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The real reason Prince Harry split from childhood sweetheart Chelsy Davy

The former couple broke up in 2011…

Prince Harry holding hands with Chelsy Davy© Getty
June 9, 2023
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Prince Harry made headlines this week after his allegations that press intrusion caused the breakdown of his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, whom he dated for seven years. But there was also another reason the Duke parted ways with his childhood sweetheart. 

In his bombshell novel Spare, which shocked royal watchers when it was published pre-emptively in January, he revealed that he was worried his grandmother wouldn't approve of his love match. 

In the novel, Harry recalled a conversation with his friend Teej, who asked him whether he could see himself married to his then-girlfriend Chelsy. 

Prince Harry kissing Chelsy Davy© getty
Prince Harry kissing Chelsy Davy at the polo

He wrote: "Teej asked point-blank if I could see myself married to Chels[...] 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." 

The Duke had a very special connection with his former flame, writing: "Unlike so many people I knew, she seemed wholly unconcerned with appearances, with propriety, with royalty. Unlike so many girls I met, she wasn't visibly fitting herself for a crown the moment she shook my hand. She seemed immune to that common affliction sometimes called throne syndrome."

Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry and Prince William attend Concert for Diana in 2007© Getty Images
Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry and Prince William attend Concert for Diana in 2007

But according to the Duke, it wasn't just his worries about his late grandmother that caused the relationship to suffer as Chelsy struggled with media intrusion from early on, including walking to and from her lectures at Leeds University. 

Harry penned: "Chels told me that paps had been following her to and from lectures—she asked me to do something about it. I told her I'd try. I told her how sorry I was. When she was back in Cape Town she phoned me and said people were tailing her everywhere and it was driving her crazy. She couldn't imagine how they always knew where she was and where she'd be. She was freaking out." 

Harry and Chelsy watching a rugby match© Getty
Harry and Chelsy split in 2011

These were the sentiments echoed when Harry gave evidence this week. Talking about how he initially prepared Chelsy to cope with the media, he wrote: "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. I told her I understood. Perfectly valid feeling. But this was my life, and if she wanted to share any part of it, she'd have to share this too. You get used to it, I lied." 

He added: "Odds were, the press would cost me another person I cared about."

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