When Prince Harry stood at the front of St George's chapel in his wedding finest, nervously waiting for his bride, there was one woman that many people believed would be the one coming down the aisle. Tall and willowy, she was a beautiful actress starting to make a name for herself and she had captivated the young royal since they first met.

I mean, of course, Cressida Bonas, Harry's most serious relationship directly before he met Meghan.

This morning, Cressida, 30, announced via Instagram her engagement to Harry Wentworth-Stanley.

However for a couple of years all signs pointed to the drama school graduate marrying another Harry. On paper, she had all the hallmarks of a typical royal bride.


For starters, she has the society connections. Her mother is Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, a socialite with impeccable pedigree, who has been married four times. (Her last wedding to financier Christopher Shaw was featured in the pages of Tatler, complete with a photo of a very young Cressida playing the piano during the service.)

Cressida also has strong royal connections. She can trace her lineage back to King Charles II, Her half-sister is Isabella Ansthuther-Gough-Calthorpe, whom Prince William is said to have had a huge crush on before he met Kate. Her half-brother Jacobi Ansthuther-Gough-Calthorpe is reportedly great mates with Wills also. In fact, it was longtime bestie Princess Eugenie who initially set the blonde thespian up with Harry.

News first broke of Harry and Cressida's romance in 2012 and for the next two years, the duo were a fixture on the social scene. They were regularly photographed making speedy exits from some of the city's most exclusive nightclubs and travelled together, enjoying a romantic skiing holiday to Kazakhstan. Bohemian and free-spirited, Cressida and Harry shared an irrepressible joie de vivre and he was by all accounts smitten from word go. When Harry was posted to Afghanistan that same year, the couple stayed in contact via satellite phone.

It was not long before the wedding speculation started. In 2013, one of her friends confidently told the (UK) Telegraph: "Cressie is going to marry Harry. Harry never stops talking about marriage and children, and she has now got used to the idea."

Behind the scenes however, Cressida was contending with the extraordinary scrutiny and pressure that came with dating the most eligible man in the world.

"It's not something that is easy for anyone — dating a royal or marrying into the family," her brother Jacobi told the Evening Standard in 2013. "She's not a tough cookie at all. She's a sensitive, sweet girl."

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We getting married 😁🥰

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Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine has recounted the strain the young woman was under, saying: "[Cressida] just said it was awful because every time she walked down the street she could hear people criticising her. They would whip out their phones and take photos of her. They'd say 'oh look at her hair', 'oh look at her clothes, look at her boots, she hasn't got her laces done up', I mean this is just a normal, pretty girl and she just couldn't take it. She just thought 'why are they getting at me'."

In March 2014, Cressida and Harry attended their first official event together at a concert for We Day at Wembley Stadium, which was widely interpreted to be a strong indication that things were indeed getting serious. They sat side-by-side and were "inseparable," Vanity Fair reported at the time. However, weeks later, in May, Cressida shocked royal watchers by breaking things off.


Harry, keen to settle down and start a family, was devastated, according to reports.

It turns out that behind the smiles and loved up appearance at the We Day event, Cressida was reportedly wrestling with the reality of life as a member of the royal family. According to royal biographer Katie Nicholl, it was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official trip to Australia in April 2014 with Prince George that provided the ultimate "wake up call" that she could not have a future with Harry.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local secondary school meeting students and teachers on February 24, 2019. Photo / AP
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local secondary school meeting students and teachers on February 24, 2019. Photo / AP

"There was no way she wanted that sort of attention and she told Harry so. Harry didn't want things to end," Nicholl quotes a friend saying in Harry: Life, Loss, and Love. "He was in love with her and he tried to convince her they could make it work, but Cressida's mind was made up. She called the relationship off because she knew in her heart this wasn't what she wanted. Harry suffered a real blow when she said, 'I can't do this'. I think she really broke his heart."

After their split, Cressida remained in the public eye, notching up roles in high profile theatre productions and regularly appearing on best-dressed lists.

In a very strange Sliding Doors-esque incident, both she and Meghan Markle attended Wimbledon on the same day in July 2016 as guests of Ralph Lauren. And it was during that visit to London that Meghan first went on a blind date with none other than Harry.

Cressida's reaction to the news of Harry's engagement to Meghan in late 2017 raised a few eyebrows when 24 hours after the news broke, she took to Instagram to cryptically post a cartoon with the quote: "No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells it all."

Despite the split, Cressida remained in the royal fold and was invited to both Harry's wedding to Meghan and Princess Eugenie's October 2018 nuptials to Jack Brooksbank.

At some stage in recent years, Cressida rekindled her relationship with her former university flame Harry Wentworth-Stanley who is a surveyor for Savills.

While Cressida might not have ended up a member of the Windsor clan, she is still marrying a Harry with a royal pedigree. Her fiance is the stepson of George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven who is in line to the throne and is a cousin of the Queen.

It would seem that the course of true love never does run smooth, even for It Girls and hot blokes named Harry.