Evidence Prince Harry's Relationship With Chelsy Davy Was More Heartbreaking Than We Realized

Prince Harry has long been a critic of the British media, but in the summer of 2023, the prince took his anti-tabloid position a step further. On June 6, Harry became the first member of the British royal family to take the stand in a civil trial in more than a century. This historic moment came as the prince, along with a hundred other high-profile figures, sued the media conglomerate, Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), for allegedly accessing their private information through illegal means (like phone hacking). In a 55-page witness statement, Harry accused the organization of listening in on his voicemails in order to procure evidence for salacious news stories.

Notably, the prince's witness statement zeroes in on the way that he believes MGN's alleged reporting tactics impacted his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. According to Harry's legal documents, he first crossed paths with Chelsy in 2004. Despite the fact that Chelsy was from Zimbabwe and spent a considerable amount of time outside the U.K., she and Harry proceeded to date on and off for the next six years. In his witness statement, Harry recalled, "With Chelsy and I often living in different countries ... we relied on communicating by phone a lot" (via The New York Times).

Per Harry's claims, MGN exploited the long distance nature of Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy's relationship, parsing through the couple's private voicemails in search of gossip. Unfortunately, as Harry alleged, this invasion of privacy ultimately led to the couple's heartbreaking demise. 

Harry said that the British press didn't want him to get too serious with Chelsy

Before Prince Harry even met Chelsy Davy, the prince had reason to believe that the media did not want to see him fall in love. According to the witness statement that he submitted in the civil suit against MGN, Harry felt that the press had already put him in a box. As the statement reads, "In my experience as a member of the royal family, each of us gets cast into a specific role by the tabloid press ... You're then either the 'playboy prince,' the 'failure,' the 'drop out,' or, in my case, the 'thicko,' the 'cheat,' the 'underage drinker,' the 'irresponsible drug taker,' the list goes on" (via The New York Times). 

In Harry's view, the media constructed this caricature of his personality in order to highlight his flaws and sell stories. And, apparently, tabloids were not particularly supportive of Harry on the occasions that his behavior went against the persona that they had built for him. Per the prince, this was particularly obvious whenever he started dating someone. As he explained in his witness statement, "I always felt as if the tabloids wanted me to be single, as I was much more interesting to them and sold more newspapers. Whenever I got into a relationship, they were very keen to report the details but would then, very quickly, seek to try and break it up." 

From the very beginning of her relationship with Harry, Chelsy was stalked by the media

Regardless of whether the British press actively tried to end things between Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy, it is true that the media added a lot of strain to the pair's relationship from the very beginning. Indeed, starting with Chelsy's initial visits to London, the Zimbabwean blonde was bombarded with an overwhelming amount of media attention. In his witness statement, Harry recalled, "I went to pick her up [from the airport] with my Personal Protection Officers ... I walked into the Arrivals Hall with a baseball cap on and immediately spotted five paparazzi sitting on benches with cameras in bags, their hands inside rucksacks and everyone else looking at me — I remember that someone was videoing me with one of those tiny little cameras between their legs" (via The New York Times).

As time went on, Harry claimed, the media harassment only grew worse. The prince even went so far as to allege that the press attention threatened Chelsy's bodily security. Writing in his witness statement, the Duke of Sussex shared that his ex-girlfriend's airport experiences came to follow an alarming pattern: "There would typically be five or six paparazzi literally running circles around Chelsy, so much that I couldn't even see her ... On occasion, the paparazzi would be so aggressive in their pursuit of her that we would have to enlist the help of the airport police."

Journalists mysteriously knew where Harry and Chelsy would be before they even arrived

Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy did not have an easy start to their relationship, and, unfortunately, things between the pair only seemed to go from bad to worse. According to Harry's witness statement, the press frequently seemed to have inside information about the couple's travel plans, even when said plans were top secret. One of the most obvious instances of this, Harry said, occurred when he and Chelsy organized a trip to the island of Bazaruto. Because of this relatively isolated location, Harry and Chelsy assumed that they would be able to decompress in private. This, however, was hardly the case.

As per Harry's claim, "I remember that whenever Chelsy and I went on a trip to Bazaruto, a small island off the coast of Mozambique, to try and get away from all the madness and enjoy some peace and quiet, journalists and photographers from MGN and other tabloids would literally turn up and book into the hotels before we got there. I now believe they had blagged our flight details and hotel bookings and/or intercepted our voicemails" (via The New York Times).

Sadly, this level of harassment added pressure to Harry's romance with Chelsy. In his statement, the prince recalled, "We were never on our own and able to enjoy each other's company away from the prying eyes of the tabloids. This put a huge amount of unnecessary stress ... on our relationship."

Harry and Chelsy lost friends as the media stalking got worse

As the media always seemed to know where Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy would be at any given time, the couple began to grow suspicious of everyone around them. Indeed, Harry and Chelsy began to wonder if their friends were spilling their secrets to the press. After all, British tabloids have been known to compensate informants with sizable monetary rewards, and it would not have been impossible for the couple's acquaintances to get in touch with interested journalists. Thus, Harry claimed, he and Chelsy began cutting their friends out, one by one.

In his witness statement, Harry reflected on this challenging time: "We could also never understand how private elements of our life together were finding their way into the tabloids, and so our circle of friends became smaller and smaller" (via The New York Times). Unfortunately, however, Harry said that he struggled to determine whom he could confide in. Per the prince's claims, this created a situation that was not ideal for his mental health. He wrote, "I remember finding it very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia." Sadly, Harry hinted that the impact of this time haunts him to this day, stating, "Of course, now that we know that this information was invariably obtained by unlawful means, these friendships were lost entirely unnecessarily, which is a matter of huge regret for me."

King Charles III's opposition to the relationship was aired to the press

Over time, Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy's respective mental states grew worse. Unfortunately, this was further exacerbated when King Charles III revealed that he didn't necessarily support the relationship — a fact that worked its way into the tabloids. As Harry related in his witness statement, in January 2005, the tabloid "The People" published a piece that spilled all the intimate details of an argument that he had with Charles about his romance. The prince explained, "The article reported that I had 'slammed the phone down' on my father and included a quote from a 'senior aide' that described me as being 'incandescent' when my father described my relationship as 'puppy love' and that I had 'exploded,' telling my father that he had no right to lecture me on morals" (via The New York Times).

While having a disagreement with a parent is challenging in and of itself, Harry faced even more stress as the details of this conversation were made public. Recalling the incident in his witness statement, Harry wrote, "Again, I don't know how the defendant's journalists obtained any of this information. Any disagreements between me and my father were private ... This kind of article just perpetuated feelings of distrust, within all of my relationships." Although Harry did not add any details about Chelsy's reaction to this article, it seems likely that reports of Charles' disapproval would have impacted her substantially.

Chelsy's concerns about Prince Harry's military service were also leaked

The argument between Prince Harry and King Charles III was hardly the only private disagreement that became common knowledge. Harry and Chelsy Davy's spats also became known to the world, especially in 2007, when the prince was considering his military future. Recalling this time in his witness statement, Harry shared, "I really did hope I was going to be deployed in Iraq and I was on standby, along with the rest of my regiment. I felt like it was my calling, and I had trained for it, I wanted to be there with my men" (via The New York Times).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chelsy hardly shared Harry's enthusiasm for going to battle. The prince wrote that his then-girlfriend "was extremely worried, and we discussed it a lot." For all of Chelsy's concerns, however, Harry said, "There was no changing my mind. I was determined to serve." 

Unfortunately, however, these intimate conversations between Harry and Chelsy were exploited by the British tabloids. According to Harry's witness statement, "The People" published a piece that described his arguments with Chelsy in alarming detail. The Duke of Sussex explained, "The article reports on Chelsy's feelings about me going to serve in Iraq, stating she had 'begged [me] not to be a hero.'" In the end, Harry claimed, the media explosion surrounding his decision to serve interfered with his potential deployment. Thus, it was decided that the prince could not fight in Iraq. 

Even tiny details of the relationship were made public

The British press might typically be interested in reporting on royal arguments or disagreements. However, when it came to Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy, tabloids seemed intent on publishing any minute detail about the couple's interactions. This was especially clear in 2005, when an article in "The People" fawned over the time that Harry and Chelsy reportedly spent chatting on the phone. Describing the article in his witness statement, Harry wrote, "The article includes a quote from an 'insider,' which states that I was, 'spending hours on the phone to Chelsy,' that I was finding the prolonged periods apart difficult, as I couldn't concentrate or relax, and that I was quite emotional" (via The New York Times).

This hyper-aware focus on Chelsy and Harry's every move showed just how detailed the press coverage of the duo had become. As time went on, the intensity of this scrutiny got to be too much for both parties. After all, it seemed like the pair could not even talk on the phone without making a headline. Reflecting on Chelsy's reaction to this news coverage, Harry shared, "Chelsy had no interest in being involved in public life, she found the press intrusion as difficult as I did, and it was the main factor in why we decided to end our relationship."

Harry believes that his relationship with Chelsy never had a chance

Because the British media zeroed in so intensely on Prince Harry's relationship with Chelsy Davys, the couple was potentially ill-fated from the start. Indeed, Harry and Chelsy had such a difficult time dealing with the scrutiny that the prince questioned if they ever had a chance of making things work. In his written statement, Harry reflected on the fact that he and Chelsy were never able to do the things that normal couples do without making a national headline, opining, "These kinds of articles [about our phone calls] made me feel as though my relationship with Chelsy was always set to be doomed. We couldn't even meet in private or have arguments over the telephone without the [Mirror Group Newspapers] somehow learning these details and publishing them for the whole country to see" (via The New York Times).

Ultimately, Harry and Chelsy came to feel that they did not share a private life. Instead, the ups and downs of their love story became so incredibly public that they could not even have a simple conversation without the press getting wind of it. Recalling what it was like to be under that degree of monitoring, Harry shared, "Again, it was just that feeling of being under surveillance all the time." Of course, their relationship did not survive these circumstances. As Harry explained, "these factors led her to make the decision that a royal life was not for her."

The prince said that his break-up with Chelsy followed a pattern he saw in other relationships

Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy's breakup was not easy for the redheaded prince. In his written statement, Harry divulged that the couple's separation was "incredibly upsetting for me at the time" (via The New York Times). However, it seems, Harry's reaction to the breakup spanned beyond the typical sadness one often feels at the end of a romantic relationship. After all, Chelsy was not the first girl who had left Harry due to the press' fascination with his life — a point that he emphasized in his written statement.

Even before Chelsy came into the picture, Harry had suffered several romantic disappointments, no thanks to the British tabloids. Reflecting on his earlier relationships, Harry wrote, "Every time I was in a relationship or even a rumored relationship, that whole person's family, and often their friends, would be dragged into the chaos and find themselves the subject of unlawful activity on the part of MGN. That's horrible for everyone." The prince went on to open up about another girlfriend who had much of the same reaction that Chelsy did: "I can remember that at least one of my girlfriends told me she was warned off me by her parents saying, 'Is it really worth all the aggravation?' Our relationship ended shortly after." In that sense, Harry's separation from Chelsy represented just one more time that the press changed the course of his romantic life.

Even when Harry tried to move on, the cycle continued

The press was obsessed with Prince Harry's private life, even after he and Chelsy Davy split up. When the pair called it quits, the media continued to write about Harry and Chelsy's attempts to move on. They stalked Chelsy as she started a new relationship, and they also monitored Harry as he tried to jump back into the dating pool. Of course, it didn't take Harry long to realize that he would confront the same level of media scrutiny, regardless of whom he went out with.

This dynamic was especially clear in 2009, when Harry was linked to actress Caroline Flack. Desperate to hide from the paparazzi, the pair decided to organize a low-key poker night at the private residence of Harry's friend, Mark Dryer. On their way out of the gathering, however, Harry and Caroline were surprised by a couple of cameramen. Years later, Harry recalled his feelings of betrayal in his written statement, "Two photographers from IKON pictures knew where we would be and were already there, waiting for us to arrive. They were hiding underneath a car" (via The New York Times). 

Sadly, this incident rekindled the feelings of mistrust that Harry had already experienced during his romance with Chelsy. Of the experience, the prince wrote, "I was angry. I hadn't told anybody. I obviously doubted Caroline, but I even came to mistrust Marko. My brother and I stopped talking to him for a while."

This pattern raises questions about Harry's relationship with Meghan Markle

Although Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy's failed romance is sad, nothing is as heartbreaking as the implication that the media continues to complicate Harry's relationship with his wife, Meghan Markle. Nonetheless, in his written statement, Harry hinted that his marriage has suffered as a result of the tabloids' fascination with his life. The prince wrote that the media tried "putting as much strain on [my love life] and creating as much distrust [in my relationships] as humanly possible ... This twisted objective is still pursued to this day, even though I'm now married" (via The New York Times).

The prince went on to accuse the media of relentlessly trying to interfere with his romantic relationships. "Whenever I have been in a relationship, I have always tried to be the best partner that I possibly could, but every woman has her limit. Unfortunately, they are not just in a relationship with me but with the entire tabloid press as the third party." He then heavily implied that every single woman he has been involved with has struggled as a result of the media, including his own wife. Harry explained, "At no point did I have a girlfriend or a relationship with anyone without the tabloids getting involved and ultimately trying to ruin it using whatever unlawful means at their disposal."