Moving to the US was a big decision for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who had just started to put down roots in their Windsor home in the UK, Frogmore Cottage. But as it became clear they didn't want the future that lay ahead of them - working as full time royals with all the privacy invasion that comes part and parcel with that - a move across the Atlantic became the most appealing option.
But with relocating comes leaving the friends and family you love, and it seems Meghan and Harry will be missing the company of one fellow royal couple in particular. While they have close relationships with numerous members of the royal family, a newly-released biography written about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Finding Freedom, reveals they have an especially tight bond with Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank.
"Eugenie had always been more than just a cousin to Harry. They were also the closest of friends," reads the book, which is written by royal correspondents Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. "Out of all the Queen's grandchildren, Harry and Eugenie have one of the most natural connections. Like Harry, Eugenie is loyal, honest, and great fun," the authors reveal.
Harry and Eugenie famously hung out at London clubs in their younger years, but as the pair grew up and found themselves in serious, long-term relationships, their closeness remained and they became friendly with each other's partners. Princess Eugenie was, in fact, one of the first people Prince Harry told about his blossoming relationship with then-Suits actress Meghan Markle.
"Harry had always confided in his cousin when it came to the women in his life. Not only did he trust her implicitly, but friends say that she gives great advice and has always been 'beyond wise' for her years," says the biography, which hasn't been officially authorised by Meghan and Harry but was researched with the help of "extensive access to those closest to the couple."
Eugenie's response to her cousin's new girlfriend was entirely positive. "She was nothing but encouraging about his new relationship. In fact, Eugenie, who'd long wanted to see her cousin settle down and be happy, told friends she loved Meghan and that she was 'just the tonic' for him," Finding Freedom reveals.
Watch: New claims about Harry and Meghan's royal life made in Finding Freedom
And so it was that the foursome became something of a group. The book describes one particular night they all went out together, on Halloween of 2016, when the Sussexes were still secretly dating. "Harry and Meghan had already been out on two double dates with [Eugenie and Jack]," reads the book, but the couples reunited for a third time in Toronto, where Meghan lived at the time and Jack was on a work trip for tequila brand Casamigos.
It turned out to be a pretty major night that ended prematurely; during the masquerade party, the future Duke and Duchess learned that their relationship was about to be made public by a newspaper, and they headed home before being spotted out together.
But the two couples' relationship has stayed strong ever since. And, despite Finding Freedom suggesting that Princess Eugenie was upset that Meghan and Harry announced their pregnancy to the family just days before her October 2018 wedding, their friendship survived. When baby Archie was born, he received "several visits from Eugenie and Jack," reveals the book.
Coronavirus might have kept them apart for the past 6 months, but we're sure the couples will be making transatlantic visits for those double dates as soon as it's safe to do so.
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