The real Prince Harry vs 20-year-old Matthew Hicks.
Amid mounting rumours that Prince Harry is about to propose to his girlfriend Cressida Bonas on a romantic ski holiday, Fox TV is launching a reality TV series that promises American women "one last chance to win Prince Harry's heart" before he is officially taken.
Deadline.com reports that Ryan Seacrest is behind new show I wanna marry "Harry" (the quotation marks being the operative here), in which 12 single American women are flown to Berkshire, England to compete for what they thought would be a chance to romance the Prince Henry of Wales.
In reality, they were courting Harry look-alike Matthew Hicks, a 20-year-old "average English bloke" who was given “the royal treatment and an upper crust makeover.” The show was greenlighted in August last year and had been earmarked as Fox's secret project under the working title 'Dream Date'.
A promotional picture of Fox's new show I Wanna Marry Harry.
According to The Sun, the women were asked to attend a series of parties including a 'Roman orgy-themed event' during the month-long filming. It was only at the end that producers revealed they have been duped all along. Apparently the Buckingham Palace had no knowledge of the show being filmed.
I wanna marry "Harry" isn't the first hoax dating show in recent years. It follows the footsteps of Joe Millionaire, the infamous 2003 reality series that tricked women into believing that they were competing for the heart of a handsome rich bachelor who turns out to be an "average Joe".
Both shows were developed by former Fox executive Mike Darnell, who brought "Harry" into being before leaving the network last year. The show is currently slated to premiere in US on May 27.
Given pop culture's obsession with VIP wives club and 'royal wannabes', it's unlikely that shows like this are going to die out any time soon.