It was perhaps unfortunate timing, given that the one thing Prince Harry hates more than anything else is newspaper stories about his private life.
Still, there it was; as a handpicked group of 25 guests arrived at Clarence House to celebrate the Prince’s 30th birthday, the next day’s front page of the Sun newspaper began to circulate on Twitter, breaking the big news that Harry and Cressida were back together.
Harry and Cressida had been spotted by a photographer leaving a showing of the movie Sex Tape earlier in the week at a Chelsea cinema.
So it was perhaps unsurprising that more than a few of the select group of 30-odd friends invited to celebrate Prince Harry’s thirtieth were quietly wondering if Cressida, 25, would turn up.
Harry has been playing his cards very close to his chest over the summer as far the status of his relationship with Cressida went. Paranoid (with good reason) about media intrusion, he is thought to have confided in his brother at length, but the most that many of even his closest friends knew about the situation was that it was complicated.
The birthday party was truly an event for the most trusted of Harry’s pals. So most of those present knew that the Harry-Cressie breakup—and reunion—wasn’t quite as black and white as the media had made out. Yes, they were no longer dating, but, like many young couples, the relationship hadn’t come to quite as shuddering a halt as had been portrayed when Cressida at the last minute bailed out of attending Guy Pelly’s wedding in Memphis in early May.
Over the summer, the two had been in frequent—some sources say “daily”—contact by phone and text message. They met up behind closed doors as well, on several occasions, the meetings sometimes facilitated by Harry’s cousin and Cressida’s close friend Princess Eugenie.
Of the two, Harry was the keener to get the relationship going again. Cressida is said by friends to have been seriously “burnt” by the media intrusion she experienced, first when dating Harry, then when breaking up with him. A low point came when she was photographed by paparazzi crying in a Soho street after the break-up.
Cressida was, at first, determined to make the break-up stick. She buried her sorrows in drama, appearing in a play at the literary festival at Hay-on-Wye as a singing Cockney wolf in a surreal, fairy-tale production about an elderly man suffering dementia in a nursing home.
Cressida also reportedly landed herself a part alongside Cara Delevigne in a forthcoming movie, Tulip Fever, co-produced by Harvey Weinstein and slated for release in 2015.
Harry also appeared to be determined to portray himself as “over” Cressida, and made efforts to meet other girls over the summer.
But, in the end, it seems the two were unable to break as cleanly as they had hoped. They met up secretly at the Wilderness Festival in mid-August, and then, in September, Cressida raced home from a big family wedding in Italy on a Saturday night to be at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games the next day.
Cressida knew how important this event was to Harry—he has poured his heart and soul into it for the past year—and wanted to be there to support him.
It was hardly the actions of a confirmed ex.
But it still caused something of a stir when Cressida sauntered into Harry’s party shortly before midnight, having taken care to throw the media off her track by attending a very public fashion party on the other side of town earlier in the evening.
The ruse worked and her attendance at the party went unreported.
A source tells the Royalist that there was no big fuss made when she arrived, and no public displays of affection, but it was as clear a sign to Harry’s inner circle as they are ever likely to get that, for all the doubts in the past and all the problems these two young lovers may face in the future, the relationship with Cressida is very much back on.