Cressida Bonas and Prince Harry are set to make their relationship even more public, if new reports are to be believed, as the socialite has reportedly been invited along to a dinner the Prince is holding to honour those who joined him on his recent trek to the South Pole.
Harry, who is patron of the Walking With The Wounded charity, took part in the arduous two week 208 mile trek just before Christmas. He's now going to be a dinner for the charity at St James' Palace with insiders claiming he's told the blonde she's more than welcome to attend. "Harry has told Cressida she is welcome to come along," a royal insider told the Mail On Sunday. "Harry and his mates went through thick and thin together, so the dinner party will be a really relaxed and jovial affair. But there is no doubt that it will be a Royal banquet, albeit a private one."
The source has gone so far as to say she'll be co-hosting the event with the prince, at least unofficially. "Because she is Harry's girlfriend, Cressida's very presence at a dinner hosted by him would position her into the role of co-host," they speculated. The dinner is to be held on 27 March. We're sure the private affair will be a night to remember as the trek certainly made an impression on the 29 year-old royal. Speaking in a recent ITV documentary about the trek Harry admitted it was harder than he'd anticipated.
"I thought I could just come out here and just crack on and see it through without any issues, make sure I'm here for the guys when they need me," he said, "But yeah, I'm frustrated and disappointed in myself. It really does prove quite how mentally and physically tough these guys are."
What began as a race to the South Pole between three teams of combat veterans, including Prince Harry, turned into a struggle for survival.
Matt Lauer will host an exclusive prime time special, "Prince Harry's South Pole Heroes," airing Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. Viewers will be taken along as the royal and a group of veterans embark on an arduous 130-mile trip to the South Pole with the charity Walking With The Wounded.
In a preview of the special, Harry and the three teams, the members of which include an amputee, a suicide bombing survivor, a blind paratrooper and a soldier with a brain injury, struggle to overcome the tough terrain, grueling pace and threatening conditions, where temperatures of minus 40 degrees inflict frostbite within seconds.
“Right at the beginning of this, our aim was to get 12 wounded individuals to the Pole,” Ed Parker, co-founder of Walking With The Wounded, said during the trek. “If we go on like this, we are simply not going to do it.” Harry showed off a large blister on the ball of his foot. "I can't even begin to tell you how painful that is," he said, "but I count myself lucky I have got feet."
Harry gives a thumbs up during the trek.
In a sweet moment, Harry's team headed to Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth before setting off for Antarctica. Harry ribbed his teammates in front of his granny, and she offered some advice."I don't know how they are going to get me out of the sleeping bag," said Ivan Castro, who's from Puerto Rico. "Do be careful of the crevasses and such that one might find," the queen told him.
Kate Middleton. Carole Middleton, Cressida Bonas and Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon
Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon – you can call her MG – is the mother of Cressida Bonas and the daughter of the 6th Earl Howe, politician and godson of Edward VII. Lady Mary-Gaye was born in 1947 and went to the prestigious Heathfield School for girls. The family seat is Penn House in Buckinghamshire but the current Howe earldom goes back only as far as the 19th century.
Lady Mary-Gaye has never worked except on her charities (though she did have a blue cocktail named after her at Claridge’s). But handily, she is heiress to the Curzon banking fortune.
MG has been married not once, not twice but four times, with five children (and four divorces) to show for it. The gentlemen concerned were aristocrat Esmond Cooper-Key (1971-76), property magnate John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe (1977-86), businessman Jeffrey Bonas (1988-94) and financier Christopher Shaw (1996-2000). She now dates PR man David McDonough. Her fourth husband once announced to a room: “Mary-Gaye is a difficult wife, as many of you here will know...”
Lady Mary-Gaye in 1965 at the debutante party of Camilla Shand – now Duchess of Cornwall
Despite a racy past that includes an apparently topless photograph for a 1960s book called Birds of Britain (geddit?), MG’s style today is what you might call buttoned-up Sloane. Elegant and sophisticated with blonde, shoulder-length hair that takes years off her, she’s not afraid of a splash of colour when the occasion demands.
Lady MG definitely knows how to work a crowd. Her tent at Ascot was always the biggest, with a fully-fitted kitchen, while her parties with fourth husband Christopher Shaw were the stuff of legend. First on the dance floor at royal weddings? Don’t bet against it.
Lady Mary-Gaye recently with her partner David McDonough
Soon after Cressida Bonas attended her first official engagement with Prince Harry, shadowy ‘royal sources’ were quick to dampen expectations that it signalled an engagement announcement. However, I hear that the couple’s relationship has taken a more serious turn.‘There is a family gathering to discuss an engagement,’ claims a member of Cressida’s large extended clan. ‘The announcement will be sooner than many people think.’
One of the 25-year-old dancer’s close friends tells me: ‘Harry and Cressida will be married. It is all going ahead. It is just a matter of time.’ The daughter of aristocratic Sixties model Lady Mary Gaye Curzon and businessman Jeffrey Bonas was photographed cuddling up to Harry last month at the WE Day UK youth event at Wembley Arena, where he gave the keynote speech.
While the couple have been secretive in the past, arriving separately at parties, this time they were happy to be photographed cuddling and displaying open signs of affection. The next day, she accompanied him to Twickenham to watch England play rugby. A source at Balmoral told me recently that the Prince was planning to take Cressida to the Queen’s Scottish retreat this summer. It would be her first visit and likely to involve a meeting with Her Majesty. ‘It is the talk of the estate,’ I was told.
Cressida is thought to be visiting Balmoral this summer with Harry, a rite of passage for any future Royal bride. Kate holidayed there with William in 2010 and the marriage was announced a month afterwards
It is rumoured that Prince Harry is planning to take Miss Bonas to Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish retreat, this summer. It would be her first visit and would be likely to involve a meeting with the Queen. Visits to the 49,000-acre Highland estate are a rite of passage for royal brides-to-be. Kate Middleton and her parents were invited to join Prince William on a private shooting party in October 2010 – a month before their engagement announcement. It was reported last year that Miss Bonas had overcome her reservations about marrying into the Royal Family. “Cressie is going to marry Harry,” an unnamed friend told a newspaper. “Harry never stops talking about marriage and children, and she’s now got used to the idea. The wedding is likely to take place next year.”
Prince Harry and Mayor of London Boris Johnson play around in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park ahead of its official opening.
Joined by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Harry, 29, wasted no time testing out the new adventure playground, joining youngsters on the climbing frames and playing in the park. When quizzed on whether Harry would bring his Prince George to the park, the royal uncle said that if he did it would "probably cause chaos". "I’m sure he'll have his chance to come down here," added Harry. "You never know, the Olympics might be back here before we know it."
Harry's visit comes a day before 560 acre park is set to open to the public for the first time since the end of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. In the months following the sporting extravaganza, the park has been converted for visitors to use, explore and enjoy. The northern half of the park will be re-opened, including the Lee Valley VeloPark, the Aquatics Centre and Cooper Box Arena, while the south section of the park will features a picturesque new tree-lined walkway, interactive water fountains, children’s playground and four themed walking trails.
The royal also accompanied the Duchess of Cambridge at the games' closing ceremony as Prince William carried out his RAF Search and Rescue duties in Anglesey. Harry's London engagement is his first since he jetted off for a romantic skiing break with his girlfriend Cressida Bonas. The couple flew by helicopter to the exclusive resort of Shymbulak, a luxury chalet located in the mountains above the city of Almaty