LONDON (AP) — When it comes to romance, it’s third time’s a charm for Prince Harry, who has long been one of Britain’s most eligible and wealthiest single men.
The rugged, red-bearded prince, who is now engaged to actress Meghan Markle following an announcement Monday, has had two serious girlfriends in his life, although both seemed uncomfortable with the non-stop press interest in Britain’s senior royals.
The first was Chelsy Davy, who hails from Zimbabwe and who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Harry from 2004 until 2011. They were photographed together many times — to the delight of Britain’s tabloids — and shared a passion for African culture and wildlife.
Davy, who studied law and has launched a line of luxury jewelry, has for the most part retreated from the public eye since the couple broke up — despite rumors of a rekindled romance in 2015. In an interview with The Times newspaper last year she complained about the stress caused by the constant media attention. She and Harry remain on good terms.
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“It was so full-on — crazy and scary and uncomfortable,” she said. “I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope … I was trying to be a normal kid, and it was horrible.”
Harry’s next serious romance was with Cressida Bonas, an up-and-coming actress whom he dated from 2012 until 2014.
When they embraced in public, some took it as a signal that an engagement was near. But their relationship also foundered under the gaze of the constant press and public attention.
Bonas felt she couldn’t walk down the street without constantly being judged and subjected to unwanted photos by strangers with smartphones, according to Majesty magazine editor Ingrid Seward, a friend of Bonas’ parents.
“She just said it was awful because every time she walked down the street she could hear people criticizing her,” Seward told a literary festival last year.
Bonas told The Daily Telegraph in August that it was “incredibly frustrating” to be defined in public solely by her relationship with Harry.
Markle represents a departure for Harry in that she is older than him — and she has already established herself in her chosen field, playing a prominent role in the TV series “Suits.”
Being in the spotlight may help her in dealing with the media and public. And Harry has made it clear that he will do anything needed to protect Markle from unwanted attention.
Their relationships with Harry may not have lasted, but Davy and Bonas seem to have hit it off — they were photographed laughing together and touching hands at a garden party in 2016.