Anyone who gleefully sat down last November to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first joint interview after their engagement knows all about the special meaning that Botswana has in their relationship. Her sparkler of an engagement ring, royal-watchers learned, was designed by Harry and sourced from the African country. In Vanity Fair contributor Katie Nicholl’s new book, Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, the writer delves into that first romantic trip.

In August 2017, Harry took Markle to the country they had first visited together weeks after they began dating in July 2016. It was Markle’s 36th birthday, and there were rumblings that the two might get engaged on this trip. Nicholl writes that the pair spent three weeks traveling around; Harry showed Markle his favorite spots, including Meno a Kwena, where he took his ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, in 2007. But Nicholl writes that this particular trip was a special, surprise birthday getaway for Markle, as well as a first anniversary trip.

Africa has always been a favorite spot for the younger of Princess Diana’s sons. He mentioned in an interview with Hello! magazine in January 2017 that he had first visited the country after his mom died in 1997. Ever since then, it has been a place of solace for him.

“I first came in 1997, straight after my mum died. My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags—we were going to Africa to get away from it all,” he said then. ”My brother and I were brought up outdoors. We appreciate nature and everything about it.”

For her book Nicholl spoke with Roger Dugmore, a safari park owner who first met Harry in Botswana in 1999 and became friends with him. He said that Botswana has always a place where Harry could be a normal person, away from the paparazzi.

(Excerpt) Read More in: VanityFair

Inside Meghan and Harry’s Pre-Engagement Trip to Botswana

| Featured |