After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle confessed in their engagement interview that the two had been set up by a “friend,” many wondered about the identity of this mysterious matchmaker. Now, The Sun is reporting that the person might be Alexander Gilkes, a British businessman and ex-boyfriend of Kate Middleton’s sister.
Gilkes knew Prince Harry as the two are both alumni of Eton, arguably the most prestigious boarding school in the United Kingdom. Since then, he has founded the auction house Paddle8, which had previously employed Princess Eugenie. Another royal connection was his past relationship with Pippa Middleton, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Gilkes first came across Meghan Markle as he used to be married to Misha Nonoo, one of the actress’s best friends. Noono is a notable designer and Meghan wore one of her shirts, named the “husband” shirt, for her first outing with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games.
Many royal watchers had previously offered other suggestions and hypotheses for who had been the one to set up the date. Socialite Violet von Westenholz was a popular suggestion, as she is a close friend of the royals and allegedly got to know Meghan well after the two spent time together at a Ralph Lauren event for Wimbledon.
Markus Anderson was another popular guess. He is an ambassador for Soho House and a close friend of the American actress-turned-royal.
The redheaded prince and his former Suits star wife famously had their first date in a private room of the aforementioned Soho House in London. It was so successful that the two went to Botswana together weeks later to accelerate their romance, which a friend said “clinched” the relationship for the couple, per The Cut.
“I’m sure that the Botswana trip is what clinched the deal,” said Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne.
“When they were back, she showed me the most wonderful photographs of the two of them on her phone. They were so clearly already in love. She told me it was serious and they had started discussing the future.”
“She said they’d said to each other: ‘We’re going to change the world.'”
However, though Harry and Meghan are likely grateful to Gilkes, they might not be inviting him over to Frogmore Cottage anytime soon due to his current girlfriend: tennis ace Maria Sharapova. The Russian athlete is a nemesis of Serena Williams, who is another one of the Duchess of Sussex’s close friends. Williams recently thrashed Sharapova in one of the early rounds of the U.S. Open.