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Why Buckingham Palace was 'doubly nervous' about Prince Harry missing Prince William's wedding

Prince Harry left the country weeks before the 2011 royal wedding

prince harry william wedding© Photo: Getty Images
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
March 14, 2023
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Photos of Prince Harry supporting his elder brother Prince William at his 2011 royal wedding with Princess Kate are iconic, but there were fears behind the scenes that the Duke of Sussex may not make it to the huge royal event at all.

In his book Spare, which hit the shelves in January, Harry made several candid confessions about his life, from the debate over his father's wedding with Queen Consort Camilla to his "todger" getting frostnip. Actually, it was the latter that was linked to his feared absence. See his real thoughts about William and Kate's wedding in the video below...

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He explains that he was given the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to trek to the North Pole with a group of wounded soldiers to raise money for Walking With The Wounded. However, the trip fell "dangerously close" to William's big day on 29 April, which made Buckingham Palace "doubly nervous."

Speaking of being invited, Harry said: "I wanted to say yes. I was dying to say yes. Just one problem. The trek was in early April, dangerously close to Willy’s announced wedding date. I’d have to get there and back with no hitches, or risk missing the ceremony.

harry north pole© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry visited the North Pole shortly before the royal wedding in April 2011

"But the North Pole wasn’t a place you could ever be sure of getting to and from without hitches. The North Pole was a place of infinite hitches. There were always variables, usually related to weather. So I was nervous at the prospect, and the Palace was doubly nervous."

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And their nerves were not unfounded, according to the Duke of Sussex. "The weather was so bad we were delayed in setting off. Ugh, Willy’s wedding, I thought, my face in my hands," he wrote, before adding they left on day four before they had reached the North Pole.

harry william wedding 2011

The Duke of Sussex was pictured alongside his brother Prince William at Westminster Abbey

"It was leave now or miss my brother’s wedding. I got onto a helicopter, bound for Barneo Airfield, from which my plane was to take off," he added.

Of course, we know now that the outcome was successful – Harry even discussed his frost-nipped ears and cheeks when regaling tales of his travels with his father King Charles and his brother William the night before the wedding.

He was later pictured in a black military uniform alongside his brother, dressed in his red Irish Guards uniform, despite the fact that he admitted he wasn't William's best man.

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