Who is Sasha Walpole, who took Prince Harry’s virginity, married to?
The identity of the mystery ‘older woman’ who took Prince Harry’s virginity was sensationally revealed last night as Sasha Walpole, 40, spoke out following the Duke of Sussex’s reference to the one-night stand in his recent memoir Spare.
Over two decades on from the royal romp, Sasha’s husband, Ian, is said to be ‘laid back’ about the situation, having heard about it early on in their relationship.
‘Being exposed in a book is surreal,’ she said. ‘I’m here in my home in Wiltshire with my husband Ian and my kids and – 21 years later – this.’
Sasha had known the Harry since her days as a groom at the future King Charles’ Gloucestershire estate, Highgrove.
At just over two years the Prince’s senior, she is much younger than most of the women whose names were suggested in the frenzy of speculation about her identity.
She told her mother Lyn, now 65, and her big sister Jodie Mayhead, 42, an accountant, that she’d had sex with Harry at the time.
Ian, 44, also knew she had slept with the Royal since she had confided in him when their relationship became serious.
However, the global guessing game over the name of Harry’s mystery lover meant Sasha has now had to share details of her teenage sex life with her father Tony, 71.
‘Dad wouldn’t have cared if I had slept with a prince or a frog as long as I was safe and happy,’ she says, ‘but as a father, he didn’t really want to know.
‘It’s not the kind of thing you want to talk about, even when you are as close as we are. Fortunately he took it as well as my husband, who is very laid back about it.’
But who is Ian, and how long have the pair been together?
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at everything we know about the couple.
Who is Ian Walpole?
According to his social media, Ian lives in Warminster, Wiltshire, and often posts about car drifting – a high-performance cornering technique – understood to be a point of bonding between him and Sasha.
Speaking to The Sun, the mother-of-two revealed that she first mentioned her experience with Harry to Ian while they were out for a drink, and the infamous polo pictures were just emerging.
When did Ian and Sasha get married?
Photos of Ian and Sasha’s wedding day – posted on 2016 – feature a colourful assortment of the groom’s party in neon chartreuse, and the bride’s, in deep purple.
Commenting on a tagged Instagram post from the day, Ian gushed about the beautiful nuptials.
‘What a perfect day in every way,’ he wrote. ‘We couldn’t have done it soo well without the help from all the help from our friends and family.’
How did they meet?
After foot-and-mouth disease put an end to her hopes of working with horses, Sasha started mixing with a different set of friends whose interest lay in motor sports, not horses. It was then that she met and fell in love with her husband, Ian.
Ian is a professional drift racer, and having begun dating in 2001, the couple got married in 2016 – shirking the traditional white and instead opting for a bright green and purple colour scheme.
They settled in Wiltshire’s Wylye Valley and have two daughters, aged five and three.
Who is Sasha Walpole?
Born into a working-class family, Sasha, 40, left school at 15 to pursue work in the equestrian industry.
Her parents scrimped to buy her a naughty dapple grey called Beano and made her a horse box from an old British Telecom Luton van.
At 17, she was hired as an assistant groom at Highgrove, a 15-minute drive from her home in the village of Acton Turville, Gloucestershire.
Her late-night escapade with Prince Harry in July 2001 occurred the day before her 19th birthday, when the royal was 16.
She worked for the royal family from September 1999 until April 2001, when she left the stables to take a stop-gap job in local factory Stretchline, making elastic for bras and underwear.
She was preparing to leave home, having applied for a groom’s job in the Sultan of Brunei’s stables in the Home Counties – but an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease put an end to that dream.
Sasha was born to mother Lyn and father Tony. Her mother, now 65, was a hotel cleaner while her father, 71, did groundworks.
She has an older sister Jodie Mayhead, 42, who works as an accountant. Both Jodie and Lyn were aware of what happened with between Harry and Sasha, and together the had kept it a closely-guarded secret for 21 years.
Outside of her work at Highgrove, Sasha first met William at a comedy night starring the late Cornish comedian Jethro at the Beaufort Hunt Kennels.
She subsequently made friends with Harry at one of his favourite pubs, The Rattlebone Inn, in the nearby Wiltshire village of Sherston.
They bonded over stories of her escapades on horse Beano.
‘He was like a Thelwell pony [the caricatures drawn by cartoonist Normal Thelwell for Punch magazine]. He was so naughty, he ate everything – even the light off his own trailer once,’ she laughs.
What happened the night Harry lost his virginity?
Sasha, now a mother of two who drives diggers for a living, had invited Harry, then a 16-year-old Eton schoolboy – not 17 as suggested in Spare – to the pub to celebrate her 19th birthday.
The pair were such close friends that Harry had brought her a stuffed Miss Piggy and a comedy birthday card with a joke about a flatulent whale on the front. He added to that with a tray of ten shots – five each – which saw the pair very drunk by closing time.
As last orders were called, the young prince asked her: ‘Should we go for a smoke?’ and they crept into an adjacent field to have a cigarette out of sight of his security detail.
‘He started to kiss me,’ she remembers. ‘It was passionate, intense. We both knew. It went from a kiss on to the floor pretty quickly.
‘It was instant, fiery, wham bam, between two friends. It was sparky because we shouldn’t have been doing it. He wasn’t ‘Prince Harry’ to me, this was Harry, my friend, and the situation had got a little bit out of control. It felt naughty, I suppose, in the sense that it shouldn’t be happening.
‘We didn’t set out to do it – it wasn’t premeditated and I didn’t know he was a virgin. There were no virgin vibes – he seemed to know what he was doing. It was quick, wild, exciting. We were both drunk. It wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t.’
Sadly the encounter marked the end of Sasha’s friendship with Harry. From being regular drinking partners, the pair never texted, spoke or saw each other again.
Sasha added what surprised her most about the inclusion of the anecdote in Spare was how accurate it was.
Where is she now?
Sasha is now a digger driver, and excavates footings for patios and driveways, following in the footsteps of her father.
It was husband Ian who bought her her first digger as a birthday present.
She said: ‘Now I drive a one-ton that goes through doorways and a three-ton too. Plus I have two dumpers.’
On Harry’s revelations, she says: ‘Being exposed in a book is surreal. I’m here in my home in Wiltshire with my husband Ian and my kids and – 21 years later – this.’
‘I don’t think people will be amazed about me and Harry having sex in a field,’ she says bluntly, ‘but they are usually astonished by a woman driving a digger.’
It says much about the happily married mother-of-two – all of it good – that she has guarded their secret for so many years.
And it says much about the teenage Harry – also good – that he initiated a two-and-a-half-year friendship with a girl from outside the so-called Glosse Posse of wealthy, blue-blooded youngsters who made up his social circle in rural Gloucestershire.
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