The Duke of Sussex has alleged that press intrusion led to his split from ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a Zimbabwean businesswoman whom he dated from 2004 to 2011.
During the second day of questioning in his lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for alleged phone hacking on Tuesday (6 June), Prince Harry blamed the “prying eyes of the tabloids” for ultimately leading to their breakup.
“Our relationship was long distance for the majority of the time we were together, with Chelsy and I often living in different countries, so we relied on communicating by phone a lot,” he said in his 55-page witness statement obtained by The Independent.
“We, naturally, spoke about all types of personal matters, including all aspects of our relationship and this was often through voicemail,” he said. “As my girlfriend, I trusted Chelsy with the most private of information and visa versa.”
Prince Harry accused MGN of “blagging” the couple’s flight details and hotel bookings, as well as intercepting their voicemails after journalists turned up while they holidayed on a small island off Mozambique.
“We were never on our own and able to enjoy each other’s company away from the prying eyes of the tabloids. This put a huge amount of unnecessary stress and strain on our relationship.”
He continued: “At no point did I have a girlfriend or a relationship with anyone without the tabloids getting involved and ultimately trying to ruin it using whatever unlawful means at their disposal.”
But who is Chelsy Davy and when did she date Prince Harry?
Who is Chelsy Davy?
Chelsy Davy, 36, is a businesswoman hailing from Zimbabwe. She was born in the African nation and grew up on her family’s game reserve.
She spent her teenage years in England attending boarding school at Cheltenham College, before later moving to Stowe School in Buckinghamshire.
Davy then received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Cape Town in 2006 and a law degree from the University of Leeds in 2009.
How long did Chelsy Davy and Prince Harry date?
The pair dated on and off for seven years, between 2004 and 2011
Davy met Prince Harry in Cape Town in 2004 during his gap year. After meeting, the pair began dating and she took on a degree in law at the University of Leeds, which allowed her to be closer to Harry.
During the subsequent years, Davy was seen at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where Harry completed 44 weeks of training in 2005.
She was also said to have met the Queen at a society wedding during the time they dated, and she was by Harry’s side during the Diana memorial concert in 2007. She was also invited to the then-Prince Charles’s 60th birthday.
In Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare, released in 2023, the royal wrote that he warmed to Davy because she seemed “wholly unconcerned with appearances” or “royalty”.
“Unlike so many girls I met, she wasn’t visibly fitting herself for a crown the moment she shook my hand. She seemed immune to that common affliction sometimes called throne syndrome,” Harry wrote.
“I’d always wanted to know what it might be like to meet a woman and not have her eyes widen at the mention of my title but instead to widen them myself, using my mind, my heart. With Chelsy, that seemed a real possibility. Not only was she uninterested in my title, she seemed bored by it. ‘Oh, you’re a prince? Yawn.’”
Why did Chelsy Davy and Prince Harry split up?
Speaking to the Times in 2017, Davy said of the press attention she received while with Prince Harry: “It was so full-on: crazy and scary and uncomfortable. I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope.”
She added: “I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.”
It’s reported that William and Kate getting engaged and the media frenzy that surrounded the royal wedding is what drove Davy to end things with Harry for good.
Throughout his High Court trial, Prince Harry has made several bombshell claims about the publisher of the Daily Mirror, such as using unlawful information-gathering to leak details about his personal life.
Harry accused MGN of “blagging” the couple’s flight details and hotel bookings, as well as intercepting their voicemails after journalists turned up while they holidayed on a small island off Mozambique.
“I remember that whenever Chelsy and I went on a trip to Bazaruto, a small island off the coast of Mozambique, to try and get away from all the madness and enjoy some peace and quiet, journalists and photographers from MGN and the other tabloids would literally turn up and book into the hotel before we got there,” he claimed. “I now believe they had blagged our flight details and hotel bookings and/or intercepted our voicemails.”
Following the breakup, Davy has remained close pals with the younger members of the royal family, attending Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018 and Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank later that year.
What is Chelsy Davy doing now?
Following the break up in 2011, Davy went on to be a trainee solicitor for London law firm Allen & Overy. She left her position at the firm in late 2014.
Davy then spent some time studying at the Gemological Institute of America in California, before launching her jewellery brand, AYA, in 2016.
The AYA site says: “Raised in Zimbabwe, Chelsy has always had a great affinity for the continent of her birth. Having travelled extensively through Africa, immersing herself in the different cultures of many countries like Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania, she has been deeply inspired by its beauty; both in the land, and in its people.”
The brand includes pieces with emeralds from Zambia and rubies from Mozambique, all sourced through ethical mining.
She later branched out the AYA brand into the luxury travel sector too, telling Tatler in 2020: “It’s an organic progression from the jewellery. Africa is where I’m from, where my family is from; it’s my heritage and I’ve always been interested in tourism and conservation.”
She then founded Aya Africa, a bespoke luxury travel company that is dubbed to curate experiences of “authentic African exploration”.
In January 2022, Davy gave birth to her first child – a son named Leo, with her boyfriend of three years hotelier Sam Cutmore-Scott. In May of that same year, the pair wed in a secret ceremony.
A friend of the couple disclosed the news to TheDaily Mail’s Richard Eden, saying: “Very few people knew about the wedding.”