Charming, brave and loveable. But I fear he's a little lost boy
07:24 GMT, 23 August 2012
Whatever you say about Prince Harry, he has proved to be the most endearing of the young royals.
Not since his mother, Princess Diana, have we seen a member of the Firm demonstrate such irrepressible enthusiasm at work and at play, nor such natural warmth with people.
His sense of duty has been profound, insisting against strong Establishment advice that he served with the Army in Afghanistan.
Chilling out: Prince Harry relaxes with his friends at the Sin City swimming pool. The holiday was billed by those who took part as the 'road trip to end all road trips'
Oops: Young Harry seems suitably embarrassed over the risqu snaps taken in a Vegas hotel suite on Friday night
Over the past few weeks we have seen
many examples of his charm and ebullience as he represented the Royal
Family at several Olympic events, including the closing ceremony when he
stood in for the Queen.
So how unfortunate that when things
were going so well for him, Harry gets caught with his pants down –
literally – and pictures of him partying naked are beamed across the
Who on earth advised the third in line to the throne to indulge
in some ‘full-on partying’ in the world’s self-styled capital of sleaze,
Downing vodka shots and cavorting
until the early hours of the morning with bikini-clad wannabes, this was
more the world of soft-porn films than the behaviour expected of the
We had come to think that poor judgment and immaturity
were all in the past for Harry.
For, at the age of 27, he is now a man
with the responsibilities of an Army officer.
Royal role: Over the past few weeks we have seen many examples of his charm and ebullience as he represented the Royal Family at several Olympic events, including the closing ceremony when he stood in for the Queen
We had all thought that he had learned
from the time when, as a rebellious 20-year-old, he was photographed
wearing a Nazi uniform at a fancy-dress party.
Not surprisingly, his
father, Prince Charles, was shocked by such thoughtless and crass
There had been an earlier personal
crisis when the young prince admitted smoking cannabis and under-age
At the time, his bingeing became legendary as he was spotted
spilling out of upmarket nightclubs such as Boujis in the small hours,
hardly able to stand and usually propped up by his round-the-clock
protection officers or another leggy, double-barrelled blonde whom he’d
At least he was partying with his own
kind then and his friends made sure they always put a steel ring of
protection around him.
Party image: For a while Prince Harry's bingeing became legendary as he was spotted spilling out of upmarket nightclubs
Subsequently, by applying himself to
hard work, setting up the Aids orphanage Sentebale in South Africa, as
well as his fund-raising work with soldiers maimed in Iraq and
Afghanistan, Harry managed to recover his image.
That is why this week’s scenes in the
aptly named Sin City are so disappointing and genuinely shocking. Quite
frankly, Prince Harry should have known better.
It is no good arguing, as a Clarence
House official is quoted as saying: ‘Prince Harry was letting off steam
before returning to the next phase of his military duties.’
prince himself doesn’t have the good sense to realise the catastrophic
effects of such ‘high jinks’, it was certainly the duty of a courtier or
police protection officer to intervene.
Similarly, it’s no good arguing that
what happened was in the ‘privacy’ of a private hotel room. Regardless
of the presence of mobile phone photos, Harry should not have been doing
a Full Monty with strangers in a VIP suite, barely covering his manhood
with his hands.
The blonde who has done most to protect him, apart from his mother, was his only long-term, now ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy
No one is suggesting he took part in an orgy, but details of what occurred will inevitably emerge.
We all know Harry is a party animal
and if things ever got out of hand, he was shielded by a close group of
posh friends – nicknamed the ‘BBB Crew’ (as they’re all blue-blooded and
How ironic it is though that the one
blonde who has done most to protect him, apart from his mother, was his
only long-term, now ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
A non-royal and without a
drop of blue blood in her veins, she seemed to provide stability in
Harry’s life. When they were together, he appeared to be at his most
happy and most settled.
When critics of the Royal Family attack fringe
members for being freeloaders, it is the type of sleazy behaviour
witnessed in Las Vegas that makes their comments justified.
Did Harry really need to recuperate
from his role as official Olympic Team GB Ambassador – hardly what most
people would call arduous work – with a first-class flight to the
Caribbean followed by a riotous bacchanal in Sin City
How disappointed the Queen must be
after having rewarded her grandson’s apparent recent maturity by
entrusting him with the honour of representing the Royal Family at the
closing Olympic ceremony
Prince Charles probably hasn’t seen
his son naked since he was a baby. Now, anyone who has looked at a
Hollywood-based website has.
What a difference a week makes. One moment
he’s carrying the baton for the next generation of royals, and now he’s
behaving like an overpaid, over-sexed, chav footballer.
Prince Harry seemed keen to keep a low profile as he chatted with friends in a Los Angeles car park after the photos went public
Family: Memories of young Harry and William with their mother are unforgettable, such as photos of them together on the water ride at Thorpe Park
Didn’t he realise – or shouldn’t his
protection officers have warned him – that inviting a bunch of women
he’d just met up to his suite was a stupid thing to do, in Vegas of all
Like his mother, Diana, Harry has
incredible charm but he lacks judgment.
Most worryingly, he is wilful in
the pursuit of his own pleasure. It is partly because of Diana’s tragic
death that the public has forgiven him so much in the past.
young Harry and William with their mother are unforgettable, whether it
was photos of them together on the water ride at Thorpe Park or
greeting their mother after a long absence on the deck of the Royal
All are poignant reminders of the love that Harry was robbed of
when she died.
Above all, there was the heartbreaking
image of a 12-year-old Harry, walking tearfully behind his mother’s
coffin bearing a bouquet of white roses with the simple handwritten
So, yes, we have made allowances for
Harry, but he will be 28 next month and it’s time he grew up. Like his
uncle, Prince Andrew, before him, Harry has proved to be a talented and
courageous helicopter pilot, but let’s hope he doesn’t follow in his
Forgiven: (Left to right) Earl Spencer, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles look at the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales. It is partly because of Diana's tragic death that the public has forgiven him so much in the past
Also the spare heir, ‘Airmiles Andy’
has become infamous for a hedonistic lifestyle – pursuing women, luxury
holidays and golf at the taxpayer’s expense.
After his disastrous marriage, he has
never found personal happiness and drifts around the world, an ageing,
pompous, privileged playboy for whom duty comes a poor second to his own
At heart, there is nothing malicious about Prince Harry’s character – just a sense that he’s a little boy lost.
What a tragedy it would be if he also
loses his way and instead of following his grandmother the Queen’s
example, finding happiness in marriage and satisfaction in duty, he
becomes another royal wastrel.