Meghan Markle was still living with Canadian society chef Cory Vitiello when she went on her first date with Prince Harry, a recently published biography claim.
Tom Bower, a biographer who has been vocal in his criticism of Harry and Meghan and who has been called the “Witchfinder General” by the daily mail for the excoriating takedowns of his subjects, has caused a media stir in the UK with the publication of his book Revenge: Harry, Meghan and the war between the Windsors.
Among a number of sensational claims, including that Meghan made sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry at a bridesmaids dress fitting despite telling Oprah Winfrey that the opposite occurred, Bower wrote that Meghan was still living with Vitiello when she was set up on a date with Prince Harry in London in 2016.
Bower wrote that the romantic relationship between Meghan and Vitiello had drawn to a close by the time Meghan left for a visit to Europe in the summer of 2016, but that though having “discussed how to end their relationship,” Vitiello was still living in the couple’s shared home.
Meghan and Vitiello had met, according to Bower, in 2014 in Toronto where he was a renowned restaurateur, well-known among Canada’s high-society cohort.
“On 10th July, 2014, after eating at his restaurant with the suits cast, Meghan wrote a gushing review in The Tig,” Bower wrote. “Cory was dubbed ‘my very favorite chef’.”
“Shortly afterwards, Vitiello ended a relationship and started to date Meghan,” Bower continued. “Together they rented a three-bedroomed home in the city’s Annex district.”
Meghan was introduced to many of the key players in the Canadian world of celebrity through Vitiello, including Jessica Mulroney, who would become one of the future royal’s closest friends.
As Mulroney’s husband, Ben, was the son of Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, which meant Meghan was also introduced to Canada’s dynastic political families, including the Trudeaus.
By the summer of 2016, Meghan and Vitiello’s romance had reportedly run its course with Bower writing that Meghan sought a new romance on her planned visit to Britain where she was considering moving.
In Britain, Meghan and Harry were reportedly set up on a date by a high-society publicist for Ralph Lauren who dressed Meghan for two appearances at Wimbledon during her stay.
Bower identified the matchmaker as Violet von Westenholz, the daughter of a close friend of Prince Charles and a childhood playmate of Princes William and Harry.
“In her empathetic manner,” according to Bower, Meghan “persuaded Violet, a sensitive soul, to arrange a blind date with Harry.”
The prince and Meghan bonded during the date over their shared passion for humanitarian work and philanthropy as discussed in their engagement interview a year later.
Bower said the pair agreed to meet again and “two weeks later Harry secretly flew to Toronto. He stayed for about one week in the house of a friend of Meghan’s, probably Jessica Mulroney.”
“With Cory [Vitiello] still sharing her home, the situation for Meghan was tricky but manageable,” Bower added.
The final end of her relationship with Vitiello, Bower claimed, came after the prince’s visit to Toronto came to an end.
“At the end of the week, after he returned to London, Meghan was convinced that her spell was cast and the relationship with Harry would be sealed,” he wrote.
“She told Cory that their affair was over. Unaware of the circumstances, he was relieved. The final months had been unpleasant.”
Harry and Meghan confirmed their relationship to the press in November 2016 and became engaged in November 2017. The couple married in May the following year and have two children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1.
The claims made in Bowers book have caused considerable comment in Britain with at least one being openly questioned. A source close to the queen previously told newsweek regarding a claim that the monarch told palace aides “thank goodness Meghan isn’t coming” to the funeral of Prince Philip, that she was “unlikely” to be thinking of anyone but her late husband at the time.
The claim that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made a joke about Harry and Meghan’s future children having a “ginger afro” has also been disputed with a royal source telling Newsweek that it was “nonsense.”
newsweek reached out to representatives for Meghan and Vitiello for comment.