'Crazy, scary and uncomfortable.' What Prince Harry's exes say it was like dating him.


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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to leave the royal family for a more private life earned them the fury of certain members of the British public and media.

Ever since the couple shared their decision to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and Canada back in 2020, they’ve faced constant leaks, pile-ons, online abuse and endless gossip.

They’ve ironically been subjected to the same intense scrutiny that potentially propelled their decision to separate from the royal family in the first place – from Piers Morgan’s continued vendetta against the Duchess to persistent rumours of a family feud.

More blazers and longer sleeves. Meghan Markle’s style before and after becoming a royal. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

When everything was blowing up for the couple, Harry's ex-girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, piped up to shed some insight into what it might be like dating a royal.


“No one likes to be labelled no matter what it is about or where they come from,” she told the Evening Standard.

“The hurdles and barriers for me are when I’m trying to do my work and people want to talk about him. I work very hard and love what I do — I just want to continue. But it is still something I have to contend with.

“It is what it is. People will perhaps always ask me about it.”

Bonas isn’t the only one either. Many of Harry’s ex-girlfriends have spoken about the difficulty that comes with dating a royal and the public speculation that follows. From British TV presenter Caroline Flack to Chelsy Davy, their experience shows Meghan isn’t the only woman to have struggled with royal life.


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Chelsey Davy – on and off from 2004 to 2011.

In what has been Prince Harry’s longest relationship to date, the royal dated Zimbabwe-born Chelsey Davy for seven years on and off. The lawyer-turned-jewellery designer met Harry when he was on his gap year and they’ve remained on good terms since their split. The 34-year-old was even a guest at his wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018.

Speaking to The Timesin 2016, five years on from their breakup, Davy said she found it difficult to “cope” with the public nature of their relationship.

“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.”


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Caroline Flack – June, 2009.

After being introduced to each other by a mutual friend, British TV presenter Caroline Flack briefly dated Harry in July 2009. However, once their relationship became public, the pair were forced to call it quits.

Like Bonas, Flack also touched on how she felt her identity was reduced by the press to only being Prince Harry’s girlfriend.

“[I] really liked him,” she wrote in her autobiography, Storm in a C Cup.

“However, once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.

“I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry’s bit of rough.”



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Cressida Bonas – 2012 to 2014.

Her recent interview with the Evening Standard wasn’t the first time Bonas has opened up about the intensity that comes with being in a royal relationship.

In a 2017 interview with BBC Radio 4, she shared what it was like seeing her life constantly be defined by her ex-partner.

“I think it’s that thing of being pigeonholed,” she said.


“It’s incredibly frustrating, especially in the industry that I’m in, but it is the way it is.”


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Meghan Markle – 2016 to now.

The Duchess herself has also commented, albeit subtly, about the downside of leading a very public life. From the moment she started dating Harry in 2016, the 38-year-old has become a constant fixture in the British tabloid press.


In 2016, Harry released a rare statement after he began dating the ex-Suits actress. The statement asked the media – and the general public – to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” including “outright sexist and racist comments” against his girlfriend.

“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” it read.

“It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.” 

meghan markle court case
Image: Getty.

In October 2020, Meghan herself shared what it was like being constantly subjected to media vitriol. Speaking to Tom Bradby on ITV documentary Meghan and Harry: An African Journey, the Duchess fronted the camera months after giving birth to her first child, Archie in May.

"I had no idea... when I met my now-husband, my friends were so happy because I was so happy," she said. "But my British friends said, 'I'm sure he's great but don't do it, because the British tabloids will destroy your life'."

"It's hard... Any woman [knows] when you're pregnant you're vulnerable, and then with a newborn, as a woman... it's a lot. So you add all this on top of being a new mum... It's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."

What about Harry's other girlfriends?

The above quotes are only from the women publicly known to have been involved with Prince Harry.

The royal has also been linked to Mollie King (who's a member of UK girl band, The Saturdays), Norwegian singer Camila Romestrand and Ellie Goulding, however, these relationships have never been confirmed.

Featured image: Getty.

This article was originally published in 2020 and has since been updated.

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