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Meghan Markle accused of colluding with paparazzi on restaurant pics & pals say she’d promote herself ‘anyway she could’

MEGHAN Markle and her agent have been accused of colluding with a paparazzi photographer to set up shots of her entering a London restaurant.

The Duchess of Sussex was pictured going into Toto’s restaurant wearing a stylish white coat in Kensington during March 2015, the year before she met Prince Harry.

⚠️Read our Meghan and Harry blog for the latest news on the Royal couple.

Meghan was pictured entering Toto’s restaurant in London in March 2015
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Meghan was pictured entering Toto’s restaurant in London in March 2015
She and her agent have been accused of colluding with a photographer to set up the shots
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She and her agent have been accused of colluding with a photographer to set up the shots

At the time, Meghan was a relatively unknown American actress playing paralegal Rachel Zane on cable TV drama Suits.

Sources told The Sun that the picture had been “pre-arranged” through her agent at talent firm Kruger Cowne – with a photographer heading to the venue specifically to snap her going inside.

It comes as blockbuster biography Finding Freedom revealed how the duchess used to “set up” the occasional paparazzi photo – despite her dad Thomas being criticised for doing the same thing.

An insider told The Sun: “Meghan knew the photographer was going to be at the Kensington restaurant to take her photos of her arrival.

“It was all pre-arranged. She was very calm when she arrived and even gave the hint of a smile.

“For someone who wasn’t very well known in the UK at that point, she certainly didn’t question why a photographer would randomly turn up to take her picture.

The photos were taken the year before she met Prince Harry
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The photos were taken the year before she met Prince Harry
Meghan has been accused of occasionally setting up paparazzi photos
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Meghan has been accused of occasionally setting up paparazzi photos

“Funnily enough though, the pictures never sold at the time. The only time they started to sell was when news broke that she was with Prince Harry.”

Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, Meghan’s former agent at Kruger Cowne, denied that the pictures had been organised through the firm.

She said: “It is absolutely not true. I’m not aware of any set-up pictures being done with Meghan.”

Asked about how the photographers knew who Meghan was and where she would be on the 2015 dates, she added: “I have no idea.”

In sensational book Finding Freedom, the authors claim that Meghan’s co-operation with photographers ended when she met Prince Harry.

It said: “While Meghan, before she met Harry, had occasionally set up a paparazzi photo or let info slip out to the press, she did everything in her power to protect the privacy of her relationship with the press.”

Her dad Thomas, 76, was shunned for setting up pictures with a photographer before the royal wedding in 2018.

The Sun can also reveal how Meghan also became close to a renowned celebrity photographer when she was an actress in Toronto – while promoting herself “in any way she could”.

The Duchess of Sussex is said to have struck up a friendship with snapper George Pimentel.

Canadian photographer George, also friends with Meghan’s closest pal Jessica Mulroney, even travelled to England to get shots of the duchess on her wedding day.

A source told The Sun: “He would take pictures of her and Jessica at events and on the red carpet. She would be nice to him and he photographed her at lots of different parties.”

The royal couple are reported to have started dating in July 2016
The royal couple are reported to have started dating in July 2016
'Finding Freedom' reveals new details about the couple's unhappiness
'Finding Freedom' reveals new details about the couple's unhappiness

George repeatedly photographed Meghan, now 38, after she moved to Toronto from Los Angeles in 2011 for TV show Suits.

Speaking in 2018, he said: “Meghan tried to promote herself in any way she could from the start. (With Harry) she has struck gold and she knows it.

“Yes, they have fallen in love, but she has to take on a huge role and she lives for that!

“She is getting so used to having her photograph taken, I think she’s actually getting a bit sick of it, but that’s the life. Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it!”

George even travelled to Windsor Castle, where he got a shot of Meghan on her wedding day to Harry – claiming the royal couple recognised him in the crowd and waved.

Afterwards he said: “She totally looked at me and recognised me. And I’m not just saying that. She gave me a wave and she gave me a great smile.”

Paparazzi photographers in Toronto told The Sun that Meghan was not famous enough before she met Harry to set-up pictures with them.

One said: “I almost photographed her once, but lost her. I wouldn’t have made a dime out of the pictures anyway.”

Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, Meghan’s former agent at Kruger Cowne, denied that the pictures had been organised through the firm.

She said: “It is absolutely not true. I’m not aware of any set-up pictures being done with Meghan.”

Asked about how the photographers knew who Meghan was and where she would be on the 2015 dates, she added: “I have no idea.”

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