Patrons of Tezenis lingerie and sleepwear shop on London’s Regent Street March 17 easily might have overlooked the young woman rummaging through the racks of bras, her long dirty blonde locks tumbling over the cell phone glued to her right ear. Nothing to see here — just another chatty twentysomething doing retail therapy.
You’d never guess that by year’s end the shopper, Cressida Bonas, would stand in one of the world’s most iconic churches (Westminster Abbey), swap vows with one of the world’s most coveted bachelors (Prince Harry) and join one of the world’s most elite families (the royal House of Windsor).
Friends reveal that boho blue-blood Cressida, 25, and reformed rake Harry, 29, will announce their engagement over Easter — April 20—and plan to marry at Christmas.
“It’s all systems go,” says a close pal. “Harry wants to whisk her away somewhere romantic to pop the question. He has a few places in mind, but it’s all hush-hush.”
Kate’s On Board
“Kate’s already got a pile of wedding magazines and dress-designer suggestions for her!” an insider says. “She knows better than anyone the complications associated with a royal wedding and plans on guiding Cressida through the whole thing. It’s not a normal wedding where you can do what you want; this wedding belongs to the people of Great Britain. It’s a huge affair and can be totally overwhelming.”
B y now, Kate is a pro at fitting into Palace life, and she’s proven herself to be a true girl’s girl: She’d rather help Cressy feel comfortable than see her sweat! “Kate’s been showing her the ropes,” says a Palace insider. “They were in fits of laughter when she was demonstrating how to curtsy to the queen, because Cressy’s dance training meant she was being really over the top. It was hysterical.” It’s just a matter of time before these two are sharing royal wardrobes!
Harry and Cressy are following Kate and William’s lead on another front: They’ll get straight to the business of making little princes and princesses.
“Harry is desperate to be a dad,” says the pal. “He’s made no secret of it since Kate got pregnant with Prince George. He’s as broody as hell and would like three or four children. He loves kids.”
The wedding-and-baby news comes as Harry and Cressida — dating fairly discreetly since his cousin, Princess Eugenie, introduced them at a May 2012 music festival — have gone increasingly public with their romance. They were spotted kissing March 7 during a charity concert at London’s Wembley Arena, their first official event together; the next day Harry and Cressida looked cozy at a rugby match.
They’ve also been nesting. Cressida has a small fat in the London neighborhood of Shepherd’s Bush, where she still enjoys an occasional girls’ night out drinking rum at the Havelock Tavern.
But she’s spending more and more time two subway stops away in Harry’s one-bedroom apartment at Kensington Palace, a short walk from Kate and Wills’ grand 20-room spread.
No Place Like Home
“Cressy has enjoyed making Harry’s place homey,” says a source. “She loves fragrant candles and cushions; it was a bit of a man-cave when she moved in, so she has been making it much cozier. They enjoy nights in front of the TV and make each other laugh a lot. Harry is even becoming a hand in the kitchen. He’s really proud of his pasta dishes and homemade curries. They are very domesticated. But above all, they get on so well. They make such a perfect couple.”
Hard to believe this is that Prince Harry, the redhead with an impudent grin who seemed to sow enough wild oats to feed a small country. Indeed, it was right after the time he met Cressida that Harry incited a scandal when leaked photos showed him romping naked in a Las Vegas hotel room.
But he’s a changed man since Cressida, a leggy aristocrat with an edgy-artsy vibe and colorful family history. Her mother, four-times-married Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, 67, was one of those swinging socialites who embodied ’60s London. Cressida, who studied dance at Leeds University, inherited Mum’s free-spirit.
Brother Jacobi is one of England’s most eligible bachelors, while actress sis Isabella, better known as Bella, married Sir Richard Branson’s son.
“Cressy’s totally down-to-earth,” the insider says. “She also loves to party and goes to raves on weekends. Neither Harry or Cressy like those really sneering posh, snobby types who only shop at designer stores and Harvey Nichols. She actually has no problem going to more down-market shops. Cressy’s more about the style, not the label, so she’ll happily walk out the door with a scrunchie and a pair of overalls.”
She and Harry grew close during an August 2012 vacation with pals to the British Virgin Islands’ Necker Island (owned by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, father-in-law of Cressida’s sister, Isabella). They corresponded regularly during Harry’s 20-week army stint in Afghanistan, and since coming home, he’s only had eyes for Cressy.
Friends say the relationship offers a contrast to Harry’s volatile romance with Chelsy Davy.
“Cressida is good for Harry; she’s a calming influence,” the source says. She also didn’t throw herself at him, a novelty for the global lust object.
“Cressy played things very cool,” the insider says. “There was an element of ‘treat him mean, keep him keen,’ and it’s worked. She hardly ever called him and often ignores his calls. She kept him on his toes, and he fell hook, line and sinker for her.”
So has Harry’s family, including Queen Elizabeth, whom Cressy has yet to meet. “Prince Charles was with Harry when they told the queen about the impending engagement; she was thrilled,” the insider says. “She does wish Cressida would tidy her hair a bit, but that’s a generation thing.”
In the months to come, friends say, Harry and Cressida plan a high-profile series of appearances together to help Cressy get used to the spotlight — visits to the Wimbledon tennis championships and the glitzy Royal Ascot horse race, and perhaps a trip to the soccer World Cup in Brazil to cheer on England.
Do not, however, expect any more weekends in Vegas. “Cressida’s the only woman who’s kept Harry’s wild ways under control,” the insider says. “They’re very much in love.”
Do you think Harry and Cressida are a good match? Are you excited to see their wedding? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @OKMagazine.