Ask anyone in the royal press pack who is their favourite member of the Queen’s family and most will probably nominate Prince Harry.
Here’s just one reason why. Last June when Prince William and Prince Harry went to southern Africa we went to cover the fun, frolics and the fantastic work they both do for their charities down there.
Botswana was the fun part – When we went to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve they both put on a show for the photographers, wrapping an enormous python around their necks.
Prankster Harry was first to let the snake coil around his body, then grabbed its head and turned it towards a protesting William. Harry’s horseplay gave us one of the best pictures of the tour, so I’ll bet William’s stag party last weekend, with his brother calling the shots, was a real riot.
On the African trip William wanted to show his brother the work he does for the Tusk Trust saving endangered species like elephant and rhino, and Harry regularly has holidays in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, so is just as passionate about its wildlife.
We were all having a great laugh until we flew on to Lesotho where Harry showed William why he set up his charity Sentebale (which means ‘Forget Me Not’) which cares for orphaned children in a country where AIDs has made life expectancy just 34 years. That’s when the jokes stopped and the serious work began.
While meeting some of these youngsters, both princes were asked to write down their secret dreams. William joked around, scribbling nothing very revealing but Harry wrote words straight from his heart.
He wrote,’ I want to live in Africa’ and that he dreamed of becoming ‘a wildlife photographer.’
That’s typically Harry, always open and honest. What you see is what you get. William, not surprisingly, is more guarded.
In Africa both brothers were more relaxed than usual. They loved being together because their Armed Forces careers mean they see little of each other now.
It was the first official tour the Princes had done together, and, sadly, I now suspect it will be the last.
Once William is married he will tour with his new wife Kate and Harry will be left to carry on alone. Well, have you ever seen the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York on a trip abroad together lately?
The third in line to the throne now becomes Britain’s hottest bachelor with scores of Harry Hunters prowling London nightspots hoping to hook him.
But I suspect the only girl he really cares about is Chelsy Davy and that is not just because she is a gorgeous, brainy blonde. Zimbabwean-born Chelsy’s father runs a safari company so she has shared unforgettable holidays with Harry in unspoiled areas of southern Africa.
Chelsy is the unpretentious type who would genuinely rather be roughing it on a camping trip in Namibia than hanging out at Mahiki.
She gets homesick for the sunshine and vast empty spaces of her homeland, and who can blame her? Harry feels the same. For a prince living under the fierce spotlight forever focussed on the royal family, Africa means real freedom, a dream come true.
When William has children of his own, Harry, like his uncle Prince Andrew, will drop further down the line of succession and, unless he finds a meaningful role for himself, will be surplus to the Crown’s requirements.
So, my secret dream is that one day Harry will get a job that requires him to live for extended periods in southern Africa. He isn’t destined to be king, so why not let him lead the life he really yearns for?