Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Prince Harry reveals real thoughts on Chelsy Davy 'in-laws' in rare confession

The Duke of Sussex dated the jewellery designer for six years

Prince Harry in his military uniform and girlfriend Chelsy Davy dressed in white
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Share this:

Before marrying Meghan Markle and developing a close bond with his mother-in-law Doria Ragland, Prince Harry formed a close relationship with his ex Chelsy Davy's family. The Duke of Sussex, 39, dated the Aya jewellery designer, 38, for seven years, during which time he was invited to Cape Town in South Africa to meet her parents. While this can be a daunting relationship milestone for any couple – not to mention if royalty is involved – Harry had nothing but fond memories of their meeting, admitting they were "impossible not to like."

Prince Harry kissing Chelsy Davy© getty
Prince Harry discussed meeting Chelsy's family for the first time in Cape Town

He explained in his book Spare: "[I] liked them instantly. They were impossible not to like. They enjoyed funny stories, gin and tonics, good food, stalking. Her father was bear-sized, broad-shouldered, cuddly, but also a definite alpha. Her mother was petite, an amazing listener, and a frequent bestower of epic hugs." The Duke went on to comment on his future with Chelsy, even going as far as thinking about what his life would be like if her family were his "in-laws." He continued: "I didn’t know what the future held, I didn’t want to put any carts before any horses, but I thought: If you designed in-laws from the ground up, you couldn’t do much better than these guys."

WATCH: Look back at Prince Harry's dating life before meeting wife Meghan Markle

However, one crucial hurdle in their relationship was the press intrusion, which Chelsy later admitted she struggled with. "I advised Chelsy to treat it like a chronic illness, something to be managed. But she wasn’t sure she wanted to have a chronic illness," he wrote regarding their early relationship, adding: "You get used to it, I lied. Thereafter, I put the chances at fifty-fifty, maybe sixty-forty, I’d ever see Chels again. Odds were, the press would cost me another person I cared about." 

They continued dating for six years, with Harry gushing that Chelsy was down-to-earth and unapologetically herself – something that set her apart from the crowds. "She wasn't visibly fitting herself for a crown the moment she shook my hand," he said.

However, that ultimately came to worry him when he considered the long-term ramifications, as he didn't want her to have to change to conform to royal standards. When asked if he saw himself marrying Chelsy, he replied: "She wore short skirts and high boots, danced with abandon, drank as much tequila as I did, and I cherished all those things about her… but I couldn't help worrying how Granny might feel about them. Or the British public. And the last thing I wanted was for Chels to change to accommodate them."

Chelsy Davy in a white dress and Prince Harry in uniform© Getty
The Duke of Sussex revealed the press intrusion and his time away from home in the army contributed to their split

In 2011, it all came to a head with Chelsy wanting more privacy and Harry spending so much time away from the UK after joining the army. According to Harry, they had "no choice" but to call it quits. "We had all the same problems, nothing had been solved. Also, Chels wanted to travel, have fun and be young, but I was once again on a path to war. I'd soon be shipping off. If we stayed together, we'd be lucky to see each other a handful of times over the next two years, and that was no kind of relationship... Goodbye Chels." 

Chelsy Davy attended the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle in 2018 © Getty
The former couple remained friends and Chelsy attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in 2018

Even before marrying Meghan Markle in 2018 – an event that Chelsy attended – Prince Harry has made his bond with his now-mother-in-law Doria no secret. He sweetly described her as "amazing" during their engagement interview in 2017! On the subject of their early relationship, she said: "I'm sure the onset, both my parents and my close friends were concerned, because we got very quickly swept up in a media storm that, as I shared, was not part of my life before that, but they also had never seen me so happy," she said of the start of their relationship. 

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Doria Ragland at the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power© Getty
Harry has gushed about his "amazing" mother-in-law Doria

"And I think also once my friends - excuse me, were able to - to really meet Harry, and my mum, who we've spent a lot of time with, who is so much fun." Prince Harry interjected: "Her mum's amazing."

MORE: Prince Harry's closest family members as revealed in Spare

More Weddings

See more