The Champagne is being chilled. The VVIP areas are being made ready. The eligible blue-blooded daughters of Britain’s Dukes and Earls are acting very cool indeed.
For, after three long months in Africa, Harry’s coming home, and London is making ready to welcome its most celebrated partygoer.
But, amidst the excitement of Harry’s set, it is fair to say there is some trepidation. Everyone is wondering just what Harry will be like after what is said by sources to have been a ‘life-changing’ three-month sojourn in Africa, where he was involved in the ‘sharp end’ of conservation efforts, which included a gunbattle with poachers and helping to carry out operations on drugged rhinos to remove their tusks to make them less attractive to poachers.
One thing is certain, Harry wants to find a wife. He has said so himself on several occasions, and twice publicly.
And the endlessly fascinating subject of Harry’s love life appears unlikely to fade as a subject of tabloid obsession, especially after reports surfaced in the Sun newspaper claiming that while he was in Africa, Harry met up with his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, and the two are now “openly discussing giving their relationship another go”.
Sources have long told the Royalist that Harry and Chelsy have continued to hold a candle for each other.
Chelsy, a Zimbabwean by birth, split up with her boyfriend, jeweler Charles Goode, in January.
Chelsy and Harry have long been thought by many of their friends to be made for each other—they were both known for their love of wild partying when they dated between 2004 and 2010.
It was widely rumored at the time that they had planned to marry, but that Chelsy took fright at the prospect of living in the royal goldfish bowl following the wedding of William and Kate.
A reunion would be welcomed by many of their set, but—if it does happen—any revived relationship would be conducted with the utmost clandestine secrecy.
Only a handful of Harry’s closest friends would be let in on the secret.
Harry has made little secret of his desire to settle down and have children. Earlier this year he said in a Sky News interview that he was actively looking for a wife, or at least to have “someone next to me” as he put it, rather forlornly.
But before wife-hunting can get underway, however, there is another urgent domestic commitment to be attended to: spending time with his new niece, Princess Charlotte Diana.
Harry is said to have joked with his colleagues in Africa that he was a ‘bad uncle’ for not having been back to attend her christening, although he did meet the youngest royal three weeks after her birth.
Harry’s immediate charitable focus will also be on renewing his work with injured soldiers.
In the short to medium term, sources say, he will work as a volunteer with the Personnel Recovery Unit of London District, where he will assist soldiers with their rehabilitation after being wounded or injured in service.
He will also continue a program of Royal and charitable duties. His first engagement falls on Tuesday next week—a Battle of Britain memorial—which is why many expect him back in town by the weekend.
Another key part of the next few months for Harry will be his role as Honorary President of the Rugby World Cup 2015, which kicks off on September 18.
Harry loves rugby, but it remains to be seen whether such a dramatic change of pace from life in the untamed bush can really work for the 30-year-old royal.
He is said to have told an African conservationist, “I want to spend time out here regularly, it’s become really precious to me,” adding, “This is a recce really. I’m taking a lot of new information back home with me for my brother and me to analyze. We’re going to work out a strategy for doing more in Africa and to encourage new conservation initiatives.”
Will Harry really be able to slip back into the grip-and-grin life of a full-time royal?
There are many who doubt it and suspect that Harry will seek to carve out a medium-term future for himself in Africa, where he can be free of the hated paparazzi.
And the possibility that he might get back together with Chelsy—who was born and raised on the continent to which Harry feels such an affinity—could make such a move seem a whole lot more possible.