Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleImage copyright EPA

How do we meet the people we marry?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed they met in 2016 after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend.

We heard your stories of finding love from blind dates, matchmaking and chance encounters.

‘Took a punt’

Image copyright Howie Jakeway
Image caption Howie and Michelle Jakeway on their wedding day in 2003

Howie Jakeway met his wife Michelle when their mothers set them up on a blind date in October 2001.

Howie said he was “living the single life” in his late thirties when his mother and step-father befriended Michelle’s parents in the Norfolk town to which they had recently retired.

“I was playing golf with my step-father and future mother-in-law when they told me Michelle was going to pick me up to go tenpin bowling in King’s Lynn.

“I thought it will be something different. I’ll go with the flow.”

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Recalling their first date, Howie says “there was no awkwardness, it felt like we’d known each other for years.”

Within three months, Michelle moved to Hertfordshire to be with Howie, and two years later they got married.

Howie says it was “out of character” for his mother to set him up.

“My mum just wanted me to settle down, that was her main driver. She took a punt, and it worked out.”

Howie and Michelle have been married for 14 years, and now live in Perth, Australia, with their two young daughters.

‘We did it first!’

Image copyright Rebecca-Halliwell-Coutts
Image caption Rebecca and Robert were introduced by a colleague in 2014

On Remembrance Sunday, 2014, Rebecca Halliwell-Coutts was in a pub in Westminster with her military colleagues, when she was introduced to Robert by a mutual acquaintance.

Rebecca, a sergeant in Household Division, told the BBC it was “tradition” for service personnel to meet there.

She remembers Robert, a watch manager at West Yorkshire Fire Brigade, was wearing his formal fire service uniform and that he embodied “everything I had imagined I wanted”.

“He had to get a train back to Yorkshire, and he left before we exchanged numbers. All I had was his first name. I doubted I’d ever see him again.”

A year passed without any contact, until in the same pub on Remembrance Sunday weekend in 2015, the pair met again.

“I hadn’t forgotten him and we both knew we should have acted when we first met.”

This time the couple exchanged contact details and began dating. In 2016, Robert proposed in Paris.

“When I heard that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were introduced by a mutual friend, I though ‘we did it first!'”

‘Pre-online dating’

Image copyright Paula Knall

Paula Knall decided to look for love in the lonely hearts column of her local paper in 2001.

“I was in the cinema watching Bridget Jones’ Diary, and I burst into tears. I knew that if I didn’t change something I would be that lonely women in her thirties sobbing.”

Paula went home and spread the pages of the Bucks Herald on her living room floor and began highlighting adverts.

She quickly connected with Chris and after speaking a few times, they met at a cafe on the A1 where they “chatted for about five hours”.

Chris’ sister met her husband through a similar lonely hearts advert, and both couples have been “going strong ever since”.

Paula told the BBC: “People are surprised when they find out we met through lonely hearts ads, but this was pre-online dating and I wanted to meet new people.

“They are even more surprised when I tell them two couples in the same family met this way!”

Paula and Chris got married in 2003, and Paula says “it has been plain sailing all the way”.

By George Pierpoint, UGC and Social News

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