentary followed Harry and Meghan on their recent royal tour of Southern Africa, during which it was announced that the Duchess is suing the Mail on Sunday over an allegation the newspaper unlawfully published a private letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
Speaking to interviewer Tom Bradby, Meghan revealed: ‘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 added she had ‘very naively’ told her friends: ‘What are you talking about. That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in the tabloids. I didn’t get it. So, it’s been complicated.’
Harry and Meghan’s comments about struggling in the spotlight of public life have prompted aides close the royals to admit Prince William is concerned for his brother and sister-in-law.
Sources say he believes the couple are fragile and vulnerable and that a planned six-week break for the family over Christmas may have come at the right time.