The world met Chelsy Davy when she started dating Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, in 2004. She was just 18 years old when she captured the royal’s heart.Things between her and Harry heated up quickly. By 2008, she made her official debut at a royal event — the royal wedding of Harry’s cousin Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly. The couple’s relationship dramatically played out in the press just as the young woman was finding her own place in the world.
Over the course of her courtship with the prince, Davy graduated college and entered the working world. Following the break-up, she pivoted her career and continued her studies. She was also dubbed a London “it girl” and became a regular fixture in the British tabloids.
Despite years in the public eye and under tough media scrutiny, Davy managed to balance her very public relationship with a semi-normal private life. Want to know more about this almost royal? Here is the untold truth of Chelsy Davy.
Chelsy Davy was born and raised in Zimbabwe
Chelsy Davy was born October 13, 1985 to Beverley and Charles Davy in Zimbabwe. Her mom was a former model and her dad a wealthy Zimbabwean businessman. Growing up in Victoria Falls (home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls), Davy described her early years as “an idyllic African childhood” to British magazine Tatler.
However, access to schools was rather limited where they lived, so Chelsy Davy moved to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe with her parents and brother Shaun when she was five years old. She attended what’s called junior school until she was 14, and then continued her studies at a nearby high school.
In 2000, Zimbabwe experienced an internal crisis in which squatters began to seize white-owned farms. according to The Atlantic. These actions were supported by President Mugabe’s government. Things got worse after the World Bank and IMF cut aid to the country. “The problem was that when all that kicked off, people started leaving, so the schooling system was affected as well,” Davy explained to the magazine. “All the good teachers left.” In an effort to continue her schooling, she relocated to England.
Chelsy Davy divides her time between the U.K. and South Africa
Upon landing in England, Chelsy Davy said she felt unsure of herself. Zimbabwe was the only home she had ever known and had moved to a country where she hardly knew anyone. Even finding the schools within England proved to be a challenge for Davy and her family. “We were actually looking for schools in a 1980s guide book and so the first school we phoned had been closed for 10 years!” she told Tatler.
Following the family’s research, Davy enrolled at Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire, England, where she studied alongside girls who she said appeared more sophisticated than herself. “I’d never worn makeup and suddenly everyone was in makeup,” she said, according to the Mirror. “My eyes were like little saucers.”
For sixth form (similar to 12th grade in U.S.), Davy attended Stowe in Buckinghamshire, England. She spent her formative teen years in England and it has become a second home to her. As revealed in Tatler in February 2020, Davy splits her time between her South Kensington, London apartment and Cape Town, South Africa, where she has another apartment.
Chelsy Davy studied both economics and law
Chelsy Davy values the importance of higher education, and the years she spent studying proves it. Davy studied both economics and law during her university days. Following her graduation from Stowe, Davy moved to South Africa for college. From 2003 to 2006, she attended the University of Cape Town, where she earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree in politics, philosophy and economics, according to her LinkedIn profile. It was around this time when she first crossed paths with her soon-to-be boyfriend, Prince Harry, Tatler reported.
In 2004, Harry traveled to South Africa during his gap year after finishing his studies at Eton but before starting his military training at Sandhurst, according to People magazine. The two started dating while Davy continued her studies at the University of Cape Town. When she graduated in 2007, Davy returned to the U.K., where she enrolled at Leeds University to pursue a post-graduate degree in law.
Chelsy Davy worked as a lawyer for three years
In September 2011, Chelsy Davy began working as an associate at international law firm Allen & Overy. According to Tatler, she spent six months in Istanbul, Turkey, which she said was “one of the coolest things” she’s ever done.
When she returned to London for work, Davy enjoyed the nightlife like many young professionals. Unlike her peers, though, she was often followed by the paparazzi and photographed hitting the town. “If you go out once, they take a picture, but not of you going to work every morning, it’s of you falling out of a nightclub at 4 AM,” she opined in an interview with The Times.
Davy further explained that she had never worked so hard in her life during the time she worked at the law firm. She explained that she liked to enjoy life, but also credited herself as someone who likes to “achieve things” and is “very ambitious.” People wouldn’t know how hard she worked because she wasn’t shouting it from rooftops, of course. “I didn’t realize how little sleep you can survive on. Back-to-back deals, working till 4 am, conference call at eight. We wouldn’t even go home, just sleep in the office,” she said.
Chelsy Davy launched her own jewelry business
After three years at Allen & Overy, Chelsy Davy went back to school to study gemology in a one-year program at the Gemological Institute of America, according to her LinkedIn profile. She learned to identify and categorize hundreds of rare stores, Tatler magazine revealed. Her plan? To launch her own jewelry business, which she did in 2016.
Aya is an ethical jewelry line “born out of a love for Africa,” according to the company’s website. Davy’s collection includes delicate earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets with colorful gemstones sourced and crafted in Africa. According to the site, Aya jewelry “captures the beauty of Africa through its use of rare and precious gemstones,” which are ethically mined.
In 2020, Davy — who only wears Aya jewelry these days — expanded her company into the luxury travel sector. “It’s an organic progression from the jewelry,” she told Tatler. “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.”
Chelsy Davy's on-again, off-again relationship with Prince Harry lasted for years
Whether they were on again or off again, Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy’s relationship continued to make headlines. Their relationship status dominated royal news for years, although they eventually broke up in 2009. While the couple was spotted out together during their relationship — and even after — neither Prince Harry nor Davy revealed much about their relationship to the press. Prince Harry spoke about his feelings for Davy just once.
According to BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt, Harry described his girlfriend as “very special” on his 21st birthday. “I would love to tell everyone how amazing she is,” the prince reportedly said. “But, you know, that is my private life and once I start talking about that, then I’ve left my own self open, and if anyone asks me in the future, then they’ll say, ‘Oh well hang on, you told them but why aren’t you telling us?'”
Davy supported Prince Harry through some big events in his life, including attending the memorial concert for Princess Diana in 2007. Still, their relationships had its ups and downs. “They have a very turbulent relationship,” a source reportedly once told The Daily Telegraph.
Chelsy Davy was Prince Harry's plus one at Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding
A defining moment for Chelsy Davy’s relationship came when attending Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding as Harry’s date in April 2011. Whether Davy would attended the wedding or not would speak to the status of her relationship with Prince Harry. In her report for The Daily Telegraph, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl covered which wedding events Davy attended as Harry’s plus one. She was invited to the wedding reception, wedding breakfast and evening dinner — despite the fact that the two had broken up some two years prior.
Following the day of events, Davy joined Harry for the all-night disco at Buckingham Palace, where the two spent most of the night dancing together. Nicholl wrote they left around 3 a.m. and Davy followed Harry to the Goring Hotel for an after-party. “They were all over each other and Harry went back to Chelsy’s flat before sneaking out and going home. They were very much an item, but who knows what will happen now,” a source reportedly said.
This is when Chelsy Davy knew she and Prince Harry had made the right decision in breaking up
In The Daily Telegraph, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl revealed that Prince Harry had allegedly told friends he was hoping to get back with Chelsy Davy following his brother’s wedding. However, that wasn’t what had in mind. According to a source, Davy enjoyed William and Kate’s wedding, but she didn’t foresee getting married any time soon. Her focus was instead on her career.
While Harry reportedly hoped his brother’s wedding would help the couple reunite, it may have been the reason Davy and Harry didn’t pick up where they’d left off in 2007.
According to royal biographer Angela Levin’s Harry: Conversations With The Prince, Davy knew upon attending William and Kate’s ceremony that the royal lifestyle was not for her. “A friend revealed that seeing the enormity and pomp of the day convinced Chelsy that she and Harry had been right to separate,” Levin wrote.
Chelsy Davy experienced the criticism of the British press and public
Chelsy Davy has complained about her reputation as a party girl and getting photographed leaving London nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning. According to ABC News, there were numerous reports even covering Davy’s favorite alcoholic drinks, which included vodka Red Bulls and vodka lemonades. In January 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported that photographers captured Davy partying until dawn and smoking “like a trooper” (via ABC News).
In addition to her criticizing her behavior, some even called Davy’s name into question. According to British journalist and author Tom Sykes, Harry’s ex would’ve had a difficult time following in Kate Middleton’s footsteps. Sykes revealed in an article for The Daily Beast that the name Chelsea was intended originally to represent the class and rich sophistication of the London district of Chelsea. However, it apparently lost that connotation.
“It is almost completely impossible for the British public to imagine a princess called Chelsy,” Sykes wrote. “It’s one of those things that shouldn’t matter that really, really does matter so much.”
Chelsy Davy didn't enjoy the limelight that came along with dating a prince
Following Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, Chelsy Davy reportedly told her friends, “It’s not a life for me” (via The Daily Telegraph). The intense public interest and scrutiny into her relationship with the prince was just something she believed she’d never get used to experiencing.
As a young woman, she didn’t enjoy living her life in the spotlight. “It was so full-on. Crazy and scary and uncomfortable,” Davy admitted in an interview with The Times. “I found it very difficult when it was bad. I couldn’t cope. I was young, I was trying to be a normal kid and it was horrible.”
While Davy has moved on from Prince Harry, her relationships since then have still continued to garner some attention. Just after Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018, Davy was spotted having lunch with her TV producer boyfriend James Marshall, and the paparazzi captured the two kissing during a romantic lunch (via the Mirror).
Chelsy Davy is still friends with this member of the royal family
When Chelsy Davy started planning the launch party for her jewelry line, Aya, she knew she wanted to make sure her close friend Princess Eugenie was on the guest list. The two women had grown quite close during the time that Davy dated Eugenie’s cousin, Prince Harry.
When the two women reunited at the London event in 2016, Davy and the princess were reported as being ecstatic when they saw each other. Even though Davy’s relationship with Harry had ended years earlier, it appeared as though no time had passed as the two women caught up in front of the cameras. According to Hello! magazine, Davy greeted Eugenie with “a warm embrace and was beaming as they had a catch up.”
Davy and Eugenie’s friendship continued long after Davy’s jewelry launch event; In October 2018, Davy was it attendance to support Princess Eugenie when she married Jack Brooksbank at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Harper’s Bazaar reported.
Chelsy Davy nearly skipped Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding
Both Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas, two of Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriends, attended the prince’s May 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle. According to reports, though, Davy almost didn’t attend the royal wedding.
In the days leading up to the nuptials, Harry and Davy allegedly had an emotional talk over the phone, as reported by royal expert Katie Nicholl in Vanity Fair. “It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on. Chelsy was quite emotional about it all, she was in tears and almost didn’t go to the wedding,” a source reportedly told Nicholl.
Davy also reportedly felt slighted that she was only invited to the ceremony and post-wedding reception at Windsor Castle but not to the exclusive evening reception at Frogmore House. Unlike what you might expect, Davy also didn’t keep it a secret that she was invited to the wedding. Instead, she shared the news with all her close friends. And like many women who know they’ll be seeing their exes, Davy made sure to spend time shopping for the perfect gown, deciding on a classic navy blue dress and matching fascinator.
Chelsy Davy is always on the go and loves to travel
Considering Chelsy Davy was born in Zimbabwe, attended university in Cape Town, finished law school in England, and spent six months in Turkey for work, it’s no secret that Davy loves to travel and explore many different parts of the world.
Take one look at her Instagram and you’ll see it’s essentially a scrapbook of the globe. She’s posted snaps of her looking out over the Zambezi River, enjoying a meal with pals in Istanbul, hanging with friends waterside in Mykonos, attending a wedding in Morocco, and much more.
Her passion for travel and her experience of seeing the world will come in handy as she brings her company Aya into the luxury travel sector. “We want to be able to curate incredible trips for people, offering them a personalized, professional service, being there for them 24/7. I’m very knowledgeable about parts of Zambia and Cape Town,” she told Tatler magazine. As they develop these exclusive trips, she ensures that they’d never include anything on the trips that she or her team haven’t experienced firsthand. “We want to curate the trip to fit with your definition of luxury,” she continued.
Chelsy Davy is "very happy" with her private lifestyle
Having done only a handful of press interviews, Chelsy Davy has made it clear that she’s always valued privacy throughout her life. Using words like “scary and uncomfortable” to describe the relentless press attention that her relationship with Prince Harry garnered for more than five years, Davy appreciates the quiet and calm she’s since found.
“Although they had a lot in common, she saw clearly that because they came from such different worlds it could never have worked, especially as she valued her privacy and guarded it so carefully,” royal biographer Angela Levin wrote in her book, Harry: Conversations with the Prince.
Davy is instead happy to focus on her freedom, saying in an interview with Tatler that she’s content with the direction her took her. She revealed, “I’m very happy with where I am right now. I’m happy with everything.” Davy added, “Everything is falling into place.”
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