Okay, Prince Harry was wearing ski clothes when he was photographed embracing Cressida Bonas, who might be the One! Might be.
Cressida celebrated her 24th birthday in Verbier, on February 18. She's pretty, well-educated, very rich, and socially well-connected. She attended Stowe, a private independent boarding school for the very rich, and studied dance at Leeds University She previously dated Henry Wentworth-Stanley, stepson of the Marquess of Milford Haven, whose father was a first cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Cressida is certainly well-connected socially. She is said to be a good friend of Princess Eugenie, who apparently said to her cousin: "Hey, Harry, I have girl for you."
She has also been described as a model for Burberry, but it is her half-sisters' half-sister, Gabriella Calthorpe (who uses the surname Wilde) who has modeled the iconic trench coats.
She grew up in Hampshire at Hinton Amner, a National Trust party, where financier, Christopher Shaw, was a tenant. After her mother's divorce, the family moved to Jubilee Place in Chelsea. She is said to be sporty and loves the theater. Last year, she played Desdemona in a production of Othello at the Edinburgh Festival. She studied for three years at the Royal Ballet School, and more recently was enrolled at The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich where she studied contemporary dance.
[As a member of the Royal Family, Cressida could find her patronages among theatre, dance and literary societies, which would be a very good thing.]
She is said to be close to her mother and her half-siblings. Her first cousin, Richard Dinan (son of her mother's sister, Lady Charlotte) starred in a reality TV program Made in Chelsea.
According to press reports, they became an item last July after being spotted canoodling (what else) during the premiere of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Night.
There may have been a brief hiccup in the relationship when Harry's Vegas escapades did not stay in Vegas, but while Harry was serving in Afghanistan, they apparently (through Skype?) kissed and made up.
Harry and Cressy were in Verbier at the same time as Harry's uncle, the Duke of York and his family, including his ex-wife, Sarah. The Duke of York celebrates his birthday (February 19) every year with Verbier with his former wife and their daughters. Andrew and family usually pose for an obligatory family photo while on the slopes, but this year they chose to forgo the snap, and now we know why. [This is the first time that Harry has probably seen Auntie Sarah in a long time as she remains persona non grata from royal family events.
Will Cressida be a keeper? Does she have what it takes to accept the attention and the loss of most of your privacy when you date a prince. Several British bookmakers are taking bets on when the engagement will be announced.
Hold your ski poles, please! This relationship is in its early days. Harry has already skied off-piste at least once (in Vegas), and he and Cressida need a lot more time together as a couple to learn about each other, their wants, their needs, their future. Unfortunately, for the couple, there are numerous red flags that must be addressed. They also will need to ski down a lot of bumpy slopes before Harry gets on his knees and pops the question!
The Duchess of Cambridge comes from a stable home with happily married parents. Her parents are also self-made millionaires, something Americans, far more than the British, appreciate. Cressida was born into a family oozing with money, most of it not earned. Her mother, Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, a daughter of the 6th Earl Howe, has lived as a largely self-indulgent party girl for most of her life. She has been married AND divorced FOUR TIMES!
Seriously, can you imagine how Cressida's family will be treated by the Daily Mail and other tabloids if she becomes Harry's wife. It is bad enough for the self-made, hard-working Michael and Carole Middleton, who are subjected to utter tosh by the Mail. But then again, the Mail's insufferable "journalists", who have never fact checked a story in their lives, would consider Cressida's very rich family to be "eccentric."
Lady Mary's father was married twice. After his first marriage to Priscilla Weigall ended in divorce, Lord Howe married Grace Wakeling, a South African. He had two daughters, Lady Priscilla and Lady Jennifer by his first marriage and two more daughters, Lady Mary-Gaye and Lady Charlotte by his second wife. He died in 1984, and was succeeded by his second cousin.
Cressida's father, Old Harrovian Jeffrey Bonas, has been married and divorced twice. Not exactly the right conditions for Cressida to make a long and sustained marriage.
Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon was born on February 21, 1947. Her first marriage to Kevin Esmond Peter Cooper-Key took place on December 18, 1971. One daughter, Pandora Lorna Mary Cooper-Key. They divorced in 1976.
Her second marriage took place on May 27, 1977 at the Kensington Registry Office in London when she married John Austen Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, youngest son of the 2nd Baronet. The couple had three children: Georgiana Moireach Gay, Isabella Amaryllis Charlotte (who dated Prince William) and Jacobi Richard Penn. Isabella is engaged to marry Sam Branson, son of Sir Richard.
Lady Mary's second divorce was granted in 1986. Two years later, she married Jeffrey Bonas, a businessman. Cressida was born in 1989. The marriage ended in divorce in 1994.
Christopher Shaw became Lady Mary's 4th husband. They married on December 17, 1996. This marriage was also dissolved by divorce. No children.
Harry and Cressida are distantly related. Lady Mary Curzon, daughter of the 1st Earl Howe by his second wife, married the 2nd Duke of Abercorn. Their granddaughter, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, married the 7th Spencer, who were the grandparents of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Both the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah, Duchess of York, were raised in broken homes. Diana's father won custody of his children following his divorce from their mother (on the grounds of her adultery), but he had little to do with the day-to-day raising of his children. They were in the care of nannies and governess when they were not at boarding school.
Sarah's mother literally bolted, leaving her two daughters in the care of their father as she ran off to Argentina with her lover, Hector Barrantes, whom she eventually married.
Prince Harry's former girlfriend, Zimbabwe-born Chelsy Davy had her own baggage, a father with allegedly deep ties to the Mugabe regime.
Cressy's dad, Jeffrey, has also had his day in court, and not to his liking, where a judge branded him as "untrustworthy." The judge made the declaration during a 2003 court case over the issue of Bonas's divorce settlement to his first wife, Elspeth.
The judge stated: "I have preferred the evidence of persons other than Mr Bonas. He was, for a short span, a man of exceptional wealth and, perhaps to protect that position, cloaked his affairs with offshore Isle of Man trusts and Isle of Man and Swiss bank accounts.
"Anyone who goes to such lengths to achieve opacity but then later finds himself in debt can hardly complain when others conclude that it might be that he has more resources than he is claiming to have. I cannot regard Mr Bonas as a reliable or candid witness."
Bonas, who gradated from Oxford, is the owner of MacCulloch & Wallis, a haberdashery and sewing notions store just off Oxford Street.
It should be remembered that William used a skiing holiday tell the world that he and Catherine Middleton were a couple. As the Evening Standard's Robert Jobson noted earlier today, Prince Harry is stating unequivocally: “She’s my girl, and I don’t care who knows.”
We all know, Harry. But what I want to know -- and I am willing to sit back and wait awhile -- will Cressida be the one who can turn the fun-loving, but sometimes irresponsible, Prince Harry, into a mature, respected member of the British Royal Family?
Is it time for a Pimm's No 1 Cup?