Who is Sasha Walpole? Digger driver who took Prince Harry's virginity
Who is Sasha Walpole? Horse-loving digger driver who became assistant groom at Highgrove at age 17 – and says she took Prince Harry’s virginity
- The 40-year-old mother-of-two says she was the woman mentioned in Spare
- She was hired as an assistant groom at Highgrove at 17 but now drives diggers
- Read more: How Prince Harry and Sasha Walpole’s friendship blossomed
The identity of the mystery ‘older woman’ who took Prince Harry’s virginity was revealed last night as Sasha Walpole, 40, who has spoken out following the Duke of Sussex’s reference to the incident in his recent memoir Spare.
Ms Walpole had known the Prince 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.
But just who is the mother-of-two, how did she meet Prince Harry and where is she now? MailOnline has gathered everything you need to know as Ms Walpole steps into the limelight.
Sasha Walpole, 40, is a digger driver and horse-lover from Wiltshire – a world away from Prince Harry’s glitzy life in California
Ms Walpole was hired as an assistant groom at Highgrove in 1999, at the age of 17
Who is Sasha Walpole?
Sasha Walpole, 40, is a digger driver and horse-lover from Wiltshire, who lives with her husband and two children in the Wylye Valley.
READ MORE: In her own words… watch Prince Harry’s ‘older woman’ reveal how she took his virginity in a field behind a pub at her 19th birthday party
Born into a working-class family, she left school at 15 to pursue work in the equestrian industry.
Ms Walpole’s 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.
Who are Ms Walpole’s family?
Ms Walpole 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.
After foot-and-mouth disease put an end to her hopes of working with horses, Ms Walpole 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, 44.
Mr Walpole 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.
How did Sasha Walpole meet Prince Harry?
Ms Walpole (left) and Prince Harry (right) were in a group of friends who bonded over horses as teens
Outside of her work at Highgrove, Ms Walpole 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 was her relationship with the Duke of Sussex?
Ms Walpole was good friends with Prince Harry, part of a Wiltshire group of teens who bonded over a shared love of the world of horses.
After meeting at The Rattlebone Inn, she was soon invited to the princes’ space at Highgrove, where then-Prince Charles had granted them a chill-zone.
Ms Walpole fondly recalls boozy nights including games such as Spin the Bottle.
The first time the Prince rang her on the white push-button landline phone wired into the wall at home, it was mother Lyn who answered.
Prince Harry was pictured socialising with some of his friends in June 2001, including Sasha (circled)
A younger Sasha Walpole dressed up for a Polo ball, around the time she was friends with the princes
‘Mum said, “Harry’s on the phone.” Afterwards she asked, “Was that HARRY?”. I said, “Yes!” and I remember her saying, “Oh, how funny”.’
Soon though, it was such a regular occurrence, she’d be chivvied to hang up on the Royal because other people needed to use the phone.
She described her friendship with the princes: ‘Everyone was equal in the world of horses.
‘Our group was a very mixed bunch of polo players, grooms, hunt staff and racing people, a cosmopolitan crowd.
‘It didn’t matter if you were a groom, a Royal or a rider. There was no judgment.
‘Harry didn’t act like a Prince, there wasn’t any snobbery. Honestly, we were just two mates who talked horses.’
What happened on 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.
The Miss Piggy Toy Harry bought for Sasha for her birthday. The Duke bought it at Thorpe park and gave it to her at her party with a card
The Vine Tree Pub, Norton, Wiltshire where Prince Harry had sex with Sasha Walpole in a field, which the Duke sensationally revealed in his bombshell memoir Spare
‘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.
Ms Walpole added what surprised her most about the inclusion of the anecdote in Spare was how accurate it was.
Where is she now?
Sasha Walpole is now happily married to husband Ian, a drift racer, with two young daughters
Ms Walpole 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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