How fake Harry set US hearts all a flutter
Matthew Hicks insists that until he went to university it never occurred to him that he looked like Prince Harry.
"It was a bit of a running joke," he said. "But after graduating, I travelled to Asia and I had people stopping me in the street and having photos taken."
But his resemblance to the prince has now won him fame and controversy in equal measure, as he stars in a reality television programme in which 12 American girls are led to believe they are competing for a royal suitor.
Mr Hicks (24), who lives in Exeter and works for an environmental consultancy, was spotted by the Fox network for the show – 'I Wanna Marry Harry' – after he signed up to a lookalike agency. Fox hired the Englefield Estate in Berkshire, the family home of the former environment minister Richard Benyon, where the contestants were given rooms and introduced to Mr Hicks, who hinted at his possible identity without ever stating he was the prince.
The show's first episode was screened in the US last night and it is predicted to be a ratings hit.
"I think anyone questioning the ethics of the show is just taking it far too seriously. It's a reality TV show, it's a bit of fun," he said.
Mr Hicks was groomed by the producers to maximise the resemblance: "I went through this week of 'Harry school'," he said.
He admits, however, that not everyone is fooled. "Hardly anyone mistakes me for Harry in the UK," he said. "They have a more exact idea of what he looks like." (© Daily Telegraph, London)