It’s an unfortunate fact of life that being in love with somebody doesn't guarantee the relationship will work, and someone who knows it better than most is Prince Harry's ex Chelsy Davy. The realisation that royal life wasn't for her reportedly came during what was a happy occasion for Harry's family and the rest of the country: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage. When she attended the 2011 royal wedding as Harry's plus one, seeing her possible future laid out before and the media circus around the event is said to have closed the door on their romance for good.
According to The Mirror, a source close to the family details her epiphany in the upcoming royal biography Harry: Conversations with the Prince. Journalist Angela Levin, the author of the book, reportedly claims, “A friend revealed that seeing the enormity and pomp of the day convinced Chelsy that she and Harry had been right to separate. Although they had a lot in common, she saw clearly that because they came from such different worlds it could never have worked, especially as she valued her privacy and guarded it so carefully.”
The publication also reports that Levin's forthcoming book contains details of how Davy helped Harry edit his best man's speech, with the Prince even reading out sections to her over the phone. “Harry had read it out at first over the phone to Chelsy in South Africa," the author is said to claim. "Who despite no longer being his steady girlfriend, has also been invited to the wedding. She suggested he remove some of the racier anecdotes, including a reference to Kate’s ‘killer legs’, as she didn’t think the Queen would take kindly to laddish humour.”
Although Prince Harry was romantically linked to several women in his pre-Meghan Markle days, Davy was one of his more serious relationships. According to The Daily Mail, the former lawyer, who now runs her own jewellery business, first met Harry back when they were bright-eyed students. After moving from her home in Zimbabwe, Davy boarded at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, before transferring to Stowe School in Buckinghamshire where she met the royal in 2004. Hello! magazine reports they dated on and off up until 2011, the same year as Kate and Wills' wedding, when The Mirror alleges they finally called it quits.
The relationship took a toll on Davy, who has previously spoken out about the exhausting scrutiny she was under. She told The Times, “It was so full-on. Crazy and scary and uncomfortable. I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.”
According to Vanity Fair, Prince Harry invited exes Davy and Cressida Bonas to his recent nuptials because “he thought it was the right thing to do.” Both women attended, but it must have been especially raw for Davy, given the length of their relationship and reports that she and Harry had a “parting call” the evening before the ceremony to give them both closure.
A source told the publication, “It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on. Chelsy was quite emotional about it all, she was in tears and almost didn’t go to the wedding. In the end, she went and promised Harry she wouldn’t try and gatecrash the party.”
All the power to her for showing up, though it must have been so incredibly difficult to sit there and watch it all unfold — especially with millions of people judging your every move. In fact, there were plenty of observers who kept a particularly close eye on Davy; prompting a string of mean-spirited memes featuring her stoic expression and joking that she was the poster child for why you should never invite your ex to your wedding. (To them I say — not cool.)
But since the wedding earlier this year, Davy has silenced her critics in the best possible way — by living her best life jet-setting around the world. From her pal’s hen-party in Ibiza and a glorious getaway in the Bahamas with friends. If her Instagram is anything to go by, it seems she’s making the absolute most of a life she may not have been able to lead had she settled down with Prince Harry. One that seems spontaneous, free, and far away from the spotlight.