It’s 2006 and barely a day goes by when leggy, blonde socialite Chelsy Davy isn’t splashed across the UK tabloids: attending a polo match with her royal beau; stumbling out of a London nightclub; arriving at a society wedding alongside fellow princess-in-waiting Kate Middleton.
Fast-forward ten years and the Zimbabwean-born 30-year-old has just broken her decade-long silence about her on-off relationship with Prince Harry – and the angst she suffered at the hands of the paparazzi.
“It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable,” she told The Times. “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.”
Davy first met Harry during her days at a prestigious British boarding school. Shortly after, in 2004, Harry arrived in Africa for his gap year – where Davy had returned for university – and thus marked the beginning of a seven-year love story. One that played out in front of, well, the world.
In the early stages of the relationship, Davy was working around the clock as a lawyer for a top London firm, but the media preferred to zone in on her party-girl lifestyle.
“I like to enjoy life, but I like to achieve things and am very ambitious. They can be forgiven for not knowing I was working really hard, I didn’t shout about it. If you go out once, they take a picture, but they don’t take a picture of you going to work every morning, it’s of you falling out of a nightclub at 4am,” she said.
When she and Harry, strained by the scrutiny, parted ways in 2010, Davy fled to Zimbabwe to escape the British press: “It was nuts. That’s also why I wanted to go back to Africa. Now it’s calm, now it’s fine.”
Today, she lives largely out of the spotlight (although she still gets “papped”, most recently at last weekend’s Glastonbury festival) and has her own ethical jewellery line. And as for her relationship with the ginger prince? “We’ll always be good friends.”