How 'I Wanna Marry Harry' Tricked The Girls "Dating" "Prince Harry"

How far would you go for a chance at winning over a royal hottie? Some women went as far as to go on a reality show... or, at least, they thought they did. The premiere of Fox's latest reality scheme — err, show — I Wanna Marry Harry airs Tuesday at 8 PM and it proves that sometimes the best reality shows are the ones when only half the party is in on the joke. For those of you who haven't heard about the royal-centric reality show, here's the gist: Fox producers told 12 American women that they were competing on a Bachelor-esque reality show for Prince Harry's heart. Spoiler: That was a lie — these ladies never had a shot with the royal. So how did Fox trick these women into thinking they could marry Harry? Here's the evil-but-brilliant way they did it.

The producers at Fox honed in on one thing that they already knew to be true: reality show contestants will believe basically anything you tell them. Fox actually has previous experience with lying to ladies on a dating show — the concept is in the vein of Fox's Joe Millionaire, a show that convinced women that they were competing for the affection of a very wealthy guy. On Joe Millionaire, the women didn't have a clear idea as to who their "millionaire" was — they basically bought everything that the "Joe" was selling. And why not? The producers did everything possible to protect the illusion that Joe was a wealthy guy (clothes, big house, the works) all so that the girl whom the faux-millionaire chose would either reveal herself as a gold-digger or a girl with a heart of gold. (Huh. When it's put that way, that show sounds pretty awful.)

Though both concepts involve lying to women, the major difference between Joe Millionaire and I Wanna Marry Harry — and the reason why it's so bizarre that the latter ever worked — is that Prince Harry is already a celebrity. A quick Google search would reveal the real Prince Harry, in all of his red-headed glory. So how did Fox trick women into competing for his affection? Simple: they hired an uncanny lookalike to "play the part" of Harry for the duration of the reality show.

Here's a photo of the real Prince Harry...

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

And here's the imposter, Matthew Hicks.

Pretty close, right? Sure, they're no Mary Kate and Ashley, but these two red heads definitely could pass for cousins. Perhaps part of the reason that this show worked so well on American women is that we aren't necessarily saturated with images of Prince Harry in the same way that we are of, say, Kim Kardashian. (Oh, please, please BBC, make your own version of this concept with Kim Kardashian!) In addition to his physical appearance, Hicks also learned how to do typical Harry things, like horseback riding and playing polo. I guess that's what you call the royal treatment.

But the lookalike's obvious resemblance to the Prince isn't the only way that Fox pulled one over on the ladies. Fox put up the women in a sprawling English estate and even had the girls do some very stereotypical "royal" things, like attend a masquerade ball with the faux-Prince. (Because apparently, this is now Cinderella.)

Another way that Fox was able to trick the women? It's all in the timing. Since the show only lasts six weeks — and the women don't spend all of it with Hicks — there isn't much chance that they'll grow suspicious of their "Prince Charming."

So is I Wanna Marry Harry a mean trick or just a really, really clever one? Personally, I think it's the latter — how many people actually find love on a reality show, anyway? It might be dishonest, but I, for one, hope that the women have a good sense of humor about the whole charade. Come on — it's pretty funny!

I Wanna Marry Harry premieres Tuesday at 8 PM on Fox.

Images: Fox