There is every chance that Prince Harry will remember Valentine’s Day 2014.
Not because he spent it on a romantic date with his then Cressida Bonas, but because he worked to his knees in flood waters, carrying sandbags with his brother Prince William.
Six years later, devastating storms hit the UK again this week, leaving parts of the country underwater – and Harry is a world away (to be honest, William is currently enjoying himself in the mid term with his children rather than trying to keep Berkshire retirees dry).
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Earlier this month Harry and wife Meghan dined with Jennifer Lopez and her boyfriend baseball star became businessman Alex Rodriguez.
Think about it for a moment. Imagine stepping into a time machine and telling Harry about 2014 – a man who had just served two terms on the front lines in Afghanistan and was renowned for his 2-faced red nightclub exits – that he would attend what is essentially a kaffeeklatsch millionaire banker before dining with the star of Gigli.
And that he would stay in a borrowed house so tasteless that it would be perfect for a Real housewife.
Oh, and who lived in Canada.
To be clear, it’s not about snobbery, but an indicator of how wildly Harry’s life has changed in a matter of weeks – five, if you’re counting.
Wednesday this week marked 31 days since Harry essentially said goodbye to the UK in a charity function, giving a passionate (albeit perhaps a little rude) speech before flying out of the country.
In just over a month, her daily existence has changed so profoundly that almost all the vestiges of her previous existence have disappeared. He is no longer considered His Royal Highness. It no longer has official ties to the military. Starting on the most recent Wednesday, his and his Meghan went on to be sold as “Sussex Royal” after the Queen put the kibosh on them using the royal imprimatur.
Adding this sense of purpose to their departure was the news that came out this week regarding their 15-year-old office staff, which includes their private secretary and communications team. While he and Meghan initially stated in their January 6 resignation announcement that they planned to “balance” their time between the UK and North America, this seems less and less likely after it has been revealed that their entire office London has been dissolved.
In the meantime, they initiated a U.S.-based support operation, the couple reportedly worked with American supremos PR Sunshine Sachs and a member of the Suits former professional management team of the star.
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47 days have passed since the Sussex first signaled – through Instagram posts and a brilliant new website – their intention to renegotiate their real “contract”.
47 days later, gray England has disappeared, days of shaking hands and hugs of children. Instead, they are chatting with the global commercial elite and making quick trips to the heart of Silicon Valley to brainstorm on their philanthropic bases that will soon be launched. It has even been reported, via the United Kingdom Mirror, that there is an “gold rush” going on between the banking elite to protect Harry and Meghan and that the leaders of the World Economic Forum want the Sussex to speak at next year’s billionaire gabfest.
If I had told someone even three years ago that Harry would spend his time dating Bill Gates and Jenny from the block, they would have laughed at you. This was the man who once dressed as a Nazi for a party and managed to finish high school with only two A levels – a B in art and a D in geography.
Every life changes with marriage. With the children. With the fusion of different lives that go to create a family. However for Harry this shift is not only seismic but inconceivably fast.
What’s so interesting is that this is a face that nobody could have foreseen even a year ago. While Harry and Meghan faced a series of public relations crises and a bold relationship with the press over the past 12 months, this time in 2019 it was inconceivable that the couple would follow such a dramatic and unchangeable path.
Regardless of what you think of Harry’s move, the alacrity and resolve of last month’s resignation speaks of a certain courage and talent that is commendable.
However, he has both gained and lost so much – and so quickly – and this must have a certain emotional price.
Come on June 13, how will you feel when you stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping the Color and will have to wear a simple suit rather than the military suit you previously had the right to wear? (That is, assuming you go back across the pond to participate.)
The army played such a crucial role in its life and identity. It must be hurt to be cut off from something he cares so much about.
In turning his back on life as a full-time member of the royal family, Harry clearly believes he is doing the right thing for his family. Most often, the intrinsic sacrifice required when people from different countries marry falls on the woman.
To his credit, Harry has been willing to give up much of what is dear to him to try and ensure the happiness of his wife and son.
However, unloved by friends, family and the institution that defined his adult life so much, he has now been left to forge a new existence in a new country surrounded by new people. Change is natural but the extent of this reinvention has an alarming whiplash.
After the divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, Diana, princess of Wales, started in a very concerted and determined way, creating for herself the life she wanted. Now, 24 years later, her son is doing the same thing with passion and fervor that they remember the Princess. He hopes that he will find the peace, joy and purpose he was looking for.
Daniela Elser is an expert and real writer with 15 years of experience working with a number of important Australian media titles.