In a safe, dimly-lit space full of men – gathered in a tight circle to film a discussion for the mental health charity CALM – the Duke of Cambridge dropped a bombshell last night. Prince Harry, he said, has “not yet” asked him to fill the role of best man at his wedding to Meghan Markle in May. In 2011, you will remember fondly, Harry acted as de-facto best man (it is never an official title at royal nuptials) at his brother’s wedding to the Duchess of Cambridge, and the pair are notoriously close. News that there has been no decision yet, then, introduces the possibility that Harry is going rogue. Could it be that the fifth-in-line is entrusting somebody else to hire the stripper, find the handcuffs, order the Jägerbombs, embarrass him with an ill-judged speech and cop off with Meghan’s maid-of-honour? And if not Will, who? There are options, so let’s consider the current runners and riders.
One of Harry’s oldest friends, including the party years, the ruddy-cheeked Pelly is certain to be attending in May, but whether he’d be entrusted with the top job remains to be seen. Pelly owns the louche, hyper-expensive Sloane Square bar Tonteria. He’s capable of organising a stag-do, then, and that’s half the battle. Don’t rule him out.
Harry and Meghan have reportedly been warned against even inviting Barack Obama to the wedding, for fear of potentially upsetting Donald Trump. That edict might not sit well with the groom, however, given he and Obama have been kindling a strong bromance over the past two years. There have been interviews, sweet little videos, and invitations to one another’s houses. So, in what would be a troll move for all times, he could make him best man. Imagine the tweet storm. Imagine.
Surely the obvious choice if William chooses to attend the FA Cup final instead. Tom ‘Skippy’ Inskip and Harry have been friends since they were at Eton together, and were inseparable throughout the Prince’s ‘party years’. Like his kangaroo namesake, Skippy is always close to the action. He was there for the naked photos in Las Vegas. He was there in 2011, when Harry jumped into a Croatian swimming pool fully clothed, and he was there when Harry threw snowballs from a hotel balcony later that year. It was reported that Harry acted as best man for Inskip at the latter’s wedding to Lara Hughes-Young last year. Will he return the favour? Will he?
The inordinately wealthy son of Austro-Hungarian Princess Katalina Esterhazy de Galantha and the late Brigadier Tim Landon (who made his fortune helping a coup in Oman), Arthur Landon is another old friend of Harry’s, and another who was there on the infamous Vegas holiday. ‘I obviously think it is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry’s hospitality and then take these pictures,’ he said of the ensuing naked photo scandal. ‘I know it has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday.’ Still, he’d have some good stories for the speech.
A friend of Prince Harry’s since they served together in the military, Blunt performed at the Invictus Games (he declared on Twitter that Harry texted to invite him) in 2016. Three years earlier, Harry took his ex-girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, to Blunt’s gig in Notting Hill. No wonder they didn’t work out.
Another pal from Eton, who also happens to be a firm family friend: his father, John, is the Queen’s racing manager and his godmother was Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. Warren’s mother is Lady Carolyn Warren, daughter of the late 7th Earl of Carnarvon. His father runs Highclere Stud in Berkshire, in the shadow of Highclere Castle, where Jake now works too. Bonus Harry clan tidbit: Warren’s sister, Susanna, is an ex-girlfriend of Guy Pelly.
Described as an “Ex London-Welsh rugby player now stockbroker” in his Twitter biography, Bidwell, 41, is another ‘Vegas Veteran’ with potentially Harry-themed scandals up his sleeve. Bidwell, who is also a keen charity fundraiser, is a former boyfriend of the singer Katherine Jenkins, and has regularly attended rugby matches with Harry. In 2013 he took on Fred Andrews, Sir Richard Branson’s shipbroker son-in-law, in a charity boxing match at Boodles. Bidwell lost.
One lucky member of the public
As two of the more down-to-earth members of the senior Royal Family,who said they’re keen to make the British public feel “part of the celebrations” on their wedding day, might Harry and Meghan create some kind of ballot system for a lucky ‘normal’ to stand at their side in St. George’s Chapel? For reasons related to security, class, tradition and sense, the chances are absolutely infinitesimal, but that’s not zero.