For one horrible moment, it looked like Prince Harry was about to have one of his famous attacks of public pique with the press (who could forget the interview in Afghanistan when he tactfully told a reporter, on camera, “I’d prefer it if you weren’t here”) when, on his way into a charity do last night he was asked about the new royal arrival, Prince George.
A television reporter accosted Harry, who was looking charming as ever in a nice blue suit with an open-necked shirt, unbrushed hair and a toothy grin.
The first round of desultory chit-chat went rather well, when Harry said he’d be happy to babysit for William, but warned that he had very high charges. Then Harry made to head off. To be fair, he was here on important business, raising funds for his charity as guest of honor at a photographic exhibition, entitled Sentebale—Stories of Hope, and shot by royal photographer Chris Jackson.
But the reporter was having none of it, and quickly jumped back in, “Tell us a little bit about whether or not he takes after anyone in the family, any characteristics?”
This is just the usual harmless kind of rubbish people ask other people when babies are born, but Harry, for some reason, couldn’t let it go.
He gulped. He grimaced. He fixed the reporter with a look that would wither a veteran of combat reporting, and then he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, “He’s about FOUR DAYS OLD, so I think you can judge that one by yourself. I have no idea.”
He just about managed to restrain himself from saying, “Duh!”
Oh dear. This was just about to turn into another one of those Harry interviews when the reporter from Sky News, who clearly has skin the consistency of rhino hide and is working in glorious ignorance of the conventions of royal reporting (don’t hassle them, don’t detain them, treat them with total deference) tried another tack, as you do with any tricky interviewee.
“And what is your mission as an uncle for the first 20 years of his life?”
And it got him. The snippy prince with no time for idiot questions from idiot reporters melted away visibly in front of us as the lovable rogue returned.
Harry paused and seemed to be really thinking about the question. Then he said, “To make sure he has a good upbringing, to keep him out of harm’s way, and make sure he has fun.”
Ah, Prince Harry, the uncle for fun! What more could any adolescent (or television journalist) ask for?
Imagine having Harry to sneak you into bars underage, buy your ciggies, get you VIP at Bodo’s, introduce you to hot chicks, and basically be the all-round ultimate wing man!
You can almost hear the telephone conversations in 20 years’ time already.
“Look, Harry, it’s Kate here, and I’m really not happy about what George said happened last night …”
“It’s fine, Kate, seriously. You know what it’s like when we meet up with your uncle Gary. The Two Gs, right? Georgie was just letting off a bit of steam. I made all the girls hand over their camera phones on the way in. It’s totally cool.”
Yes, when it comes to an uncle for fun, there is probably no finer man for the job than Prince Harry.
But for tips on public relations, George might be best talking to mom.