One shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the imminent betrothal of Prince Harry and his long suffering, long term girlfriend, Cressida Bonas. Although several news outlets would have us believe that the moment most serious royal watchers have been predicting was coming for the past two years seems fast approaching, Ms. Bonas appears to have personally authorized her friends to speak to The Daily Telegraph in order to set the record strait: she wont be accepting Prince Harry’s marriage proposal as soon as this week’s earlier news reports led us to believe. Her friends, who chose to remain nameless but are nonetheless on record as being her friends, state the primary reason for “Cressy’s” trepidation is that she’s desperate to become a professional dancer, despite currently being employed in marketing, and realizes she’d have to forgo that potential career once she joined the House of Windsor. These contradictory stories lead one to wonder who was the source of the original tale in the first place. After all, they were stated to be a source close to the couple.
The notion that these two were about to become engaged seemed well founded. Not only had Prince Harry recently been seen in public with Miss Bonas acting for the first time as his official escort at a charity fundraiser, but this past Tuesday a “close source” to the couple revealed to E! News Online, hardly a reputable news outlet but a popular one nonetheless, that Harry and “Cressy” were seriously discussing wedding plans. The source further stated that Miss Bonas had met with Buckingham Palace officials to discuss post engagement security arrangements, and that, while Prince Harry was planning to propose shortly, he and his girlfriend were relishing the relative normalcy of their life together one last time before everything changes. How in the hell does one plan to propose to someone with that person being fully aware that you’re about to propose? Doesn’t that remove the element of surprise in the act of proposing? The author wouldn’t be surprised if Harry has already secretly proposed, Cressida has informed him she’ll think about it, and the palace has decided to force the issue in a manner that publicly forces Cressida to make up her mind. Therefore, the author also wouldn’t be surprised if the source of the original story turned out to be a minion of Buckingham Palace’s press office acting under orders to execute a well planned, secretly approved press leak.
In order to fire up the public’s excitement for an impending major royal event, palace press officers have been known in the past to drop hints in the press several months before the event was announced. They typically begin leaking stories to tabloids before the respectable news outlets are finally let in on, what by then, is the world’s most open secret. This was certainly the case in the run up to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s formal engagement announcement, when various tabloids and Internet news sites began reporting that “sources close to the couple” were predicting Will and Kate’s imminent engagement. Nothing in the lives of the most senior ranking members of the House of Windsor are allowed to happen spontaneously. We know from the testimony of former Buckingham Palace civil servant Malcolm Barker, in his book Courting Disaster, that Charles and Diana’s wedding took one year to plan. Since the wedding happened in July of 1981, and their engagement was announced the previous February, that means that Chuck and Di became informally engaged 7 months prior to their official betrothal. All major British royal weddings have followed this general pattern.
Since King George V became one of the world’s first heads of state to hire a publicist shortly after the First World War, the House of Windsor has both benefitted and suffered from a strange, symbiotic relationship with Britain’s press, particularly its tabloids. Far from deriving their stories solely from rummaging through the trash bins at the various palaces, many a tabloid reporter maintains private, off the record contact with different royals, their friends, employees, and lovers. This is not to suggest that most tabloid stories concerning the Windsors aren’t fabrications, especially when a false story has been deliberately planted in them by one royal in order to get even with another, but certain tabloid stories, such as this one, have all the earmarks of an orchestrated palace press office leak.
This all leads one to wonder why the most senior ranking members of the Court of St. James are so desperate to see Cressida Bonas become the next royal duchess, and why she seems equally reluctant to marry into the Royal Family. Since the moment they began dating two years ago, the palace has done its utmost to ensure that the world’s media be made fully aware of Prince Harry’s latest relationship, and in general the media coverage concerning Cressida has all but declared that she’s Harry’s future bride. It has also been rumored from the start that the ardor of Prince Harry’s affections have never been fully requited by Miss Bonas, and that she’s wanted to end the relationship more than once, but has been pressured by outside influences not to do so. The author suspects that there are several reasons for this. Before he explains further, let him state, as he usually does with posts such as these, that he’s engaging in mere speculation and nothing more. In his humble opinion, Prince Harry’s and Cressida Bonas’ courtship is the latest example of how potential British royal marriages can be arranged without literally being so.
From the moment William and Kate became the Duke and Duchess Cambridge, the pressure’s been on Prince Harry to settle down and find a bride of his own. Although British royal males aren’t expected to marry until their late 20’s/early 30’s, Harry’s rumored to be considered by many of his father’s and grandmother’s courtiers to be a special case. Simply put, he’s thought to be the Windsors loosest cannon and greatest potential liability. Aside from his obvious alcohol abuse, and the embarrassments that have resulted from it, there are some who believe his emotional problems go far deeper than that.
Harry suffered through what was easily the most tragic childhood of any member of the royal family in recent memory. Even before his parents’ divorce and his mother’s death, Harry exhibited all the traumas typical of a child growing up in a dysfunctional, de facto broken home in which neither parent regards him as their favorite. Its because of the guilt he feels concerning the role he played in the tragedies of Harry’s childhood that explains why Prince Charles has generally, though not always, enabled his younger son when he’s chosen to behave badly. One wonders if the Prince of Wales, like some of his advisors, suspects that Harry has inherited some degree of the emotional illness that has plagued the late Diana, Princess of Wales’ family for generations.
It’s for these reasons that palace courtiers were initially willing to bite the bullet and vet Chelsey Davy as Harry’s potential bride shortly after the Cambridge wedding. They soon changed their minds, and instead decided to run Chelsey off once and for all. The author would like to now go into some detail concerning Miss Davy and her five year relationship with Prince Harry, for their courtship, and the manner in which Chelsey was treated by the court, factor heavily into Harry’s subsequent relationship with Miss Bonas.
Despite being a sartorially challenged young woman who likes to have a good time, and subsequently didn’t always look her best in public, Chelsey Davy was never the brain dead, boozy, drug addicted party girl she was often portrayed as being by the tabloid press. In fact there are many who believe that the palace deliberately utilized its press contacts to destroy Miss Davy’s reputation once the courtiers collectively decided that she could never join the Royal Family.
Aside from being an honors graduate from Leeds University, where she doubled majored, Miss Davy subsequently graduated from law school and is now a practicing attorney. If a young woman capable of achieving this seems the polar opposite of an overgrown girl who supposedly asked her friends once if Wooly Mammoths still existed, as the tabloids once reported that Chelsey had, that’s largely because she is. Once palace courtiers realized her relationship with Prince Harry might turn into a marriage, they marshaled all their public relations expertise to tarnish her reputation as much as humanly possible. Their rational was simple: they were afraid of her.
Chelsea Davy, as an intelligent, ambitious, well educated, privately wealthy career woman, represents the polar opposite of the type of marriage partner most of the men and now some women, but still predominantly men, in gray at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House would consider acceptable for a senior ranking member of the House of Windsor. She’s far too independent! Ever since George V decreed that the children of a British monarch could marry spouses other than their royal cousins on the continent, the general psychological criteria for a young woman marrying a senior ranking British royal prince has remained the same, i.e. a well bred somewhat virgin whose not very bright, not exceptionally educated, weak, pliable, eager to please, and above all else easily controlled. From Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to Lady Diana Spencer to Kate Middleton, the basic prototype has remained the same, and Chelsey Davy’s academic credentials alone precluded her from fitting the mold. Even a well known whore like Sarah Ferguson managed to pass muster because she conformed to most of the royal spouse qualifications. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, of course, proved in time to be virtually anything but the woman she pretended to be when Prince Charles courted her, but no one realized that until after he’d married her.
None of this is to suggest that Harry and Chelsey didn’t have their share of personal problems, but even Harry’s lack of maturity, unfaithfulness and Chelsey’s occasional temper outbursts weren’t enough to keep them apart for long when they periodically broke up. It was pressure from the palace that ultimately ended this relationship.
Once Miss Davy was safely out of the picture, Prince Harry was shortly thereafter introduced by his cousin, Princess Eugenie of York, to the eminently more suitable, half aristocratic Cressida Bonas, and a palace endorsed romance began. Despite Cressida being the daughter of a family of serial high society divorcees, her mother alone boasts four ex husbands, she possesses several compensating factors. First of all, there’s her aristocratic background. She’s a maternal granddaughter of the late Earl Howe and a distant cousin of the Duke of Marlborough. Her family has traveled in court circles for generations, and the very fact that she was already friends with both the York princesses indicates that Cressida is comfortable in the presence of royals. She’s also a pretty girl whose down to earth, likes to party but not to excess, and has already exerted a positive influence over her prince, i.e. she got him to quit smoking. There’s only one hitch to this latest royal fairytale: it’s rumored that from day one Miss Bonas has been more in love with her boyfriend’s position than she’s been in love with him personally. Even one of her friends spoke off the record to the Daily Mail at the beginning of her royal courtship and indicated that she was still secretly seeing her ex boyfriend, the step son of the Marquis of Milford Haven, behind Harry’s back.
Furthermore, Miss Bonas is a classically trained, and apparently talented, dancer who genuinely desires to pursue a career in her field of interest. A royal marriage would kill such a career in its tracks.
Many an eligible young woman, like Cressida, has found themselves attracted to the glamour of royalty only to become repulsed and walk away once they realized the responsibilities that membership in the House of Windsor entailed. Unfortunately for Prince Harry, that does not seem to be his would be fiancé’s only reason for delaying their marriage.
Contrary to his public image, which is largely the result of palace image makers, Harry’s not considered much of a catch by London debutante standards. Not only are most royals cash poor and have no privacy either behind close doors or in public, their lives are consumed with the sort of ribbon cutting, tree planting, factory touring activities that make watching paint dry seem exciting by comparison. As the future king’s second son who is increasingly unlikely to inherit the throne, His Royal Highness’ importance within the royal scheme of things is only destined to decrease as he gets older. Like Princess Margaret and the present Duke of York before him, Prince Harry is destined for obscurity. The fact that he was recently forced to resign his position as a Royal Army fighter pilot in exchange for a desk job in London where he’ll oversee royal ceremonial events is but the latest indication of the boredom that awaits His Royal Highness in the future. On top of that, its long been rumored that Prince Harry’s personality leaves much to be desired.
Despite being a genuinely unstuffy young man whose fun to be around, he’s considered child like, unstable, prone to alcoholism, far less attractive in person than he is on camera, and in desperate need of a woman who can mother him in a manner that the late Diana, Princess of Wales never did. He’s also got a bad reputation for being unable to keep his royal baby maker in his pants. Its no exaggeration to state that one of the reasons why the palace is clinging ever more tenaciously to Miss Bonas is because fewer and fewer eligible, acceptable young women are willing to marry the Prince of Wales’ younger son.
But what, one might wonder, does Prince Harry think of all this? He appears to be genuinely in love with Cressida, and despite her obvious reticence towards marrying him, he’s said to be clinging as desperately to her as his family’s retainers are. Prince Harry, despite his bad boy image, is pretty pliable when it comes to following his father’s, and his father’s courtiers, orders. He may complain loudly, and in public, when he’s forced to do things he doesn’t want to do, but Harry’s got enough common sense to realize that what little he’s managed to achieve in his life is the result of respect for his title, and the behind the scenes string pulling of his family’s retainers. From being rescued from getting expelled from Eton, a preparatory school he wasn’t academically qualified for in the first place, to being continuously promoted through his military career, despite constant grumblings that he lacked the aptitude to be a fighter pilot and once likened flying a plane in an interview to playing a video game, His Royal Highness has come to rely on the royal courtiers, despite occasionally resenting them. If its been made clear to him that a certain girl is favored by his family to become his wife, and he also happens to be quite smitten with her personally, its doubtful he won’t go with the flow.
This doesn’t mean, however, that Chelsey Davy is completely out of the picture. Its rumored that this past Christmas was a particularly difficult time for Harry and Cressida owing to her fury once she discovered that the real reason why her boyfriend spent a week in South Africa after having hiked through Antarctica was so he could spend some time with his ex girlfriend, whose father resides in neighboring Zimbabwe. Cressida soon forgave Harry, but this doesn’t bode well for things to come.
There is one more factor to consider in the Harry and Cressida potential marriage, and that factor is His Royal Highness’ increasingly high strung, rumored on again, off again anorexic sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge. The author finds the press reports that Kate has taken Cressida under her wing very hard to believe. Not only is Miss Bonas friends with the York Princesses, who appear to be less than fond of their cousin-in-law, but Cressida also possesses a degree of separation from the Cambridge marriage that Kate, the author is sure, doesn’t want to be reminded of. Cressida’s older half sister is Isabella Branson, née Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, and in 2007 Prince William left Kate Middleton for her. Although he’s rumored to have cheated on Kate with several women before, Will fell so madly in love with Isabella that he not only dumped Kate, but apparently asked Isabella to marry him. This aristocratic femme fatale, however, had long set her sights on wedding her on again/off again beau, billionaire sion Sam Branson, and laughed off William’s affections. William went back to an all too forgiving Kate, and the rest is recent history.
The author sincerely hopes he hasn’t bored his online community with this over long post. Regardless of what one chooses to believe, royal romances are always more complicated than they seem, and Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’ is certainly no exception. As of right now, the odds are still in favor of them getting married, but certain compromises will have to be made before Cressida’s willing to plight her troth with Harry. Perhaps she might wind up being the first British royal-in-law to pursue a successful performance career after her marriage. She could also wind up being another name to add to the growing list of British royal divorcees. That is, of course, presuming she makes it to the altar at Westminster Abby in the first place.