Back in 2004, a 20-year-old Prince Harry was making the most of his gap year.
The Queen’s grandson jetted off to South Africa during his travels – but it wasn’t just for the country itself.
The young royal had set his sights on Zimbabwean-born Chelsy Davy whom he had met in the UK through a friend.
According to author Katie Nicholl’s book Harry: Life, Loss and Love: “Harry had been smitten by [Chelsy’s] striking beauty and long fair hair and had been intrigued by her stories and background.
“She was a talented horsewoman who could ride bareback and a fearless adventurer who, it was said, had strangled snakes with her bare hands.
“She was also extremely bright and had returned home to take a place at the University of Cape Town to study politics, philosophy and economics.
“Before leaving for Cape Town, Harry had contacted Simon [Diss – a mutual friend] to ask for Chelsy’s number.”
It was during this trip to South Africa that Harry was spotted enjoying a “passionate embrace” on a club dance floor.
“This time, when they met up, the chemistry was instant,” wrote Nicholl.
“They went out with some friends to Rhodes House, a fashionable nightclub and by the end of the evening were locked in a passionate embrace on the dancefloor.”
The clinch was the start of a seven-year romance and Chelsy eventually moved to the UK.
“Harry then made several more trips to see Chelsy before returning to England, sometimes staying in Cape Town, where Chelsy showed him her favourite haunts, and at other times relaxing at the family’s beachfront apartment in Camps Bay,” wrote Nicholl.
“He was an immediate hit with her parents Charles and Beverley and brother Shaun, and Harry enjoyed being part of a loving and close-knit family.
“When he kissed Chelsy goodbye at the end of that summer, he promised it wouldn’t be long before they saw each other again. Harry was falling in love.”
Harry and Chelsey later travelled to Argentina together. “They travelled by private plane to the Entre Rios province in the Mesopotamia region in northeastern Argentina for a romantic weekend,” Nicholl wrote.
“There they dined by candlelight on fresh barbecued fish after energetic days spent hunting and fishing.”
Staff at the lodge where the young lovers stayed spilt the secrets of what happened to the Mail on Sunday. “Harry and Chelsy were like any young couple in love, kissing and holding hands, and he seems quite besotted,” the paper reported.
“They looked madly in love, and at one point Harry admitted that she was his first true love.”