Prince Harry credits one ex girlfriend with breaking down his emotional barriers

"I was indebted to Cress."

Cressida Bonas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spare may have been released six months ago, but Prince Harry's memoir is still making headlines.

The memoir - now the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time, gives an inside look into royal life, breaking down Harry's relationships with the rest of the royal family and his inner circle over the years. 

Included in this are his ex girlfriends, with Harry praising his former partners - including Chelsy Davy, Florence Brudnell-Bruce and Caroline Flack, opening up about the difficulties they faced being followed by photographers and hounded by paparazzi, something that ultimately led to their break ups.

It was Prince Harry's words about ex girlfriend Cressida Bonas that resurfaced and went viral this week, with Harry crediting her for breaking down his emotional barriers and helping him cry for the first time since his mother died.

Harry and Cressida dated from 2012 to 2014, after being introduced by Princess Eugenie, and according to Spare, the relationship was transformative. Harry recalled one moment in particular when the couple were skiing in Switzerland, and Cressida "miraculously opened [him] up".

"It happened late one night, after a long day on the slopes, and a fun time at après-ski," the passage reads. "We'd gone back to my cousin's chalet, where we were staying, and Cress was washing her face, brushing her teeth, while I was sitting on the edge of the bath. We were talking about nothing special, as I recall, but suddenly she asked about my mother.

"Unique. A girlfriend asking about my mother. But it was also the way she asked. Her tone was just the right blend of curiosity and compassion. The way she reacted to my answer was just right too. Surprised, concerned and with no judgement. 

He continued: "Maybe it was the softly falling snow outside the windows, or the culmination of seventeen years of repressed grief. Maybe it was maturity. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, I answered her straight-out, and then started to cry. I remember thinking: Oh I'm crying, and saying to her: "This is the first time I've...". Cressida leaned towards me: "What do you mean... first time?" "This is the first time I've been able to cry about my mum since the burial.

"Wiping my eyes, I thanked her," Harry recalled. "She was the first person to help me across that barrier, to help me unleash the tears. It was cathartic, it accelerated our bond and added an element rare in past relationships: immense gratitude. I was indebted to Cress."

The couple amicably separated soon after, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle inviting Cressida Bonas to their 2018 wedding. 

Spare by Prince Harry is available to buy now.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.