A friend of the royal couple said the two hit it off immediately, according to the new book Finding Freedom.

By PEOPLE
July 27, 2020
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's whirlwind romance was swift from the start.

A new excerpt from the upcoming book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family ( $17.51, amazon.com) appeared in the United Kingdom newspaper The Times on Monday, detailing the beginning of their relationship—from their first date to exchanging "I love you's."

Meghan and Harry's blind date took place at Soho House's Dean Street Townhouse in London. A source told authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand that the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex chatted over drinks for nearly three hours. The night ended with each going their separate ways without a kiss.

"Almost immediately they were almost obsessed with each other," a friend told the authors. "It was as if Harry was in a trance."

Meghan and Prince Harry returned to the same spot for dinner the following night, sneaking into a staff entrance and being waited on by one staff member to ensure privacy.

"Harry knew they would be together at that point," the friend said. "She was ticking every box."

The couple met again the following night, when Meghan took a taxi to a staff entrance at Kensington Palace to visit Harry at his cottage. Prince Harry took Meghan on a romantic camping trip to Botswana six weeks later, leaving the Suits star "completely spellbound," according to a friend.

Three months into their relationship, which included secret dates and flights across the Atlantic Ocean between Meghan's Toronto home and Harry's base in London, Prince Harry was first to tell Meghan "I love you." She immediately replied, "I love you too. "The book explores the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's journey, starting from the early days of their fast-moving romance and culminating in their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family and move to Los Angeles with son Archie.

A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry previously said in a statement, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."

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