One of the people with the best insight into the pressures of Prince Harry’s life is Chelsy Davy, who had a “turbulent” on-again, off-again relationship with the young prince for seven years.
The Zimbabwean-born beauty describes the experience of dating a royal as “tough,” confessing that she found the pressure of such a high-profile relationship “crazy scary and uncomfortable”.
The pair broke up in 2011, with Chelsy citing the endless media attention as a major factor in her decision to continue the relationship: “I found it very difficult,” she revealed a few years later. “I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.”
Chelsy describes how being photographed everywhere she went made it impossible to live a normal life: “I like to enjoy life, but I like to achieve things and am very ambitious," she said.
“They can be forgiven for not knowing I was working really hard, I didn't shout about it.
“If you go out once, they take a picture, but they don’t take a picture of you going to work every morning, it’s [photos] of you falling out of a nightclub at 4am.”
Harry knew how much the press were affecting his then-girlfriend.
“I can see how upset she get," he said in an interview for his 21st birthday.
“My girlfriend is somebody who’s very special to me, and yes, she’s gone through some very hard times.”
The couple’s relationship was the source of endless speculation from the media and royal fans, and in his Apple TV+ series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey entitled The Me You Can’t See, Harry opens up about the constant stress of being quizzed about his personal life when conducting royal duties.
Chelsy is still friends with Prince Harry and attended his wedding to Meghan Markle.
But it’s an an earlier royal wedding that she realised she had made the right decision to break things off with Harry.
When she attended Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, she knew that she could never have endured the pressure of becoming a princess.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl wrote in her 2018 biography of the Duke of Sussex, Harry: Life, Loss and Love, that the wedding “made Chelsy’s mind up once and for all”.
She added: “The life of a royal bride was not for her and she told Harry she could never make the sacrifices Kate had made.”
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