Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may have taken a detour to see Princess Eugenie and her husband on their way home from the Invictus Games after they were spotted in a luxury Portuguese resort where Harry’s cousin is known to spend her time.
Following a week in Dusseldorf, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took a ‘lightning romantic escape’ to the village of Melides in the Alentejo region of Portugal – where Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank have a home.
Prince Andrew’s daughter, 33, and her wine merchant husband, 37, have strong ties to the region where Jack works in marketing and sales at the CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club – where the Sussexes are said to have enjoyed a ‘short stay’.
Portuguese magazine Nova Gente reported today that the Sussexes popped over to Portugal on the way back to California – and their trip to the village has since been confirmed by the head of the Alentejo Tourist Board.
Despite a fraught relationship with most of his family, Prince Harry has revealed he remains close to Eugenie and shared snippets of days out with her in his $100million Netflix series last December.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have headed back to California via Portugal to see Eugenie and Jack
The Portuguese magazine reported the Sussexes’ visit to Eugenie and Jack was a ‘mega-secret operation’ which saw them departing Portugal on September 20 on a British Airways flight to London Heathrow, accompanied by two bodyguards.
‘The couple reached the plane in a white van carrying just them and their bodyguards,’ a witness told the publication.
They added Meghan was wearing a dress with cropped sleeves and flat shoes with her hair in a ponytail – and looked ‘tired’ following a busy week at the Invictus Games.
After reports emerged that the Sussexes had visited Melides, Jose Santosy, head of the Alentejo Tourism Board, confirmed Harry and Meghan were indeed in Alentejo.
Confirming he had been told Harry and Meghan were at the CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club resort and it was a ‘short stay’, he added: ‘They were actually in Alentejo, at that resort.
‘I imagine they really enjoyed it and given their family relationship with the place, I am sure they will return to enjoy the wonders that this region has to offer.
‘I don’t know what they were doing, but I know the great experiences they had at their disposal in that part of the region and I’m sure they enjoyed them.
‘For us, it is international recognition of the great tourist quality that Alentejo has today, particularly the Alentejo coast, which due to its potential, exclusivity and beauty will I have no doubt soon be one of the main coastal destinations in Europe.
‘I must say that we have no idea how many people linked to cinema, royalty, arts, design and fashion visit us, precisely because they value discreet travel which is something they find in Alentejo like nowhere else in Europe.
‘They are people who value the quality of the destination, the gastronomy, nature, heritage and, of course, the comfort of the existing accommodation, but also the ability to guarantee discretion during their stay.’
In several clips from Harry & Meghan, Eugenie is pictured visiting the Sussexes in California as they take bike rides together.
The Sussexes also shared photos from a Halloween party they held at Frogmore Cottage shortly before their relationship was made public, in which the foursome dressed up as pilots.
Over the years, Eugenie has been Harry’s close friend, confidante, and even matchmaker. Now she is seen as one of his closest allies within the Royal Family, remaining steadfast in her support of him and Meghan in the wake of their move to California and string of explosive tell-all interviews.
In their bombshell Netflix series Harry & Meghan, the Sussexes revealed they partied with Eugenie and Jack at Frogmore Cottage before their relationship was made public
Last month a source told People that Harry and Eugenie are ‘best friends’ and ‘talk constantly’.
Harry has long been close with Beatrice and Eugenie.
Harry and Eugenie grew up playing together in royal parks and frolicking on the slopes on family ski holidays. Although their older siblings Prince William and Princess Beatrice were there too, it was always clear the relationship between Harry and Eugenie was special.
Their connection is rooted not only in their shared experience as young royals and younger siblings finding their own path in life, but also as children of parents whose dirty laundry was aired in the press.
‘From an early age, Eugenie had to deal with the embarrassing headlines of both her father and mother,’ Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew, previously told Femail.
‘Harry had to deal with his share of headlines, too, and this bond between them was a great consolation for them.’
Despite being born five years apart, Harry and Eugenie often spent time together as children thanks to the friendship between their mothers Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, who would pack up the children for joint family holidays.
Photos from a 1995 ski trip show William and Harry smiling in the snow with the two young York sisters, and trudging up the slope with the girls trailing determinedly behind. Beatrice and Eugenie were also included in the final Christmas card Princess Diana sent out before her death.
‘Out of all the Queen’s grandchildren, Harry and Eugenie have one of the most natural connections,’ Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in the Sussex biography Finding Freedom. The book also describes them as the ‘closest of friends’.
Source of data and images: dailymail