Twenty-two of the prince’s closest friends gathered in the English countryside for his stag party—and everyone is dying to find out how they celebrated. Harry Cole on the rumors and Prince Harry’s role as party planner in chief.
Normally an event involving royals and stags would involve trekking over a Scottish mountainside and waiting for that perfect clean shot through the neck of a deer. But with party boy extraordinaire Prince Harry apparently in charge of Prince William’s 22 close friends, you can bet this event, thought to be held at a private country property, was a lot messier.
Speculation was rife over the weekend that the party had kicked off on Saturday, backed up by the news that Harry, said to be the key party planner, had planned to be off to the North Pole this week. Royal sources have confirmed partygoers got out of town and headed to the private residence of a close friend, shunning their old favorite nightspots and evading the press pack. The last thing bride-to-be Kate Middleton, or the legions of government wedding organizers, would want is drunken pictures of nightclub scrapes and stumbles that have often blighted the brothers in the past. William is said to have been very firm that the event would not portray him in a bad light during these sensitive times in Britain of cutbacks and austerity.
“It’s top, top secret, but the dates have been marked off in the diary and security knows every detail,” a source told Us Weekly. “There will be booze and legendary activities.”
ABC’s Good Morning America heard that the day would be spent doing water sports and speed-boating on the English Channel, before the group would head up to a pub that was only accessible by boat. Such a plan sounds very similar to William and Harry’s cousin Peter Phillips’ stag night back in 2008 on the Isle of Wight.
The details of that riotous 72-hour bender did make it in to the tabloids. “Prince William dropped his trousers and downed pints of bitter as he and brother Harry gave their royal cousin a boozy stag weekend to remember,” screamed British tabloid and avid royal watchers The Sun.
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No doubt similar such behavior took place this weekend, but precautions were taken to ensure there would be no such prying eyes this time. Friends speculated the event would have been held for security and privacy reasons at one of the inner circle’s sprawling country estates. Eyes are looking toward Norfolk or the Kent home of Guy Pelly, a close confidant of the prince.
Recently single, Pelly was once cruelly nicknamed the “Court Jester” by some of the royal household but has managed to rehabilitate his image with a successful business career running some of London’s trendiest night clubs. Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl says: “Guy is very much the life of the party, but he is also fiercely loyal and protective of the princes.” Either way he knows how to throw a good party.
Pelly hasn’t been far from any of the controversies that have hit Prince Harry, from dressing up as a Nazi at a fancy dress party in 2005 to admitting to smoking pot in 2002. Though Pelly’s exclusive London clubs have been shunned for somewhere even more discreet, there is no doubt he was able to transfer his entertainment skills to the remote countryside away from the public gaze.
Either way, after a whole weekend of silence, royal watchers and gossipers have been left in the dark about the details. With spokesmen refusing to comment on the private event, it’s not just an anxious Kate waiting to see if the news will emerge of the drunken antics, but a growing media circus.
Where was William’s bachelor party? Eyes are looking toward Norfolk or the Kent home of Guy Pelly, a close confidant of the prince.
It’s Kate’s hen night next, though there is not much chance for headline chasers that she and her chums will be repeating the policewoman outfit Princess Diana wore to Sarah Ferguson’s infamous hen night before she married Prince Andrew in 1986. One hopes Kate hasn’t been too distracted from planning for her April 29 wedding with worries about William’s enigmatic boys’ night out.
Harry Cole is a British journalist. Based in Westminster, he is the news 4ditor of Order-Order.com, the U.K.'s most-read political blog. In 2009, Harry co-founded the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, which campaigns for transparency and openness in the political system.