The reality TV star who almost beat Harry
Meghan the Duchess of Sussex swapped secret messages with X Factor winner Matt Cardle and asked to meet him - just months before she met Prince Harry.
The unlikely pair struck up a previously unknown online relationship in 2015, according to The Sun.
Meghan, 37, complimented the handsome singer, 36, just before his award-winning role in the West End musical Memphis.
The then recently divorced Suits star was spending time in the UK looking to meet a British man and was also being pursued romantically by former British soccer star Ashley Cole, 38.
A source said: "Matt followed Meghan initially in early 2015 because he thought she was a beautiful star from Suits.
"But he was stunned when she followed him immediately back and started messaging him. She said she was a big fan of his work.
"Matt couldn't believe a Hollywood star like Meghan would even know who he was so he was very flattered and they chatted a little bit online before she suggested meeting up.
"But then he met his girlfriend and knew it wasn't appropriate to keep talking to Meghan so he ended up ghosting her.
"It felt like there could have been a connection but the timing was wrong. He didn't reply to her last message."
Matt remains in a serious relationship with Amber Hernaman, 28, who he credits for keeping him sober after battling drugs and alcohol addiction following his stint on The X Factor UK.
Meghan was on the lookout for a new man during visits to London after splitting from first husband Trevor Engelson in August 2013.
At the time, journalist Katie Hind spent a night out with Meghan, who told her how Cheryl Tweedy's ex-husband Ashley Cole was trying to take her out for a date.
She said of Meghan: "She asked me about British men, and confided that she had recently got divorced from her husband, and now she was single and very much ready to mingle.
"I quizzed her about American men, but she didn't seem so keen on them."
Meghan stayed in touch with her UK-based media pals until she went public with Prince Harry in June 2016.
Matt beat One Direction to become the most popular ever X Factor winner in 2010.
He is now an award-winning West End star, who will appear in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of Jesus Christ Superstar this summer.
Last night a source close to Matt confirmed: "He did exchange messages with Meghan before his relationship with Amber got serious.
"Meghan said she was a fan of Matt having watched him on The X Factor.
"She eventually suggested meeting up when she was next in London. Matt cut contact once he and Amber became official and never replied to the last message."
A spokesman for Matt and spokeswoman for the Duchess of Sussex declined to comment.