Woman 'ridiculed for years' after going on dating show to 'marry Prince Harry'

Meghan Jones
-Credit: (Image: FOX)

A young woman has opened up about the ridicule she's faced "for years" after appearing on a reality TV show to marry "Prince Harry".

Meghan Jones, who had signed up for a programme titled Dream Date, found herself among 12 American women flown to Englefield House in Berkshire, believing they were to meet the Duke of Sussex on I Wanna Marry "Harry".

However, the women were actually introduced to Matthew Hicks, an environmental consultant with dyed red hair, who experts claimed bore a 99% resemblance to Prince Harry.

The deception began from the outset, with Englefield House previously doubling as Sandringham Estate in Netflix's The Crown. During their first dinner, Matthew made a grand entrance via helicopter, with his butler addressing him as 'sir', reports the Mirror.

In a promotional clip for the show, Matthew said: "I have to convince them to like me as Prince Harry, but the goal is for them to like me for who I am. This is my chance to find a girl who I connect with."

Drama ensued when Matthew was suddenly whisked away due to a "security incident," which one contestant believed wasn't just for show. Additionally, the house featured photos of Harry and his brother Prince William, albeit with Matthew's face superimposed over Harry's.

Discussing the experience with WHO magazine, Jones said: "People thought how can these dumb Americans fall for it, but it was a constant mind manipulation. It was like being in a beautiful prison, or a cult with the producers controlling everything."

According to Jones, participants who questioned Matthew's authenticity were swiftly removed from the programme. Even after the show's conclusion, the women confronted ridicule and disbelief due to their mistaken belief that Harry would fall in love with an American woman.

As history would have it, by 2016 - two years after I Wanna Marry "Harry" hit screens - Prince Harry did indeed find love with an American; Meghan Markle. The couple got married in 2018.

Reflecting on this turn of events, Jones stated: "It's ironic how he ended up with a Meghan, it felt a little bit vindicating."

While Jones never ended up marrying 'Prince Harry', she does have her own happily ever after. She tied the knot with Walker Young in 2019.

As for the show's winner, Kimberly Birch, things were slightly different. She admitted to realising Matthew wasn't the actual prince when only three women were left in the competition.

Upon spotting a mask of Prince Harry on a stick, Birch discerned that Matthew wasn't the person behind it, yet still agreed to continue filming. In an article for Business Insider, she confessed: "I can't even blame viewers for thinking we were a bunch of idiots. I'd think the same thing watching it - people can only go off of what they see on TV."

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