Attentive readers will recall that as recently as two days ago the Royalist was predicting that the Christmas party season could be a tricky time for those tasked with protecting Harry.
The grapevine has been buzzing with reports for weeks now that the prince has been back on the party circuit, rumors that were confirmed this week when he was spotted having late boozy nights out on two occasions. There also has been speculation that Harry was experiencing frustration with his army desk job, but sources were quick to quash stories that he might be returning to flying helicopters as an antidote to his rediscovered appetite for good times.
So it is no great surprise to report that on Tuesday night, Harry was out with a group of friends at London’s poshest private club, 5 Hertford Street, and was seen strutting his stuff on the dance floor of the club’s private disco, Lou Lou’s.
“He wasn’t exactly twerking, but he was definitely giving it some,” says one source. “He was surrounded by quite a lot of rugger-bugger types. They were all getting cocktails in.”
(Allow me to translate: A “rugger-bugger” is posh slang for a burly, public school-educated jock who looks like he might have the build to be good at playing rugby, the British answer to football.)
Harry looked relaxed and happy as he partied with his mates, and thanks to the venue’s multiple exit points, he was presumably able to slip out of the club unnoticed by the paps who work that particular beat.
Then, on Thursday night, Harry was out again—but this time, unfortunately, he did get papped as he left Raffles nightclub in Chelsea. He only came into the club at about 2 a.m., and left at 3:10, after drinking Dom Pérignon Champagne.
Harry looked distinctly worse for wear as he came out of the club and was hustled into a car by nightclub staff and his waiting security detail.
In one of the shots the nightclub bouncer appears to have his arm around Harry’s waist as he guides him to the car.
Taking two big nights out during the week in public venues—even though it should be noted that both Lou Lou’s and Raffles are private members’ clubs, and therefore able to enforce a strict no-pictures policy—is a departure for the prince, who, ever since the Vegas debacle, has been careful to do his drinking behind closed doors.
It comes after he unwisely allowed himself to be photographed smoking a shisha pipe after the Formula 1 final in the UAE.
Thursday’s club night came after an emotional day attending the annual fundraising carol service for his childhood friend Henry van Straubenzee, who died at 18 in a car crash 12 years ago. The service, at which royal friend Ellie Goulding performed, was also in Chelsea.
Raffles is one of London’s older clubs, having been founded in 1967 by restaurateur Peter Evans. Previous guests include Harry’s grandmother the queen, his father, Prince Charles; Princess Anne; and Princess Margaret.
But coming out of it at 3 a.m. on a school night is not a good look for the prince.