'The day I nearly got punched by Prince Harry'

·Royal Correspondent

Watch the full episode 14 of Yahoo UK’s show ‘The Royal Box,‘ here.

A royal biographer has spoken about the day he says he nearly had a fight with Prince Harry.

Duncan Larcombe was covering Prince William and Prince Harry’s trip to the Isle of Wight for a stag do in April 2008, when the confrontation occurred in a pub.

William invited Larcombe, who was Royal Editor of The Sun at the time, to have a drink with them as a thank you for keeping to their agreement not to publish photographs in the newspaper until after they left the island.

But when Harry became aware that a journalist from The Sun was in the pub, he apparently confronted Larcombe over a series of articles written about the royals.

Prince Harry pictured in 2008 [Photo: Getty]
Prince Harry pictured in 2008 [Photo: Getty]

Larcombe, who penned Harry’s biography, told Yahoo UK’s ‘The Royal Box’: “He was really angry with the press. I said to him ‘I’m here Harry, what is it that I’ve done? What have we done?’ because we’d always got on quite well.”

“He listed five different stories that he said I had written about him that they were wrong.”

He said that one of Harry’s bodyguards had told him he feared that the prince, then 23, would punch him.

“He actually said to me, for an awful minute that night, he thought he was going to have to protect me, a Sun journalist, from Prince Harry and he wasn’t sure whether that was in his job description or what he’d have to do.

“But Harry is a passionate guy and if he’s angry, he’ll tell you. Good on him, he’s honest.”

Prince Harry at Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly’s wedding in May 2008 [Photo: Getty]
Prince Harry at Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly’s wedding in May 2008 [Photo: Getty]

The argument was resolved when Larcombe told Harry that four of the stories he’d listed were not by The Sun.

He added: “After we’d gone through those five stories, he basically got it off his chest and he realised actually it wasn’t my fault, and he was fine.”

The heated argument took place at their cousin Peter Phillips’ bachelor party – two days after the jury at Princess Diana’s inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Larcombe was invited on Harry’s trip to Africa soon after.

“It was brilliant, he let us stay and photograph them playing football and got every other photographer thrown out.”

There was a period when Prince Harry’s behaviour was becoming a concern for the Royal Family, after a slew of negative press when he was in his early twenties.

William and Harry during their mother Diana’s funeral in 1997 [Photo: Getty]
William and Harry during their mother Diana’s funeral in 1997 [Photo: Getty]

Larcombe says: “In inner circles, in terms of the Queen, Prince Charles, his father, there were real concerns that Prince Harry was here imploding publicly and what was that going to do to the reputation of the Royal Family?

“As it turns out, it was the best thing that could have happened to them. This wild, rebellious prince has now become the jewel in the crown of the British Royal Family.”

The royal author believes that while Diana’s funeral was the most painful day of Harry’s life, “it was also the day that cemented Harry in the hearts of the British public and ever since then, they are pretty much prepared to forgive Harry pretty much anything that he does.”

He added: “Prince Harry has over the years been taken to the hearts of the nation in a way that I don’t think any other member of the Royal Family has ever been.”

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