Matchmakers are often described as a ‘mutual friend’. Not amongst ourselves, mind, but by those we set up. Whilst we don’t doubt that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who announced their engagement on Monday, genuinely did meet through a mutual friend, there is still a degree of taboo in admitting that one has used a matchmaker. Considering we have produced hundreds of relationships and marriages (and a fair few babies!) in the 6 years we at The Vida Consultancy have been running, we find this taboo, to say the least, unfounded.
In a candid 20-minute interview, their first as a couple, Meghan describes how she had only one question for their friend: “Is he nice?” So simple, yet so elegant in its truth. At Vida, we understand that, when you peel away the more superficial layers, the good looks, the fast cars – the acquisition of a royal title… – what really matters is the values by which you live your life. The answer to Meghan’s question? Yes. In fact, we’d be willing to bet a Corgi that this mystery mutual friend knew exactly how well suited the two of them were. Philanthropic, humble, level-headed, neither Harry nor Meghan has ever let their fame go to their heads; instead, they channel it into seeing a change in the world. “It was really one of the first things we connected on,” Harry says. “I think that’s probably what got date two!”
Just like mutual friends, matchmakers get to know every single person who comes to them, what makes them tick, what they want in life, and see potential relationships before they’ve even happened. If there is such a thing as fate, matchmakers know how to pre-empt it, direct its majestic course, and bring together two people who, despite being so utterly compatible, would have never met because of nothing more than geography. Harry had never seen Suits, the estimable show in which Meghan stars; Meghan, as an American, had little knowledge of the British royal family. Their social circles were independent. When they sat down for a drink for the first time, they were not two high-status celebrities: they were two strangers, nervous, jittery, perhaps in need of a little Dutch courage as they got to know the person across the table.
At Vida, we work with some of the world’s most exceptional people, people who often – although not exclusively – travel the world extensively with work. “Five hours apart does have its challenges,” Harry readily explains, but they fell in love and worked to let that love grow. Amid their packed schedules, they found a gap, and after only two dates Meghan joined Harry in Botswana, where they camped alone, beneath the stars. Romance blossomed. As matchmakers, we encourage people to find those gaps in their schedules – even if there aren’t necessarily any there. When we know a good match, we know a good match.
“Children?” enquires the interviewer. “Not currently, no,” Harry laughs, with that characteristic wit and twinkle in his eye. Still, it may not be long before we hear the proverbial patter of tiny feet once again in the grounds of the opulent Kensington Palace, cousins for George and Charlotte. Whatever may come, we at Vida applaud this wonderful, transatlantic, trans-cultural, expansion of the most famous royal household in the world.
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