Kingsley on 'I Wanna Marry Harry' Is Not Really a Butler & He Has a Leg Up On Russell Crowe
Say hello to reality TV's latest breakout star: Kingsley, the no-nonsense butler who helps Matt Hicks keep it all together as the faux prince on I Wanna Marry "Harry . " As butler of the spacious English estate, Kingsley basically runs the show. He prepared Hicks for his princely impersonation by quizzing him on all things Prince Harry, introduced the impersonator to his new digs, and kept the contestants on a strict schedule for all of their tea-sipping and primping. And that was just during last Tuesday's premiere episode.
Not only does Kingsley keep the estate in running order, he's also kind of like Hicks' wingman during this journey to happily ever after, telling him when it's time to decide which lady gets upgraded to the Crown Suite and which gets to have her fairy tale come to an end. Is it weird that we secretly hope Hicks vents his lady troubles to the butler at the end of the day? The ladies heart Kingsley, too, like when Chelsea gave a joyful "Hi, Kingsley!" as he entered to inform them about the Masquerade Ball taking place later that night. Kingsley is just so spot-on at his job, it seems almost too good to be true. Well... that's probably because it is.
If you were hoping that maybe, just maybe, Kingsley the butler was one aspect of this ultimate televised ruse that could be true, it's probably best you stop reading now so you can maintain a bit of innocence. Kingsley is about as real as Hicks' royal status. Kingsley is just another character portrayed by Paul Leonard, a British actor who has been in the business for decades.
Leonard got his start in theater, performing in pretty much every type of genre through the years, from comedies to dramas to musicals. Some of his most memorable roles include Javert in Les Miserables in the West End (we'd venture to say he likely out-performed Russell Crowe), Sir Richard Ratcliffe in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard III, and Amos Hart in Chicago. It looks like there will be a talent show of sorts on I Wanna Marry "Harry" later this season, so if some of the ladies fall flat, Leonard could definitely wow us with a monologue or tune if we're in need of a pick-me-up.
In case you're wondering how Leonard made the leap from a prestigious stage career to starring in a FOX reality show, he had some TV and movie roles in between to help get him there. In recent years, he's appeared on British TV, such as the long-running soap Coronation Street, Sherlock, Mr. Selfridge, and the Anglo-American comedy Episodes. He's also appeared on the big screen in films as varied as the action thriller Ninja Assassin, the Colin Firth-led Gambit, and a return to Les Miserables as a citizen in the musical's recent film adaptation.
Though Leonard has had a long and diverse career, whether he likes it or not, we predict Kingsley will become his most memorable role. And why shouldn't it be? Convincing the contestants not only that he is a real-live butler but also that Hicks is Prince Harry is the acting challenge of a lifetime. Break a leg, Leonard.
Images: FOX (2); Tumblr/ryanseacrest