If you think he’s a womaniser now, wait till he gets married
Prince Harry failed centuries of royal tradition last week. Badly.
Take the tale of another British prince who was also rather fond of the ladies. Too fond of the ladies. He chased them after lunch and after dinner. Well, he waddled after them, anyway.His list of dalliances reads like a who’s who of socialites and actresses. He did much for French-Anglo relations, some of it while plonked on a siege damour, or a love seat, from where he would ravish one or more prostitutes at a time.
To glimpse the chair now is to vomit in your mouth.
This prince wasn’t very good at school. He was sent off to the army. At army camp, fellow officers arranged for an actress to visit to ease the tedium of his stay. He reportedly diarised Nellie Clifden’s encounters like this:
September 6, NC first time. September 9, NC second time. September 10, NC third time.
The prince was the despair of his guardians. He drifted, hedonistic of nature and devoid of zeal, except for picking up women, although he did develop a knack for the public duties. He mastered tree planting ceremonies and overseas goodwill visits.
His name was Bertie, later to be King Edward VII. His nickname was Tum Tum, mainly because he was built like a beachball. His approach to fidelity took cues going back to Henry the VIII, and it’s fair to say this tendency has run in the family since.
Bertie’s history is worth recounting for several reasons. While he ate and copulated his way through the veils of boredom, the empire did not crumble - well, actually it did, but not because he slept with the wrong women and apparently slept with a cold chicken next to the bed (in case he got peckish).
By Bertie’s time, as with now, the behaviour of royalty didn’t matter much - not really.
Much has been made of Prince Harry’s nudie photos last week. Yet if royal antics count, why didn’t anyone squawk on the release of Prince Charles book, Harmony, in 2010?
Prince Harry’s behaviour suggests he’s rather normal. His father’s book release suggests that the next king is, well, odd. In a Guardian review, Prince Charles’s view was described as weird, wonky, bizarre and amateurish. In the book’s photos, he looked like an impeccably tailored Forrest Gump.
It goes to the closeted nature of British aristocracy that one of old Bertie’s alleged conquests was Winston Churchill’s mum. Another was Camilla Parker Bowles’s great grandmother, Alice Keppel. Both women were married at the time.
Prince Harry, by comparison, isn’t being accused of cuckolding or cheating on anyone. He isn’t cheating on anyone. The poor kid has no one to scandalise.
True, he might offer to do the dishes next time he dines with the folks. Yet the photos won’t jag broader perceptions of his nature.
Frankly, Prince Harry is letting the family down. In the pursuit of royal convention, he must get married. Fast.
Only then can he chase women with a clear conscience, in the knowledge that he’s honouring timeless customs upheld by his great, great, great-grandad.
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