An otherwise rather predictable new biography of Prince Harry serialized in the Daily Mail over the weekend and again today does contain one bona fide scoop – the tale of Harry’s schoolboy romance with a lowly shopgirl named Margaret. At least, we are told by author Chris Hutchins, that is her middle name as she refused to be fully identified, for reasons which will become clear.
The romance developed after Harry’s passionate Valentine cards and declarations of love for Laura Gerard Leigh, the daughter of a multi-millionaire stockbroker who was a pal of his grandpa Prince Philip, went unrequited. With the posh girls giving him no dice, it seems Harry re-adjusted his targeting somewhat, and instead opted for proximity.
'Margaret' worked at one of the many convenience stores that line Eton High Street, where boys are allowed to shop for extra food.
According to Hutchins, ‘Margaret’ didn’t recognize Harry when he came in to buy some supplies, and even when he asked her to go out for a drink with him (presumably an illegal mission to one of the pubs in nearby Windsor) it was left to one of her co-workers to inform her that her date was Prince Harry.
Hutchins – who claims that the veracity of the ‘Margaret’ story has been confirmed to him by palace insiders – says that the two did indeed go for a drink, but there was a problem.
‘Margaret’ had a boyfriend of her own, and she wasn't prepared to drop him for Harry! She even says she knew what she was doing was 'wrong' and was desperate for no-one to see them together.
It's all very Romeo and Juliet, and she goes into details about being from the 'wrong side of the tracks' etc etc.
And although Harry was nice and pleasant and a certain amount of hand-holding and even some kissing took place over the next few dates, the relationship never really got off the ground – not least because Margaret “risked losing the boy I'd been courting for nearly two years” and “there was a man who was obviously his minder hovering in the background” which is enough to put anyone off their snogging technique.
"Harry called me several times after that but I had to tell him I couldn't see him again. He was pleading but I knew it was wrong. I could never be part of his world. I cried buckets after that last call but he never rang me again. I went on to marry my boyfriend, and I'm pleased to say we're very happy and have two lovely children.”
And guess what – she still hasn’t told her husband!