Chapter no 43


I DONT RECALL HOW I learned about the first man trying to sneak onto the farm. Maybe from George? While we were out mustering?

I do remember that it was the local police who nabbed the intruder and got rid of him.

December 2003.

The police were pleased with themselves. But I was glum. I knew what was coming. Paps were like ants. There was never just one.

Sure enough, the very next day, two more crept onto the farm. Time to go.

I owed so much to the Hills, I didn’t want to repay them by ruining their lives. I didn’t want to be the cause of them losing the one resource more precious than water—privacy. I thanked them for nine of the best weeks of my life, and flew home, arriving just before Christmas.

I went straight to a club my first night home. And the next night. And the next. The press thought I was still in Australia, and I decided their ignorance gave me carte blanche.

One night I met a girl, chatted with her over drinks. I didn’t know she was a page-three girl. (That was the accepted, misogynistic, objectifying term for young topless women featured each day on page three of Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun.) I wouldn’t have cared if I’d known. She seemed smart and fun.

I left the club wearing a baseball cap. Paps everywhere. So much for carte blanche. I tried to blend into the crowd, walked casually down the road with my bodyguard. We went through St. James’s Square and got into an unmarked police car. Just as we pulled away, a Mercedes with blacked-out windows jumped the pavement and swiped our car, nearly slamming head-on into the rear passenger door. We could see it coming, the driver not looking ahead, too busy trying to shoot photos. The story in the papers the next morning should’ve been about Prince Harry nearly being killed by a reckless pap. Instead it was about Prince

Harry meeting and supposedly kissing a page-three girl, along with much frantic commentary about the horrors of the Spare dating…such a fallen woman.

Third in line to the throne…dating her?

The snobbery, the classism, was nauseating. The out-of-order priorities were baffling.

But it all greatly enhanced my sense of joy and relief at running away. Again. Gap Year, Part Two.

Days later I was on a plane to Lesotho.

Better yet, it was decided that I could take along a mate. The plan, once upon a time, had been to go with Henners. In his stead I now asked George.

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