16 JUNE 2003
With just days to go before his 21st birthday bash next Saturday, Prince William has hit the headlines once again after reports emerged that he had a "pretend engagement" with a young woman from Kenya, where he spent part of his gap year.
The Prince struck up a friendship with Jessica Craig – the daughter of Wilderness Trails director Ian Craig, who helped organise William's Africa trip – in May, 2001, and has since returned to visit on three occasions. Jessica is currently staying at Highgrove in the run-up to Wills's birthday party, whose theme is "Out Of Africa".
St James's Palace official denies that "there is or ever has been any romantic liaison" between the two. The young brunette is said to already have a boyfriend.
On a less romantic note, Prince Charles apologised on Sunday after his elder son was involved in an argument with an angry motorist as he left a polo game to return to Highgrove.
Prince William, driving a VW Golf, overtook a car driven by the owner of the Cirencester Polo Club, Lord Bathurst, on a dirt road crossing the aristocrat's property. The 76-year-old, who was once a Lord-In-Waiting to the Queen, says he mistook William for "some young yob in a beat-up car", and gave chase until he was stopped and put right by royal bodyguards.
Lord Bathurst, who says Wills was driving at nearly double the 20mph speed limit at the time, said Prince Charles had apologised, but insisted that even Princes have to be courteous motorists. "I don't care who it is – royalty or not – speeding is not allowed on my estate."