Prince Harry Almost Made a Really Racy Joke at Kate Middleton’s Expense at Her Wedding Reception

…which was 12 years ago this weekend, unbelievably.

Prince Harry, Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 12-year wedding anniversary is on Saturday (how is that possible?) and The Mirror is looking back at the much simpler time—when Prince Harry was his brother’s best man…and was forced to remove an inappropriate comment about the bride from his remarks at their wedding.

According to the outlet, apparently Harry planned to deliver a cheeky joke about Kate’s legs during the speech, but Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy stepped in and said it was “too much.”

Prince William, Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

Though Harry was referred to as William’s best man at the latter’s 2011 wedding—and even traveled with William to Westminster Abbey, where the ceremony was held, in a Bentley—Harry didn’t get to give a proper best man’s speech but was allowed to say a few words. Harry later revealed in his memoir, Spare, that he was forced to go along with the “bare-faced lie” and act as William’s best man “in order to spare interest into the lives of the ‘real’ best men,” The Mirror reports. Those men, James Meade and Thomas Van Straubenzee, actually gave the traditional speech at the reception later that evening. Harry introduced the two, and came close to “embarrassing” Kate, the outlet reports.

Though he only had minimal airtime, “his words reportedly went down a storm as guests were left laughing and crying throughout,” The Mirror reports. “As well as making lots of jokes at his brother’s expense, he told sweet stories and said their love inspired him, which brought a tear to Kate’s eye.” 

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, Harry wanted to talk about his new sister-in-law’s “killer legs”—risky to say about any bride at her wedding, let alone the future Queen. Harry asked then-girlfriend Chelsy to read over the speech, Nicholl writes in her book Harry: Life, Loss and Love, and make sure it sounded okay before April 29.

“She had helped Harry edit the best man’s speech, sensitively advising him to take out a line about Kate’s ‘killer legs’ that might have embarrassed the bride,” Nicholl writes. Way to step in, Chelsy.

Apparently, though, William got back at his brother in his own best man’s speech at Harry’s 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle. “One of the guests told The Sunday Times the second in line to the throne [William] made a ‘filthy’ joke about wet knickers in his best man speech,” The Mirror reports. William also pulled a prank on Harry at the reception and nearly “floored” some of the guests in the process: Apparently, Harry had recently fallen off of a ladder while trying to change a lightbulb, so William tied a ladder to the back of Harry and Meghan’s car.

Harry’s friend Charlie Van Straubenzee also spoke at the reception, mocking Harry for his red hair and, according to The Sunday Times, questioning Harry’s behavior when he was dorm monitor at Ludgrove School in Berkshire, where they were both students. “All I wanted was a cuddle from my mummy,” Charlie apparently said. “Instead, Harry nicked my teddy bear and chucked it out onto the roof. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you, how can you put someone in charge of a dorm when that someone is worse behaved than the whole dorm combined?”

So much going on here I don’t know where to start—so I’ll just end with a happy anniversary to the Prince and Princess of Wales and see myself out now.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.