Oct. 8, 2013 at 11:01 AM ET
Whether Britain’s “partying Prince” Harry plans to marry his steady squeeze remains to be seen, but the rumors swirling around the couple have led one question to rise above the others: Who is Cressida Bonas, and has the most eligible royal met his match in her?
A socialite with a bohemian vibe, Bonas has been the prince’s constant companion since her good friend and Harry’s cousin, Princess Eugenie, introduced them in May 2012. The couple stepped out publicly as a couple weeks later at the European premiere of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Now, the fourth in line to the throne reportedly plans to get more serious with Bonas, according to a recent story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.
The latest in a string of blondes favored by Prince Harry, Bonas, 24, is an aristocratic socialite and model from a wealthy banking family. Her mother is Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon, the daughter of the 6th Earl Howe. Her father, businessman Jeffrey Bonas, was the third of four men Curzon married and divorced.
Bonas graduated from Leeds University, where she studied dance. She has stuck by her prince despite fractious phases for the two – such as when naked pictures of Harry emerged in British tabloids last year during a romp in Las Vegas.
Harry, 29, left shortly afterward for a four-month military tour in Afghanistan. The couple reportedly kept in constant telephone contact during the separation, which apparently deepened the bond between the two. Upon Harry’s return, the couple spent a holiday at a Swiss ski resort where they photographed sharing numerous affectionate moments.
In addition to catching the public’s eye for her love life, Bonas has also captured attention for her quirky, carefree style. While she knows how to glam it up for red carpet events, Bonas is just as likely to be photographed in denim overalls and long maxi gowns. Lately, she has been throwing off a late-80’s vibe, often sporting the accessory staple of that fashion era – the scrunchie – to tie back her disheveled mane.
While recent media reports indicate Prince Harry has been eager to get married and shed his most eligible bachelor title, Bonas reportedly has expressed concern that she is too young to settle down.
While she seems to have no problem being photographed, she often goes out of her way to avoid getting snapped with her princely boyfriend.
“She was reluctant to play to the paparazzi,” royal expert Robert Jobson, author of “The New Royal Family — Prince George, William and Kate, The Next Generation,” told TODAY.com.
“She and Harry did not want to give them anything or make their relationship front page news,” he said. “No posed pictures are harder to publish and shows they regarded the paparazzi intruding on their privacy.”
But paparazzi are a familiar presence for Bonas – whose last boyfriend was another blue blood, Harry Wentworth-Stanley – and her family. One of her four half-siblings is sister Pandora Cooper-Key, an accessories designer for Vivienne Westwood. Another half-sister, Isabella Calthorpe, was rumoured to have caused the rift that led Harry’s brother, Prince William, to temporarily break up with the former Kate Middleton early in their relationship. But the Duchess of Cambridge has nothing to worry about these days: Isabella recently married the son of British business magnate and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson.
Bonas’ posh upbringing may come in handy if she does get engaged, but very few things can prepare a woman for becoming a princess, said Jobson, who said Bonas will need to lean on her future husband if the two decide to get hitched.
“Marrying a high profile royal is a unique experience. The way it transformed the lives of Diana, Fergie and Kate has shown that,” he said. “It will be a media maelstrom. She will need all the help of Harry.”