Sure, a picture paints a thousand words, but Prince Harry‘s recent art purchase can be summed up in just one: swoon.
PEOPLE has confirmed that the royal, 32, spent thousands on an original piece of artwork called Everybody Needs Somebody To Love for “for an important person” back in October 2016 — just days before his relationship with Suits star Meghan Markle went public.
While it’s not known if the romantic piece, by rising British artist Van Donna, was definitely a gift for Markle, 35, the prince also asked if the acrylic, stencil and spray piece could be split in half, so that it could be shared between two different people.
“Harry is one of the regulars in the area and regularly goes into the shops and galleries with his bodyguard, kind of in stealth mode,” a local art collector tells PEOPLE.
“He was in the gallery for a little while and liked a few things, then settled on the Van Donna. He said he was looking for something for ‘an important person.’ It was literally just before anyone heard about Meghan — literally just days before it was announced he was going out with her.”
While the gallery would not comment on Harry’s visit, a Van Donna piece sold for $5,000 at a Christie’s exhibition in 2016. The value of the artist’s work has since risen considerably. Her work has recently been included in five international exhibitions and hung in the Faberge museum in St Petersburg, Russia.
Like many modern artists, Van Donna prefers to remain anonymous and has created a pseudonym by combining the name of her two personal heroes: Van Gogh and Madonna.
The piece Harry bought is a diptych, where two sides of a canvas forms a single piece of artwork. In this case, the left hand canvas shows a boy and girl walking hand-in-hand, while the right canvas features the words “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” spray-painted in blue.
“Harry asked is he could split the diptych up,” adds the art collector. “He said, ‘If it’s possible?’ I guess you could do that quite easily if you wanted to, but this is an artwork in itself. I mean, it is supposed to form a single artwork.
“At the time nobody knew about Meghan Markle, but if it was for her then it’s a very romantic gesture. It’s a bit like a charm bracelet — where you give half of it to someone you’re involved with and keep the other half yourself. We should all learn something from it, I think.”