“I knew [Natalie Pinkham] was friends with Prince Harry, and I’d never met him, so I thought, ‘Oh that’s quite exciting’, and for a moment I perked up,” Flack recalled in her 2014 book. “So I was just sitting there and he arrived with a few others in tow and we all spent the evening chatting and laughing.”
Per Harry’s memoir, Spare, the twosome saw each other “on and off” but never got serious due to U.K. media attention.
More than 10 years later, Flack was found dead in her East London home in February 2020. Four days later, the coroner confirmed Flack died by suicide. Harry commented on her passing for the first time in his book, released in January 2023.
“In the midst of all this darkness came the horrible news that my old friend Caroline Flack had taken her life,” he wrote, referring to his issues with his family over his and now-wife Meghan Markle‘s royal exit. “She couldn’t stand it anymore, apparently. The relentless abuse at the hands of the press, year after year, had finally broken her. I felt so awful for her family. I remembered how they’d all suffered for her mortal sin of going out with me.”
“The way in which the press spoke about her at that time and the reason they split are both very sad and it’s disgusting he’s brought up old long forgotten slurs she had to suffer in full view of the public around the world,” Alex Mullen wrote via Instagram at the time. “Of course Caroline reacted to them with humour and grace but privately she was deeply hurt; just the first of many injustices she didn’t deserve. … Harry’s decision to remind all of the terrible things said about her to help sell his appalling book is grotesque.”
At the time of her passing, Flack was dating English tennis player Lewis Burton.
“It’s already been a month I love and miss you so much, I never thought that one day I will never be able to see or speak to you again 💔,” he wrote in March 2020 via Instagram. “I wake up and think you’re going to be laying next to me or you’re going to call me in a minute. It just doesn’t seem real. I wish I could give you a kiss and a cuddle and say everything is going to be ok. I am so grateful I met you. I just want to make you proud.”
Harry, for his part, married Meghan in 2018 after less than two years of dating. They went on to welcome son Archie in 2019 and daughter Lilibet in 2021.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Scroll through for more from Harry and Flack on their relationship: