If there is one thing the Royal Family hates, it is publicity and self-promotion by those who are distantly affiliated with it (see Fergie, Pippa Middleton et al.).
So there could hardly be a clearer way for Cressida Bonas, the former girlfriend of Prince Harry, to telegraph to the world the fact that she and the royal he really are through, than by appearing in a short film for the iconic British fashion brand Mulberry.
Friends say that her decision to star in the movie is very much about letting the world know she is coming out of Harry’s shadow and is determined to move on with her own career as a dancer and performer.
Indeed, Cressida herself has said how happy she was to be asked to make the advert, saying, "It was great to be approached for the project,” and added that that the short film is about a girl who “just wants to dance for the joy of it” and to “feel free.”
It’s clear that for Cressida, making the decision to star in this short film was inspired by a similar desire to “feel free.”
In the under 2-minute film, entitled “Cressida Bonas and the Buttercup Dress,” which was directed for Mulberry by young up-and-comer Ivana Bobic, Cressida dances up and around a grass staircase set up in a disused warehouse in London’s fashionable Shoreditch district.
Blue-blooded Cressida is an intelligent “get” for Mulberry’s incoming creative director, Johnny Coca, as the brand, which has struggled to define itself in recent years, is now clearly seeking to emphasise its British credentials. “She’s the right stock, and the Harry connection gives her a leg-up of course,” says a fashion consultant.
Although Cressida is unlikely have to been paid a great deal for the work—fashion insiders speculate she may have received around £10,000 for the ad “if Mulberry were feeling generous,” as one says—every penny counts for Cressida. Her family are aristocratic but not rich, and one of the issues with dating Harry, friends say, was that she was as unwilling to have him constantly pick up the tab as she was unable to afford his often millionaire-y lifestyle.
But whilst the money is no doubt welcome for Cressida, the real purpose of the Mulberry video is that it confirms that Cressida is now well and truly out from under Royal control, a restriction that always grated on the free-spirited 25-year-old. It also is helpful in that it shows she is not just a pretty, well-connected face, but really can dance as well.
Although Harry and the palace never explicitly briefed Cressida on what she could and couldn’t do, she was well aware that any form of public performing would have been impossible while she was dating Harry.
She actually stopped looking for acting work, and took a job in a Soho art gallery when she and Harry were dating to avoid attracting negative commentary. But now, after a painful breakup that dragged on for many months last summer, everything is looking up for Cressida.
Cressida has cemented her split with Harry by reconnecting with her ex, Harry Wentworth-Stanley, a surveyor with property company Savills. The “other Harry” is the son of Clare Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven.
Cressida has also thrown herself back into acting, taking a part in a surrealist comedy entitled There’s a Monster in The Lake, in which she played a bureaucratic wolf inhabiting an elderly man’s imagination. Cressida received positive reviews.
But her big break will come later this year with a small part in Harvey Weinstein’s new movie, Tulip Fever.
Weinstein said: “Cressida is great and people will see what a fantastic actress she is. It will be the first of many roles for her. She is not taking advantage of any media profile.”