British Royal Family

"It was so full-on": Prince William and Prince Harry's ex-girlfriends explain what it's really like to date a royal

It's not as glamorous as it seems.

By Maddison Leach
Dating a royal sounds like a total dream come true – just look at Kate Middleton and Princess Mary, both of whom married their real-life Prince Charmings.
But what is it really like to meet and date someone destined for a crown? Or even just a regular royal who will probably never have to rule a nation?
We've heard plenty of stories from the likes of Kate, Meghan Markle, even Princess Diana, but they're all women who went on to marry their royals.
What about the ladies who decided not to dive into the world of royalty and marry into some of the most powerful families in the world?
We're checking in with the former flames of Prince William and Prince Harry to figure out what it's really like to date a royal.

Florence St George - dated Harry

Florence has opened up about why she felt "lucky" her relationship with Harry ended. (Getty)
British model Florence St George had a brief romance with the Duke of Sussex back in 2011 but has confessed that she wasn't cut out for life as a royal girlfriend.
"A new story would appear almost every day in the press, my school friends were interrogated, and there were photographers outside my front door," she told Stella Magazine, via Daily Mail.
"I take my hat off to those people who can cope with that lifestyle, but I knew I couldn't."
Though she said she was "sad" to end things with Harry, Florence ultimately felt "lucky" to have escaped the press scrutiny and public spotlight that comes with dating a royal long-term.
While they only dated for a few months, the model said in 2020 that it was more than enough time for her to know that she couldn't put herself through the media circus.
She told The Times: "To be under that focus, I found it really terrifying, and I made a decision quite quickly that it wasn't the right thing for me."

Chelsy Davy – dated Harry

Harry dated Chelsy Davy for years, but she "couldn't cope" with the scrutiny. (Getty)
Long before Meghan, Harry had an on- and off- romance with Chelsy Davy after they met in school, but she found the royal spotlight "uncomfortable".
"It was so full-on: crazy scary and uncomfortable. I found it very difficult when it was bad," she revealed in 2016.
"I couldn't cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible."
WATCH: See the moment Chelsy attended Harry's wedding to Meghan in 2018. Article continues after the video.
In fact, royal reporter Angela Levin claimed in her royal biography, Harry: Conversations with the Prince, that the media attention played a role in Chelsy's decision to end the relationship.
She penned: "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."
Angela added that seeing all the "enormity and pomp" of Kate and William's wedding day made Chelsy sure she wasn't ready for that kind of life.

Cressida Bonas – dated Harry

Cressida Bonas and Harry's relationship ended in part due to the media attention. (Getty)
This English actress and model was pretty serious with Harry between 2012 and 2014, but in the end the media attention got to her too.
Cressida revealed in 2017 that she felt "pigeonholed" by the relationship, as people started to view her only as 'Harry's girlfriend', something she found "incredibly frustrating".
Harry's ex, who is now married to property developer Harry Wentworth-Stanley, added in 2020 that she still gets asked about her relationship with the prince more than five years after their relationship ended.
"The hurdles for me are when I'm trying to do my work and people want to talk about him," she told the Evening Standard.
"I work very hard and love what I do, but it is still something I have to contend with."
WATCH: See what Cressida said about Harry in 2017. Article continues after the video.
Back in 2013, not long before she and Harry split, Cressida's brother Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe also weighed in on the attention and fame that comes with dating a royal.
"It's not something that is easy for anyone dating a royal, or marrying into the family... I think on some level it is different to any other type of fame," he told the Evening Standard.

Carly Massy-Birch – dated William

William met Carly Massy-Birch in his university days. (Getty)
Prince William doesn't have as many ex-girlfriends as Harry, and his have been far less inclined to speak to the press about their relationships.
Carly Massy-Birch is one of the only women William dated who has spoken publicy about their romance, but according to her dating the future King felt like a "regular" romance.
The pair met at St Andrew's University – where Wills would later meet Kate – and dated for two months.
"We got on well, but I think we would have got on well even if nothing had been going on romantically.
"It was very much a university thing, just a regular university romance," Carly reportedly said, via the Mirror.

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