Settle Down

Prince Harry’s Wild, Partying Pals—And How They Were Tamed

Prince Harry once partied hard with a close group of friends, including most notoriously, getting nude in Las Vegas. Now, aging and marriage seems to have calmed them all down.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

They were once the toast of London’s party scene, famed for their wealth, good looks, impeccable social connections and wild party habits.

But, in recent years, Harry’s gang of mates, known as his wingmen, have quietly given up their bachelor lives and settled down.

On Saturday, Harry will join their ranks, ringing in his wedding with the party of the year.

So what’s become of the former wild bunch?

Guy Pelly

Guy Pelly has long enjoyed a reputation as the royal mischief maker-in-chief. Although he didn’t go to school with Harry and William, they have been friends since at least 2001, when he met William riding in the Beaufort Hunt, which hunts grounds near Prince Charles’s country home, Highgrove. His mother, Vanda, lives just down the road.

Despite three criminal convictions and a string of business failures connected to his life as a nightclub promoter, he remains one of the closest confidantes of the young royals.

Pelly is the man the brothers turn to when they want a blowout—he organised William’s stag do and has coordinated boozy ski trips for the brothers. He made his name as party boy when, aged 21, he stripped to his boxers and climbed over the top of a marquee during a Prince’s Trust concert—at which Prince Charles was present.

I’ve been married for two years and I’m leaving it to the next generation

He mooned a polo match and when Harry wore his regrettable Nazi uniform, Pelly was at his side dressed as the Queen. Pelly has been banned from driving three times, once for speeding and twice for drink-driving. Despite his endless bad behavior, he is adored by William and Harry for keeping his mouth shut.  

Pelly has calmed down, friends say, since his 2014 wedding in Memphis to the Holiday Inn heiress wife, Lizzy Wilson. They have one child, Willow.

Recently, he declared his nightclub days are over, saying: “I’ve been married for two years and I’m leaving it to the next generation.”

Tom Inskip

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!

Daily Digest

Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast.

Cheat Sheet

A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don't).

By clicking “Subscribe,” you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

Tom “Skippy” Inskip has been one of Harry’s closest pals since Eton, and the two share a love of daft pranks.

When Harry was snapped lobbing snowballs at passers-by from a hotel balcony at a ski resort, Skippy, who is also close mates with Pelly, was by his side. When Prince Harry jumped fully clothed into a swimming pool in a Croatian nightclub, Skippy was cheering him on from dry land. He was on the famous Vegas trip when Harry was photographed naked.

Last year, however, Skippy resigned his role as Harry’s chief wingman when he married literary agent Lara Hughes-Young at a lavish ceremony in Jamaica.

Harry acted as an usher, and brought Meghan to the wedding—it was the first time she had met many of his close friends. Inskip is also a good pal of William’s and organized his bachelor party before his wedding to Kate Middleton. Skippy now works in finance in the City of London.

Thomas van Straubenzee

Known simply to his mates as “Van,”  Thomas van Straubenzee is one of the Prince's closest friends and hit the headlines when he was robbed of his phone while making a call to Harry—and Harry dashed to the scene of the crime to help his mate. Harry’s security men, impressively, detained the attacker.

It was originally Van’s younger brother Henry, who was Harry’s best pal at prep school, while Tom was William’s mate (they went on their gap year to New Zealand together and Tom is Princess Charlotte’s godfather) but when Henry died, aged 18, in a car crash, Tom became close to Harry as well.

Van has been friends with William and Harry since they were in short trousers at Ludgrove Prep School and is one of the few people who have been through it all with the brothers, who are patrons of a memorial fund launched in tribute his brother.

Van married Lady Melissa “Missy” Percy in 2013 at her ancestral home Alnwick Castle (the set of Hogwarts in the early Harry Potter films) but they divorced just two years later, making him one of the few of Harry’s pals still on the market.

James Meade

Prince Harry’s Nazi uniform gaffe happened at a “Colonials and Natives”-themed bash which was held to mark his friend James Meade’s 21st birthday. Reportedly known as “Badger,” Meade is good friends with Harry and William—and his wife gets along famously with Kate.

They have a standing invite to church on Christmas Day at Sandringham (they live nearby). He is married to Lady Laura Marsham, daughter of the Earl of Romney. William was an usher at their 2013 wedding.

Arthur Landon

Arthur Landon sprang to fame after he posted a picture of his travel bag to his Facebook page ahead of a certain trip with a certain prince to Las Vegas. Landon—who is one of the richest young men in England, thanks to having inherited a small village in Hampshire, Faccombe, and a grouse moor from his father—posted a picture of his “dubious” suitcase and itemized the contents as: “2x flip flops, 3x board shorts, 8x fancy-dress outfits, 1x toothbrush, 1x toothpaste, 10x awesomeness.” He also packed a fancy dress gas mask.

I think it is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry's hospitality and then take these pictures. I know it has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday.

Landon later told the Daily Telegraph: “I think it is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry’s hospitality and then take these pictures. I know it has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday.”

Sam Branson

Sir Richard Branson’s youngest son, Sam, is a good friend of Harry’s and will be at the wedding on Saturday. He married Isabella Calthorpe, a former girlfriend of Prince William’s, in 2013 and they have a child, Eva Deia.

His reputation as a party-loving friend of the Prince was made when a big gang of his friends, including Harry, descended on Necker Island for his 27th birthday party and a photograph of a person, who man identified as Harry due to a distinctive pair of board shorts, was posted on social media by Arthur Landon (qv), with a caption suggesting it was the “perfect start” to their holiday.  

Sam has left his party boy days behind as he prepares to take over his father’s business and philanthropic empire.