Friends say the red-haired royal Romeo, often dubbed the world’s most eligible bachelor, has fallen for 35-year-old Meghan Markle.
Insiders say Harry, 32, is “besotted” with the actress, best known for her role as Rachel Zane in American TV legal drama Suits.
In recent weeks royal watchers have noticed that Harry, fifth-in-line to the throne, has had a notable spring in his step and can’t stop smiling.
“He’s happier than he’s been for many years,” said a source close to the Prince last night.
“He’s in a very relaxed period of his life and Meghan has come along at the right time. “They are taking each week as it comes and just enjoying each other’s company but it’s fair to say that they love seeing each other and there’s a definite chemistry between them.
“Harry has been desperate to keep the relationship quiet because he doesn’t want to scare Meghan off. He knows things will change when their romance is public knowledge but he also knows he can’t keep it a secret for long.
“It’s too early to say if the relationship will lead to anything long-term but who knows? At the moment they are just taking it a step at a time and seeing how things develop.”
It is thought Harry met Meghan in May when he was in Toronto to promote the Invictus Games for disabled Servicemen. Meghan, who was born in Los Angeles, has lived in Toronto for several years and made it her home because Suits is filmed there.
She married her long-term boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson, in Jamaica in 2011, but the couple split after just two years. Some claim they have divorced. Others say they are still married but separated.
Ironically Engelson, 40, bears a close physical similarity to Harry. Meghan’s most recent boyfriend was a top Toronto chef, but at the moment she lives with just her two rescue dogs Bogart and Guy.
She has made several visits to London and has been on discreet dinners with Harry and out with his friends.
Friends say Harry has been treated to her “excellent cooking” and they both enjoy yoga. She has stayed with him at Kensington Palace and met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“William and Kate really liked her and she fitted in straight away,” added the insider.
“Meghan is a very confident and intelligent woman and she’s not overawed mixing with royalty. That’s one of the things Harry admires about her.”
She was seen enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon in the Royal Box on June 28 and July 4. She also posted a picture on her Instagram page of a visit to Buckingham Palace on July 5. Harry was in London during that period, joining Coldplay on stage at a Kensington Palace charity gig on June 28.
The daughter of an African-American mother and a father of Dutch and Irish descent, Meghan spent time on film sets as a child because her father Thomas was a lighting director, working on the hit series Married With Children.
She graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied theatre and international relations, and worked for the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.
Working as a freelance calligrapher between small acting parts, her big break came in 2002 when she appeared in the daytime soap opera General Hospital. Parts in Knight Rider and CSI:NY followed, as well as in fi lms Remember Me and A Lot Like Love.
In 2011 she landed the role in Suits which has made her a household name in the US.
But multi-talented Meghan is also a successful businesswoman and model, running a website called The Tig, which specialises in food, travel, fashion and beauty.
A self-confessed “foodie” she has said in interviews: “I love throwing myself into food and embracing where it comes from. I’m a California girl so I grew up with that farm-to-table dining before it was sweeping the nation.”
She has also given her views on men and romance saying : “Catty is not cool.
I can’t think of anything less becoming than a man who talks about people behind their backs.
“At the end of the day, if the guy is going to write a girl a letter, whether it looks like a doctor’s note, if he takes time to put pen to paper and not type something, there’s something so romantic and beautiful about that.”
She added: “When I get ready to go out, it’s half an hour and we’re out of the door. I don’t want to waste time getting ready, I want to have fun. At work I get so dolled up that it’s nice to wear jeans and a sweater.”
A committed humanitarian, Meghan became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada earlier this year and travelled to Rwanda in Africa to help a clean water project.
She has also worked for the United Nations, supporting its gender equality campaign, and was recently appointed an Advocate for Women’s Leadership and Political Participation which saw her deliver a speech in front of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
She has travelled to Afghanistan to support US forces and their families.
“Travelling gives you some perspective of what the rest of the world is like,” she said.” I think that having the courage to step out of the norm is the most important thing.”
The source added: “Harry loves to hear about Meghan’s humanitarian work and he thinks she’s doing a fantastic job.
“She is sassy, smart and vivacious and he just adores her love of life.
There is a definite meeting of minds between them as well as a physical attraction. The romance is in its early stages but it’s no exaggeration to say he’s besotted with her.”