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The British royal family is no stranger to scandalous relationships. There was Princess Diana and James Hewitt: A relationship that took off thanks to trouble at home with Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles may have a sordid history, but they’ve been going strong since 2005.

Then there’s the unforgettable foot fiasco with Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson and John Bryan. A foray that resulted at the end of her marriage to Prince Andrew. The odd pair has managed to maintain a great albeit weird relationship. Now there’s a new scandal in town — the supposed family thread that’s stitching the Duke and Duchess of Sussex together.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry started dating in 2016

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s fairytale romance began in the summer of 2016. Surprisingly, the two were set up on a blind date via a mutual friend. Someone who knows Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson and the Suits actress must be rather rare. Maybe that’s why both parties have gone out of their way to keep their matchmakers identity a secret.

Anyway, the two linked up for drinks and friendly banter. Things went over swimmingly and they met up for a second date just a short time after.

“We met for a drink and then I think very quickly into that we said, ‘Well, what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again,'” – Markle told the BBC.

Prince Harry had a fling while dating Meghan Markle

Despite instant chemistry and sparks aplenty, Prince Harry couldn’t help but keep his options open. According to royal biographer Angela Levin’s book, Harry: Conversations with the Prince, The Duke of Sussex had another lady on his arm as well.

“During the very early stages of his relationship with Meghan, Harry was thought to have gone on dates with Burberry model Sarah Ann Jacklin,” writes Levin in Harry: Conversations with the Prince.

Levin goes on to say: “They met at a private party, he took her number and bombarded her with texts. But it turned out to be just a fling.”

So what made the prince ditch the Burberry model for the Hollywood actress? They simply didn’t connect. An insider told Levin that Prince Harry and Sarah Ann Jacklin were just too different. Jacklin was super straight-edge and all about living clean.

But he isn’t the only one who may have had someone on the side. In the book, Levin also mentions that Markle may not have dropped her beau — celebrity chef Cory Vitiello — in the beginning either. 

How are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle related?

You probably know plenty about Prince Harry’s ancestry. If you follow royal news, you also know plenty about Markle’s less than stellar family — minus the lovely Doris Ragland, of course. What you probably don’t know is that these two very different families intertwine. Considering Prince Harry’s British background and his lady love’s American roots, it’s a jaw-dropping connection.

According to Daily Mail, a “genealogical investigation” revealed that the two just might be cousins who go back to the 15th century. The familial connection is on Thomas Markle’s side via an English gentleman named Ralph Bowes. In Prince Harry’s case, it’s an ancestor of the Queen Mother who fosters the bond.

Bowes was the High Sheriff of County Durham, whose family resided in Streatlam Castle. The Sheriff’s granddaughter, Bridget Bowes, went on to marry locally. However, his grandson moved to America and started his own family. This is the line that Markle would eventually sprout from.

Thankfully the large generational gap between the two means they don’t have to worry about their “taboo” connection impacting their relationship, little Archie, or any other future mini Sussexes.