Before Meghan Markle entered the picture, Prince Harry had a string of other relationships, but nothing was quite as intense as his romance with on-again, off-again girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
The former couple dated for nearly a decade, before finally calling it quits in the summer of 2015. But before that very brief reconciliation three years ago, Harry and Chelsy ended things after the royal wedding in 2011, and Kate Middleton and Prince William reportedly played a role in the breakup.
According to journalist Angela Levin’s biography Harry: Conversations with the Prince, Davy was convinced her and Harry were not meant to make it for the long haul while watching Kate and Will exchange their “I do’s.” “A friend revealed that seeing the enormity and pomp of the day convinced Chelsy that she and Harry had been right to separate,” wrote Levin. “Although they had a lot in common, she saw clearly that because they came from such different worlds it could never have worked, especially as she valued her privacy and guarded it so carefully.”
As so many on-off couples do, the pair had “one last hurrah” in Africa during a private trip in 2015, according to royal expert Katie Nicholl.
“You sort of get the feeling that neither of them was quite ever willing to completely let go of that love affair," Nicholl told InStyle. "They’d carved their names into one of the tree trunks on the family estate. It was such a love affair, it really was. Right up until 2015 they were trying to give it another chance. I was quite struck by that and I think everyone that’s been in love, you know, you never forget your first love, and in that respect, I think Prince Harry was no different."
A year later, Davy spoke with The Times about how it was difficult for her to deal with the media attention while dating Harry. “It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable," she said. "I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid, and it was horrible.”
Davy who owns a jewellery line and went to law school added that she was unsure if a woman with a normal life could marry the royal. “I don’t know, but I think that some people are definitely better at it than others,” she explained.
Davy and Harry shared a tearful goodbye phone call the night before the royal wedding, which the 32-year-old Brit attended the following day. “It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on," an anonymous family friend told Vanity Fair.
The insider continued: "Chelsy was quite emotional about it all, she was in tears and almost didn’t go to the wedding. In the end, she went and promised Harry she wouldn’t try and gatecrash the party.”
Everything happens for a reason, right?
This article originally appeared on InStyle U.S.