Britain’s Prince Harry has finally asked Prince William to be his best man at his wedding next month, Kensington Palace confirmed Thursday, reinforcing the brotherly bond between them.
Harry, 33, and 35-year-old William often poke fun at each other in public.
However, beneath the jocularity, the bond between them is strong, forged by the shock death of their mother Diana, princess of Wales in 1997 — and the support they offer each other is evident.
Even though William hitherto joked about Harry not having asked him, there was little doubt whom he would turn to for his big day.
William spoke about their connection last year — the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death — telling his wife Kate during an interview as Harry sat with them: “We have been brought closer because of the circumstances.
“We are uniquely bonded because of what we’ve been through.”
Harry performed best man duties at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011.
And when it is Harry’s turn at the altar, as he marries US former actress Meghan Markle, William will be at his side holding the wedding ring.
“Prince Harry has asked his brother the Duke of Cambridge to be his best man at his wedding to Ms Meghan Markle,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.
“The Duke of Cambridge is honoured to have been asked, and is very much looking forward to supporting his brother at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on May 19.”
The announcement comes three days after the birth of William and Kate’s third child on Monday, who joins four-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, aged two, in the Cambridge family.
– Baby name guessing game –
William and Kate are yet to name the new prince and are giving little away as the public waits to find out what the baby, fifth in line to the throne, will be called.
William joined Harry and his fiancee on Wednesday in London at a service for Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealand’s national day of remembrance.
As William met Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand’s representative in London, he heard that the high commissioner wanted the new prince to be called Jerry.
“Jerry’s a strong name,” William said.
Kate and the baby are “very well” and “in good form, luckily”, he said, adding: “Sleeping’s going reasonably well so far, so he’s behaving himself which is good news.”
Bookmakers have Arthur as their favourite name, closely ahead of Alexander and James, then Louis, Albert, Philip and Henry, Harry’s proper name.
“Punters are rushing to get their bets on as the excitement builds,” said Harry Aitkenhead of bookmakers Coral.
“Arthur remains the favourite but we’re seeing a lot of money for Albert at the last minute.”
Australia’s representative Alexander Downer asked William: “Have you thought of the name Alexander for him?”
The duke replied: “Well, it’s funny you should say that. It’s a good name.”
George already has Alexander and Louis as his middle names, but the comment sent the odds on Alexander tumbling.
Alex Apati, of bookmaker Ladbrokes, said: “We’re not entirely convinced about this one given that George’s middle name is Alexander, but punters clearly think they’re onto something and we’ve had to respond accordingly.”
Markle is still to announce who will be her maid of honour.
William now has the responsibility of organising a stag party for his brother, as well as performing the best man’s speech.
Bookmakers have Switzerland and the Scottish Highlands as their favourite stag destination. Las Vegas — where Harry was infamously photographed partying naked in 2012 — is considered a remote shot.