Getty ImagesAnwar Hussein
Years before Prince Harry met and fell in love with his wife Meghan Markle, he had been pretty close to marrying his on-off girlfriend of seven years, Chelsy Davy. Davy attended Meghan and Harry’s wedding this year, but she was also Harry’s date at Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding in 2011. That was the day that reportedly convinced her that she didn’t want to be Harry’s bride, though, when she imagined herself in Kate’s role.
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Journalist Angela Levin wrote in her royal biography Harry: Conversations with the Prince (via The Mirror) that “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.”
Davy and Harry ultimately ended things then and had one last reconciliation attempt in summer 2015. Royal expert Katie Nicholl wrote in her biography of Harry that they had “one last hurrah” in Africa during a secret private trip. They didn’t get back together at the end, as Davy knew she didn’t want to lead such a public life.
In June 2016, Davy spoke to The Times about how tough the media attention was when she was dating Prince Harry. “It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable,” she said. “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.”
She didn’t have an answer when asked if she thought a person with a normal career could be a royal’s partner. (Davy has a jewelry line and went to law school; she and Harry started dating when they were in their early 20s.) “I don’t know, but I think that some people are definitely better at it than others.”
She and Harry remained good friends, and Harry reportedly gave her a parting call ahead of his wedding to Meghan, a family friend told Vanity Fair. “It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on,” the source said. “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 [reception] party.”