Prince Harry had an on-off romance with Burberry muse and model Cressida Bonas for two years. The couple met through Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie but called it quits when Cressida allegedly struggled with the thought of life as a royal bride.
According to a new book, the then-25-year-old also battled with the Prince’s stubborn personality, with a few of blow-outs eventually resulting in the romance’s demise. Tina Brown, the author of The Palace Papers, recounted the two events, one on Valentine’s Day and the other over the holiday season.
In her book, she wrote: “A family friend told me she knew the relationship wouldn’t last when there was a blow-up on Valentine’s Day. En route to the restaurant, they were driving down Kensington High Street when Harry got word that there was a photographer lying in wait. He slammed on the brakes, did a spin turn in the middle of the street, and gunned it back to Nott Cott for Valentine’s night of pizza.”
The author added: “At Christmas, more unnecessary drama.” They were staying in the country with Cressida’s half-sister and other family members. They chose a small local pub in Kidlington, just outside Oxford, for lunch and were able to secure a table near the back.
A person who saw the couple told Ms. Brown: “Suddenly as they were leaving, this quite elderly, sweet-looking gentleman came out and said: ‘Oh, sir, so sorry, I know it’s Christmastime, but could I just take a photograph to give to my wife who isn’t well?’
“And so Cressida opened her mouth and said: ‘Oh, of course.’ And Harry said: ‘Get out of my way’ and went bright red in the face and stormed off in a huff.” Ms. Brown said: “Incidents such as this gave Cressida serious qualms about sharing her life with Harry.”
The model was apparently already scared of life as a member of the Royal Family at this time. Cressida was a budding actress at the time, and she was anxious about the consequences of marrying Harry.
Then, in April 2014, photos of William and Kate “conquering crowds” on their tour of Australia and New Zealand with their then-eight-month-old baby Prince George apparently scared the royal girlfriend. “She found it unimaginable to drag a future baby of her own off on a hectic royal tour,” wrote Ms. Brown, “especially with Harry’s explosive temperament.”
At the time of their split, a friend said: “It’s very sad that they have decided to split but this is a completely amicable separation and they are remaining the very best of friends.” According to The Palace Papers, Cressida was the first to advise Harry to see a mental health professional.
“His outbursts were ever more frequent and childlike,” Ms. Brown writes. “He took up boxing because, as he later said, he was always ‘on the verge of punching somebody’. Cressida began to have serious worries about his mental health. It is not widely known that it was she who first persuaded Harry to see a therapist.” One anonymous family friend told the author that Cressida “got him to accept he had problems, and see a psychoanalyst”.
The pair stayed friends, with Cressida even in attendance at Harry’s 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle. “Last weekend I attended the royal wedding,” she wrote in a diary entry for the Spectator about the day. “The invitation clearly stated that guests must wear hats. Yikes. I opted for a minimal feathered number — and can only hope I got it right.”
Cressida married another Harry, Harry Wentworth-Stanley, two years later, although her royal ex was not present, presumably due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “I had a lockdown wedding,” Cressida wrote in the Spectator. “A 30-person, socially-distanced, sanitized church service was organized in under two weeks. Restrictions meant no hymns, no wind instruments, and no speaking too loudly.
“A disappointment for a musical family. Not what we’d envisaged, but a more intimate and special day than we could ever have imagined. Imperfect yet perfect — a day we will never forget.” She and her husband had a baby boy last month, and she just revealed her two-year struggle to conceive before turning to IVF.