Byline: LAURA COLLINS
WHEN the Duke of York immersed himself in a passionate and secretive affair with a wealthy Canadian divorcee, his enthusiasm led her to believe it would end in marriage.
The relationship was so intense that art dealer and socialite Louise Blouin MacBain talked of how she, her three teenage children and Andrew would become a family.
Although the Prince and 45-year-old Louise discreetly denied being anything other than friends, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that she introduced him to trusted friends and American socialites as her 'boyfriend'.
And though she referred to him as her 'invisible man' and they were wary of their affair being widely publicised - Louise believed their relationship to be serious and committed, investing both emotionally and financially in the liaison. Andrew, it seems, had other plans.
Last October, he ended their yearlong affair after one final night of passion at her home in Holland Park, London, leaving her bewildered and embarrassed.
Only his silence in the months that followed convinced her that it was all over.
One well-placed source said: 'She was elated after that final visit. But that was the last she heard of him.
'She had clung on to the hope that the relationship meant as much to Andrew as it did to her.
She'd chosen to ignore warnings from a number of friends who said that he was a playboy and that she was heading for a fall.'
It was an intriguing coupling and one that promised to lend Andrew, 45, the cultural and social gravitas that his image has always lacked.
Louise is intellectual, ambitious and beautiful.
She is worth an estimated [pounds sterling]250million and is the …