Harry The People's Prince
Harry The People's Prince
' These Windsors don't make great husbands'
Captain Harry Wales, formally styled His Royal Highness the Prince Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor, knows as well as any of his royal namesakes that the course of true love never did run smooth. At the very moment he might have expected his relationship with Cressida Bonas to move perceptibly closer to being solemnised at Westminster Abbey she slipped through his fingers - for the time being, at least.
By long-standing tradition love and marriage have been notoriously difficult for members of the Royal Family despite the exemplary union of the Queen and Prince Philip. That Harry struggled to come to terms with Cressida's independence and her reluctance to sacrifice her hard-won career was evident from the start. Add to that the media frenzy that engulfed the couple from the moment they appeared in public and the path to matrimony headed steeply uphill until the North Face of the Eiger might have seemed easier to climb.
Cressida was just five when her parents Jeffrey and the Hon. Mary-Gaye Bonas (née Curzon) divorced. Her mother took her and her siblings to live at the grand Hampshire home of Christopher Shaw, a merchant banker, whom she married in 1996. This was the very year the divorce between Harry's mother and father, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was being finalised.
Both Harry and Cressida are from broken homes, a member of her family told this author.
As children, both were profoundly hurt by the conduct of their parents. Both are determined not to visit such suffering on children of their own. Hence we see the extreme manner in which they are, or were, as it now appears allowing their relationship to develop.
So what went wrong? Harry was still running the tape through his head as the big metal Music Gates swung open. His limousine motored up the curved driveway to the two stone lions guarding the portico of one of the most famous homes in the world: Elvis Presley's 'Graceland'. Compared with any of the Royal Family's piles, the two-storey colonial-style mansion, set among towering oaks in fourteen acres of rolling countryside at Whitehaven on the outskirts of Memphis, was a modest enough residence. But it had a history that was oddly appropriate to Prince Harry's situation. When I first met Elvis in 1965 he was with his very own princess, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and she was even wearing a tiara! Following their breakup in 1972, 'Graceland' became a monument to his lost love (and a prison in which he drugged himself to an early death).
Harry took in the gaudy grandeur of the main rooms and would have noted among the glittering rock regalia a photograph of young Elvis proudly posing in his military uniform. For like Harry, the Army had been the making of Elvis. He had been called up as a conscript in 1958 and had spent two years in Germany with the United States Third Armoured Division. Army life had shown him the outside world, given him discipline and self-confidence, and turned him into a solid American patriot. But it's a fair bet that as he paused to pay his respect at Elvis's graveside, Prince Harry's thoughts were not on the King of Rock 'n Roll at all, but on a slim girl far away.
The summer of 2014 was a testing time for Harry. As he approached his 30th birthday on September 15, he faced a dilemma: what should he do with the next thirty years? Already regarded by many as the most popular member of the Royal Family. He is a national hero both on and off the battlefield, a credit to his late mother and a tower of strength to his grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen. Yet, Harry was in great need of a new challenge.
Just a few months earlier, having given up the job he had proved to be so good at, flying military