Never mind moving to Toronto, Prince Harry would be far happier if he just stopped googling himself


In my former role as Labrador correspondent for Tatler, I often wrote about Prince Harry. Somebody would trot into the office on a Monday morning and declare that Harry had snogged their friend Biffy’s sister at a hunt ball in Gloucestershire that weekend and off I went, tracking down a major story for the next issue. Once, on hearing that Harry had been spotted with a brunette Sloane instead of a blonde Sloane in a South Kensington club, the magazine’s art director designed a swirling hair colour chart, much as you’d see in a hairdressers, to illustrate the young prince’s journey through his various romances.

It seems less riotously amusing now, huh? Little wonder they’re off. Years of similar stories have become so boring that Harry and Meghan have lopped the HRH from their titles, are paying back the £2.4 million renovation costs spent on their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage and a new life in Canada beckons. I maintain that keeping the “duke” and “duchess” titles still makes them fairly posh, but perhaps the Canadians will just think they have weird middle names.

There has been a lot of guff written recently and, although the couple are moving away, there will continue to be plenty of noise surrounding them. There was one detail about Harry in an article last week, however, which reminded me of something I’d been told before — he reads every word written about him. It might even have been Biffy who told me this, I can’t remember. But last week’s piece, by an authoritative and long-standing royal reporter revealed he has also started reading the comments section on certain websites. “If it’s being said about me, then I want to know it,” he told the reporter.

I don’t profess to be the oracle on, well, anything really, apart from Labradors. But reading stuff about yourself on the internet? Harry, that way madness lies. Years ago, I read a comment about me underneath a piece along these lines: “If we must read drivel from a posh bird, can we at least have one who looks less like a horse?” To be fair, I do have a long face. But after that I gave up on the comments section and, as someone with a ludicrous and incendiary name, nor do I ever search for myself online. Who knows, Google would probably just chuck back a few photos of Shergar.

Why go looking for trouble? One comment, one sentence, one word can colour your whole day, or week. Longer. David Baddiel wrote an excellent piece about trolling at the weekend and quoted several who’d attacked him. OK, he’s got a tour to promote and he admits it’s good for his material but, also, he remembers the barbs because they hurt. Of course Harry will be angry if he’s read even a little of the stuff that people have spaffed on the internet about him and his wife. And he doesn’t just get trolls. He gets front page headlines, viral Twitter gags, Instagram parodies, and bossy columnists telling him to stop reading any of them.