Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas at the rugby union match between England and Wales at Twickenham, London. England won 29-18. (Reuters)
March 10: Another public show of affection between Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas saw bookies slash their odds of an announcement this year.
The rest of the crowd at Twickenham, London, may have been glued to England’s thrilling rugby union match against Wales, but Cressida Bonas only had eyes for Prince Harry as she was seen in public with him for the second time in three days.
The couple, who have previously done their best to avoid being photographed together, will be aware that their public display of affection can only increase speculation that they are preparing the ground for a future royal wedding.
Bookmakers have slashed the odds on an engagement announcement in 2014 to just 8/13 and the Prince, at 29, is approaching the age at which most members of the royal family are already married.
On Friday Bonas, a 24-year-old dance graduate, accompanied the prince to an official engagement for the first time, in what was interpreted as a clear sign that the couple are increasingly confident in their relationship.
On that occasion, Bonas posed happily for photographers and kissed the prince at the launch of the We Day UK young people’s charity event at Wembley Arena, where Harry addressed 12,000 students.
During performances by the singers Ellie Goulding and Dizzee Rascal, Harry and Bonas sat in a VIP area with Princess Beatrice and Bonas’s half sister Isabella Calthorpe and her husband Sam Branson.
The couple have been dating for two years, but have in the past done everything in their power to avoid being photographed together, entering and leaving venues separately whenever possible.
Bonas, casually dressed and with her nails painted black, appeared entirely relaxed in the knowledge that cameras were trained on her in the early spring sunshine.
Bonas, a graduate of Leeds University, is the daughter of Sixties model Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, daughter of the late Earl Howe, and her ex-husband Jeffrey Bonas, chairman of the haberdashery firm MacCulloch & Wallis.
She was introduced to the prince by his cousin Princess Eugenie, who is part of her social circle.
Bonas works in Soho, where she has a job in marketing, and reportedly has a security pass for Kensington Palace, Harry’s London home, though she lives with one of her sisters. Two years ago, at around the time Harry began dating Bonas, he complained about the difficulty of finding a partner who would be willing to put up with the scrutiny of being a prospective member of the royal family.
In an interview with US television, he said: “I’m not so much searching for someone to fulfil the role, but obviously, you know, finding someone that would be willing to take it on.”
His relationship with his only previous long-term girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, ended in 2009 when she decided she did not to want to live with the constraints attached to the royal family.
That experience made Harry all the more determined to protect future girlfriends from too much public exposure until they were ready to cope with it.