Prince Harry: adored by the world but un­lucky in love

There was a time when the world de­spaired of Prince Harry and his an­tics, but re­cent years have seen him reach new heights of pop­u­lar­ity. Yet while he now rides a wave of ado­ra­tion, it’s the love of a wife and fam­ily he longs for. Wil­liam Lan­g­ley re­ports.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

HAV­ING MAN­FULLY slogged his way through a long stretch of no­to­ri­ety, Prince Harry is strug­gling to cope with the op­po­site prob­lem. The whole world sud­denly loves Harry. Michelle Obama, wife of the US Pres­i­dent, calls him “Our own Prince Charm­ing,” Lady Gaga thinks he is “awe­some”, his rugged, or­ange beard has its own so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing, and his re­doubtable grand­mother, the Queen, ap­pears to be wrapped around his lit­tle fin­ger.

While all this has come as a big re­lief to a royal es­tab­lish­ment that once de­spaired of its fifth-in-line (although first-in-line for par­ties and night­club open­ings), the con­se­quences of pop­u­lar­ity have hit Harry, 31, in un­ex­pected ways. The de­mands for his time and pa­tron­age have be­come over­whelm­ing, the in­ter­est in his life is ob­ses­sive. His fan-base is grow­ing around the world, and chas­tened royal chron­i­clers who once mocked him as a na­tional em­bar­rass­ment now use words like “in­spi­ra­tional” and “saintly” to de­scribe his ac­tiv­i­ties.

Harry should be flat­tered. In­stead, he is worried.

Most of his friends – and, of course, his older brother, Wil­liam – are now mar­ried, set­tled down and rais­ing fam­i­lies. Harry hasn’t even had a se­ri­ous girl­friend for two years. The me­dia de­scribe him as the “World’s Most El­i­gi­ble Bach­e­lor”, but the el­i­gi­bil­ity isn’t quite what it seems.

The re­al­ity for Harry is that for all his fine pedi­gree and per­sonal qual­i­ties, few young women fancy – or are suit­able for – the role of a royal wife.

Down the years he has smooched with star­lets, dal­lied with debu­tantes and canoo­dled with cov­er­girls, but the search for a last­ing re­la­tion­ship has been dif­fi­cult, fre­quently painful, and is un­likely to get eas­ier as the years go

“IT WAS IN­EVITABLE I would have to be a full-time Prince Harry, DE­SPITE THE FACT I AL­WAYS WANTED TO BE CAPT WALES.”

by. Royal au­thor Penny Junor be­lieves the in­se­cu­ri­ties stem­ming from

Harry’s child­hood make it dif­fi­cult for him to build re­la­tion­ships in the pub­lic eye. “The truth is,” she says, “that Harry is go­ing to find it dif­fi­cult to land any fish un­less he is given some pri­vacy.”

Harry touched on his predica­ment dur­ing the build-up to May’s In­vic­tus Games in Florida – the sport­ing tour­na­ment for in­jured ser­vice­men, which he had per­son­ally mas­ter­minded. “If or when I do find a girl­friend,” he said, “I will do my ut­most to en­sure that we can get to the point where we’re com­fort­able be­fore the mas­sive in­va­sion that is in­evitably go­ing to hap­pen into her pri­vacy. When peo­ple fin­ish work in the city, or wher­ever, if you want to have a bit of down­time, you might go to the pub with your mates. I do that less and less, be­cause it’s not down­time for me.”

The prob­lems were put into even sharper per­spec­tive by Harry’s ex, Chelsy Davy, whom he dated in­ter­mit­tently for seven years un­til their fi­nal part­ing in 2010. In an in­ter­view in June, Chelsy, now run­ning her own jew­ellery busi­ness, ad­mit­ted that she “couldn’t cope” with the at­ten­tion Harry at­tracts, and found the con­stant pres­ence of the pa­parazzi “scary, crazy and un­com­fort­able.”

Even­tu­ally, Chelsy re­turned to her na­tive Zim­babwe, and while she and Harry have re­mained good friends, she ap­pears to have few re­grets about their break-up. “It was nuts,” she says. “That was why I wanted to go back to Africa. Now it’s calm. It’s fine.”

With the suc­ces­sion se­cure in the shape of Wil­liam and his chil­dren, Harry has rel­a­tively lit­tle pres­sure to marry. The trou­ble, say those around him, is that he wants to. He loves chil­dren, and is a big, en­thu­si­as­tic pres­ence in the lives of his nephew, Ge­orge, just three, and one-year-old niece, Charlotte. As his step­mother, Camilla, the Duchess of Corn­wall, has said: “He’d re­ally like to set­tle down with a cou­ple of kids and a dog.”

For now, Harry is throw­ing him­self into work. He is pa­tron of more than a dozen char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions, and is closely in­volved in projects sup­port­ing con­ser­va­tion and HIVin­fected chil­dren in Africa. The clout he can wield on be­half of these causes is im­pres­sive. Last month he re­cruited Cold­play to head­line a con­cert in the grounds of Kens­ing­ton Palace to raise money for Sen­te­bale, a char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion he has set up to pro­vide help for AIDS vic­tims and de­prived young peo­ple in Le­sotho. The In­vic­tus Games, though, are by far his big­gest achieve­ment yet – the Florida event draw­ing more than 500 com­peti­tors, in­clud­ing 18 from New Zealand.

Harry likes sol­diers, and makes no se­cret of his re­gret at leav­ing the Bri­tish army after 10 years to as­sume a wider royal role. As a serv­ing of­fi­cer he fought on two fronts – one in Afghanistan, and the other against a royal es­tab­lish­ment that pre­ferred to keep him out of harm’s way. In the end, Harry set­tled the mat­ter in typ­i­cally forth­right fash­ion: “There’s no way I’m go­ing to put my­self through all that train­ing,” he said, “and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are serv­ing their coun­try.”

To­day, Harry tries not to brood on his lost ca­reer. “I sup­pose,” he said re­cently, “it was in­evitable I would have to be a full-time Prince Harry, de­spite the fact I al­ways wanted to be Capt Wales, treated the same and wear­ing the same uni­form as ev­ery­one else.” He says he still suf­fers trau­matic flash­backs from his time on the front line. “It’s al­ways in there,” he says, “and if you have dark mo­ments in your life those slides will pop up.”

Ad­mirable as the new ‘good’ Harry is, there are still some who miss the

old ‘bad’ Harry, and a de­bate rages around the ques­tion of what re­ally ac­counts for the change. When Harry went to Amer­ica a few months ago to build sup­port for the Games, The Wash­ing­ton Post – hav­ing pre­dicted may­hem – ran a pained head­line ask­ing: “What Have They Done to Harry?” A US colum­nist took the is­sue fur­ther, ar­gu­ing: “There’s no ques­tion Good Harry is mak­ing the world a bet­ter place. But Bad Harry al­lowed us to live vi­car­i­ously through his mis­deeds, which, I’d say, was also mak­ing the world a bet­ter place.”

He was one of the stars of the Queen’s 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, tak­ing on a role that was both play­ful and se­ri­ous, while speak­ing from the heart of his enor­mous ad­mi­ra­tion for his grand­mother and his doubts that to­day’s gen­er­a­tion of roy­als can ful­fil the “huge ex­pec­ta­tion” of duty she has cre­ated.

The trans­for­ma­tion has no sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion. Partly, Harry has sim­ply grown up, but it is clear his mother’s ex­am­ple is much on his mind. His own mem­o­ries of her are, he says, rel­a­tively few, but he has a strong sense of Diana watch­ing over him. “I hope she’s look­ing down, you know, with tears in her eyes,” he told a TV in­ter­viewer, “be­ing in­cred­i­bly proud of what we’ve es­tab­lished. I think los­ing your mother at such a young age does end up shap­ing your life mas­sively. Of course it does, and now I find my­self try­ing to be there, and give advice to other peo­ple who are in sim­i­lar po­si­tions.”

Although it wasn’t ob­vi­ous at the time, the most dif­fi­cult pe­riod of Harry’s life – his 20s – was the mak­ing of him. He had shuf­fled into adult­hood scarred by his par­ents’ dis­as­trous mar­riage, and trau­ma­tised by Diana’s death. Hat­ing all the at­ten­tion he received – some­thing that hasn’t much changed – he came across as surly, awk­ward and oc­ca­sion­ally hos­tile, and then the trou­bles started. There were fu­ri­ous flare-ups with pho­tog­ra­phers, ques­tions about the com­pany he was keep­ing, and dark al­le­ga­tions of drug use.

While Wil­liam seemed to have coped with things bet­ter, there was a sense that the younger boy’s grief and loss would trans­late into fu­ture prob­lems. He strug­gled at school, gain­ing just two, low-grade exam passes, and even when he joined the army it was said the only fight­ing he would do would be for a ta­ble in a fash­ion­able bar.

It was tempt­ing to liken him to his Shake­spearean fore­bear Prince Hal, whose early life of ‘riot and dis­hon­our’ swings back from de­bauch­ery to duty in time for the Bat­tle of Agin­court. Things be­gan to turn around for

Harry with Wil­liam’s 2011 wed­ding to Kate Middleton. Tak­ing his best­man du­ties se­ri­ously, Harry or­gan­ised the pre-nup­tial fes­tiv­i­ties, de­liv­ered Wil­liam to West­min­ster Abbey on time, didn’t lose the ring, charmed the crowds lin­ing the pro­ces­sional route, and at the re­cep­tion, made a speech full of warmth and mis­chief that brought the house down. For the first time in his royal life, he awoke to favourable notices.

His pop­u­lar­ity has been on a steep up­ward curve ever since. Polls reg­u­larly show him to be Bri­tain’s favourite royal, and even if he will never be en­tirely com­fort­able in the spot­light, he has learned to han­dle at­ten­tion with grace and self­as­sur­ance. Courtiers speak glow­ingly of his work-ethic and ma­tu­rity, and while no one ac­cuses Harry of be­ing a deep thinker, he ap­pears to have a per­fect un­der­stand­ing of him­self:

“What you see is what you get with me,” he says. “It’s gen­uine. I will al­ways try to bring an ­el­e­ment of fun and hap­pi­ness to ev­ery­thing I do. That prob­a­bly is sub­con­sciously very much a part of my mother – try­ing to fill that void. Try­ing to fill an un­be­liev­able pair of boots, whether it’s her or, es­pe­cially, the Queen. It’s a hard thing to do.”

All he needs now is a com­pan­ion. There hasn’t been a se­ri­ous one since 2014, when he split from ac­tress/ model Cres­sida Bonas, who, like

Chelsy, opted to put her ca­reer first. Ac­cord­ing to In­grid Se­ward, edi­tor of Majesty mag­a­zine, both of these bright am­bi­tious young women took fright at the prospect of “gilded cage syn­drome” – a life of priv­i­lege, but lim­ited free­dom.

He is said to look en­vi­ously upon his hap­pily mar­ried brother, who had the good for­tune to fall in love with Kate while se­questered in a re­mote Scot­tish univer­sity. It hasn’t been like that for Harry.

Bri­tish book­mak­ers are cur­rently of­fer­ing 8-1 on the prince mar­ry­ing this year. Last year the odds were shorter. For next year they are longer. The wait for the next royal wed­ding could be a lengthy one.

“I WILL AL­WAYS TRY TO bring an el­e­ment of fun and hap­pi­ness to EV­ERY­THING I DO.”

Michelle Obama greets her “Prince Charm­ing” at the open­ing of the In­vic­tus Games in May.

Prince Harry, shown here with his cousin, Zara Tin­dall, and her daughter Mia, loves chil­dren.

Harry and the Queen went vi­ral ear­lier this year in a hu­mor­ous video sent to the Oba­mas.

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