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Prince Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas marries in country ceremony

While the Royal Family spent the weekend reeling from claims made in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell biography, his actress ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas quietly married her strapping fiancé in a private countryside wedding. 

Cressida, 31, who famously dated the Duke of Sussex, 35, for three years until 2014, tied the knot with Harry Wentworth-Stanley, the estate agent son of the Marchioness of Milford Haven, at the exclusive Cowdray Park, in Midhurst, West Sussex. 

The intimate nuptials sit in stark contrast to the media furore surrounding Cressida’s royal ex, 35, and his wife Meghan Markle, 38, and the publication of their explosive biography, Finding Freedom, which lays bare their rift with the Royal Family.

A friend of the bride and groom told MailOnline Cressida wanted to marry in private because she was aware Prince Harry was in the news this weekend due to the explosive biography and wanted to avoid being in the spotlight.  

The ‘very different’ approaches to publicity has prompted speculation from royal fans over what life might have been like if Harry had married Cressida. 

Prince Harry and Cressida split in 2014, reportedly because Cressida was tired of the scrutiny that came with dating a member of the royal family. However the couple remain on good terms and socialise in similar circles, with Princess Eugenie, who introduced the couple, among Cressida’s closest friends. 

Cressida even attended her ex-boyfriend’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018. 

A family member told MailOnline the just 30 of Cressida and Harry’s closest family and friends attended the ceremony, in keeping with the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

‘It was a beautiful ceremony and they are just so happy,’ the source said. ‘It was a very private and intimate ceremony and that is what they wanted.

‘Cressida looked stunning and was radiant. We are just all so happy for them and it was a great day but they did request that no one talks about it.’  

A friend added: ‘Cressida did not want a big fuss,and did not want others to talk about it. You most certainly will not be seeing her wedding in Hello magazine. She is also was aware that [Prince] Harry is in the headlines and knew the attention her wedding would attract if it leaked out.’ 

The bride’s brother, Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, shared an Instagram photo of the happy couple ‘riding off into their beautiful future’ on horseback. Cressida is seen with her blonde hair pulled back into a casual updo and her simple white dress falling above her knees.

Cowdray estate comprises 16,500 acres and includes the pitches where Harry and brother Prince William often competed during their polo playing days. It also boasts a golf course, farm shop, cafe and holiday cottages.

The stunning 19th century Cowdray House can be rented out for weddings of up to 150 people. 

The estate is owned by Viscount Cowdray, a close friend of the groom’s stepfather and mother, the Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven whose own 1,000 acre estate, Great Trippetts, is less than 10 miles away.  

The Marchioness, Clare Mountbatten, is also an avid polo player and regular at Cowdray Park. Cressida has previously been photographed at the polo park while a guest at charity events. 

It is not known who attended the wedding but the couple both come from large families that would quickly make up the 30 people maximum. 

Cressida is the only child of 1960s ‘It’ Girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon and her third husband, Old Harrovian entrepreneur Jeffrey Bonas. 

The actress, who appeared in ITV drama White House Farm, has three half-brothers from her father Jeffrey Bonas’ first marriage, George, Charles and Henry Bonas. Meanwhile her mother has four children to her first two husbands: Pandora Cooper-Key, daughter of Esmond Cooper-Key, and sculptor Georgiana Anstruther, Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, and Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, the children of property developer John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe. Isabella is married to Sir Richard Branson’s son Sam.  

Harry is the second child of Nick-Wentworth-Stanley and his first wife Clare, now Marchioness of Milford Haven. His older brother James Wentworth-Stanley, took his own life in 2006 at the age of 21, and he has a younger sister, Louisa, born in 1993. 

His father went onto have three more children with his second wife, Mille Brenninkmeyer, while his mother, now Marchioness of Milford Haven, inherited two stepchildren on her marriage to the Queen’s cousin, George Mountbatten.

Cressida, who appeared in this year’s ITV drama White House Farm, announced her engagement to estate agent Harry in August 2019. The couple first dated while studying at university before rekindling their romance in 2017.

In May she hinted that their original wedding had to be postponed due to the current crisis, posting a snap as she and Harry posed in front of an ‘Auto-wed’ machine in fancy dress outfits.

Sharing the photo on Instagram, Cressida wished her beau a happy birthday before commenting: ‘Well, if all else fails there’s always Auto Wed…! Happy birthday my heart. #OneDay.’

In January, Cressida opened up about her plans for the big day, revealing she wanted to have a ‘small’ non-traditional ceremony. 

Writing in The Spectator, she said she ‘upset’ her father by telling him she planned to get hitched under a tree, saying: ‘He looked at me as if I had completely lost the plot, then he insisted that we say our vows in a church.’ 

She said she was stunned that everyone around her seemed to have ‘very strong opinions’ about her wedding, but she disagreed with ‘nearly all of them’. 

The actress said she dreamed of having a small wedding, before realising her guest list, combined with her fiancé’s, comes to 120 people in total. 

Her desired big day is almost the exact opposite of ex-boyfriend Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan in May 2018. 

The royal couple had a huge ceremony at Windsor Chapel, with more than 2,000 guests in attendance, including Cressida. 

Cressida and Prince Harry broke up in 2015 after she was said to have struggled with the pressure of royal life during her romance with the Queen’s grandson. 

After his seven-year relationship with Zimbabwean beauty Chelsy Davy came to an end, Prince Harry found love with Cressida Bonas. 

The couple reportedly started dating in May 2012 after being introduced by Princess Eugenie, the prince’s cousin and a close friend of Cressida’s. Sparks are thought to have flown between Harry, then 28, and Cressida, then 23, at The Valley festival in the grounds of the Hampshire estate of Harry’s friend Arthur Landon.

In the July of that year Harry and Cressida were spotted partying in Mayfair after the star-studded premiere of summer blockbuster Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

Things were definitely heating up because the following month they were both invited to Sam Branson’s birthday party on his father Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the Caribbean. Sam is married to Isabella Calthorpe, Cressida’s half-sister, and enjoys a close relationship with his sister-in-law.

However the couple reportedly hit a rocky patch just shortly after the trip away, when photos emerged showing Prince Harry naked on a Las Vegas holiday. 

Despite the blip, Harry and Cressida remained together and reportedly wrote to each other frequently when the prince was deployed to Afghanistan in September 2012 for his second tour.  

Certainly the bond between them was evident when they were spotted canoodling on the slopes of a Swiss ski resort in February 2013. 

The couple chose to stay largely out of the spotlight and took steps not to be photographed together, such as arriving separately to the wedding of Lady Melissa Percy and Thomas van Straubenzee, Harry’s close childhood friend, at Alnwick, Northumberland. 

The summer of fun continued with trips to Glastonbury and Womad festival in Wiltshire, as well as an outing to watch Mumford and Sons at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Their dates that autumn included watching The Book of Mormon on the West End and a James Blunt gig. 

In one of the greatest shows of the seriousness of their relationship, in October 2013 Cressida was invited to spend the weekend at Sandringham, the Queen’s private Norfolk home. The support of his grandmother was a sign that the prince was committed to Cressida. 

Months later the couple once again spent a weekend with the Bransons, this time at the family’s home in Kidlignton, Oxfordshire.  

The couple appeared to be going from strength to strength because in March 2014 Cressida joined Prince Harry at an official engagement for the first time. She was in the crowd to support him when he launched the WE Day UK young people’s charity event with a speech at Wembley Arena.

That same week the couple famously watched England take on Wales in a Six Nations match at Twickenham and were photographed putting on a romantic display in the stands. 

However the romance wasn’t to last. In April 2014, just a month after the couple returned from a skiing trip to Kazakhstan, sources close to Harry and Cressida had split but remained on good terms. 

It is thought Cressida did not want the level of public scrutiny that came with dating the prince and was keen to carve out her own career. 

In February 2015, Cressida was seen on a Valentine’s Day date with her now husband. Prince Harry met Meghan Markle on a blind date in the summer of 2016. 

Harry and Cressida continued to run in similar social circles, popping up at some of the same society events and weddings. 

Indeed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle even invited Cressida – and Chelsy Davy – to their wedding in May 2018.  

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