Meet Meghan Markle’s Gay BFF

"If my mother had had her way, of course, I’d be with Meghan," says Larnelle Quentin Foster.

All eyes are on Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancée, as the couple readies for what’s doubtlessly going to be a huge royal wedding. But Markle may have a secret weapon to see her through the insanity: Larnelle Quentin Foster, her college “soulmate” and close friend.

The two met in college: Foster, now 35, was living at home with his pastor parents and Markle would often come over for Sunday dinners and to go to church.

Foster describes the royal-to-be as “very kind, very genuine, someone who cares deeply about her family, her friends and the world.”

They were reportedly inseparable, so much so that Foster’s mom thought they were dating, despite the fact that he was gay (though closeted).

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“If my mother had had her way, of course I’d be with Meghan,” the theater teacher says. “She would say: ’Oh, I love Meghan so much.’ I was like, ’Yes, Mom, I do, too.’ but it was never going to happen. I obviously knew she was a beautiful woman, but it was just not on my radar.”

Foster’s mom even referred to Markle as his ex-girlfriend. “I had to say: “Mom, that’s not true.'”

Did Markle know he was gay at the time?

“I’m pretty sure she [did],” he says. “But I didn’t tell her outright because I wasn’t ready then. The straight guys would have died to be in my position. They’d say: ’How do you go out with her?’ And I’d say, “Because I’m not trying anything!'”

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Hopefully Foster will be invited to the wedding and become close with Prince Harry, who’s long been an ally of the LGBT community: When he was in the British army, Diana’s youngest confronted a group of soldiers who were harassing a troop mate.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.