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Inside Prince Harry's secret stag do: Tennis courts, fireworks & more

The Duke of Sussex's stag do antics also included boxing and a shooting range

Prince Harry raising a glass in a suit
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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The Duke of Sussex shed light on how he partied at a Hampshire country home before his wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018.

Joined by his big brother Prince William and his close friends, Harry secretly enjoyed a wholesome stag weekend in the countryside filled with sports, fireworks and lots of drinks. He explained in his book Spare: "I showed up to my stag ready to party."

Meghan Markle wears Clare Waight Keller to marry Prince Harry in 2018© WPA Pool
The couple both enjoyed secret hen and stag parties before their big day in 2018

Shutting down reports that he jetted abroad for a lavish stag do, he continued: "The stag was at a friend’s house in the Hampshire countryside. Not on the south coast, or in Canada, or in Africa, all of which were reported as its location."

So what exactly happened behind closed doors at Prince Harry's stag do? "The host kitted out his indoor tennis court with various boy toys: Giant boxing gloves. Bows and arrows, à la Lord of the Rings. A mechanical bull.

Prince Harry and Prince William watch flypast© getty
The Duke of Sussex celebrated his stag do with Prince William in Hampshire

"We painted our faces and rough-housed like idiots. Great fun. After an hour or two I was tired, and relieved when someone shouted that lunch was ready. We had a big picnic in a large, airy barn, then trooped off to a makeshift shooting range.

"Arming that drunken lot to the teeth – dangerous idea. But somehow no one was hurt.

"When everyone was bored of firing rifles, they dressed me as a giant yellow feathered chicken and sent me downrange to shoot fireworks at me. All right, I offered to do it. Whoever comes closest wins!"

Harry also admitted that amongst the festivities, he was careful not to let his guard down after William had threatened to shave his beard in his sleep. He claimed that William was "bristling" as he had been forced to be clean-shaven when he married Princess Kate in 2011 while the late Queen Elizabeth II had made exceptions for his younger brother.

Harry and Meghan kiss on wedding day© Getty
Harry was permitted to keep his facial hair on his wedding day

"At one point he actually ordered me, as the heir speaking to the spare, to shave," Harry wrote.

However, his facial hair had a special significance to him, aside from the aesthetics. "A beard was thought by some to be a clear violation of protocol and long-standing norms, especially since I was getting married in my Army uniform. Beards were forbidden in the British Army.

"But I was no longer in the Army and I desperately wanted to hang on to something that had become an effective check on my anxiety," the Duke explained.

WATCH: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share unseen wedding photos for Netflix docuseries

"Also, my wife-to-be had never seen me without it. She loved my beard, she loved to grab it and pull me in for a kiss. I didn’t want her coming down the aisle and seeing a total stranger," he continued.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex exchanged vows at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in May 2018, with King Charles walking Meghan part-way down the aisle in the absence of her father Thomas Markle. In the weeks before, Meghan had similarly chosen a low-key hen party at Soho Farmhouse which boasts a spa, two swimming pools, a lake, and a cinema.

DISCOVER: 10 rebellious royal hen and stag dos: Princess Kate's bodysuit, Sarah Ferguson's police scare and more

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