The first thing people usually recognize about Harry Styles is that he is the Prince of England. He’s the second born child and only son of Queen Anne, and he is currently second in line for the thrown, behind his older sister Princess Gemma.
The second thing that people usually recognize about him (at least, as of Halloween night) is that Prince Harry is gay.
It wasn’t something that he’d meant for people to find out about, at least not so soon. He was nineteen, and even though he liked to think that he was a pretty independent nineteen, there were still parts of him that felt like he was still just a boy. He hadn’t even decided what university he was going to attend when the scandal broke. When the media pressed the palace for a response, Harry’s mother wanted him to say that he was still exploring his sexuality, but he couldn’t quite make his mouth form such a lie. He’d known that he was attracted to boys since forever, really. It was a part of him that he just couldn’t change. And even though having…relations…with members of the same sex wasn’t exactly unheard of in the long history of the royal family, it had never, ever, been exposed to the public. It was supposed to remain a shameful secret, as had been done for centuries.
Except, Harry wasn’t ashamed. It’s just…he thought he’d have more time. Time to figure out his life, time to settle down, time to wrap his mind around exactly what he was going to tell the public when the time came.
Unfortunately for Harry, after one very well photographed kiss on Halloween with fucking Nick Grimshaw of all people, the time was now.
Harry had woken up the morning after Halloween to his picture splashed all over the papers and his mother having an absolute fit. She was furious with the media for exposing her son, and she was calling for heads to roll. There was a time, she had screamed furiously, when there were lines that the media did not cross. Now, in the information age where news was available at the touch of a button, there were no lines. It was an entirely new ballgame, and the royal family was still trying to figure out how to catch up.
Harry had been in hiding for two weeks, going through meeting after meeting, weighing his options. After the incident occurred, the palace naturally submitted their typical comment saying “the palace does not comment on the personal lives of the royal family,” but everyone knew that such a comment wouldn’t do anything to fight off the increasing curiosity of the public.
Once again, Harry’s life was on a fast track into seriously uncharted territory. He had known from the moment he’d woken up on that horrible morning that he would have no choice other than to come out. Publicly.
Harry Styles, the first publicly gay Prince of England in British History.
That would be his luck.
“You don’t have to do this, you know,” Gemma said softly, breaking Harry from his reverie. They were backstage in a dressing room at The Jonathan Ross Show. When Harry had officially made the decision to publicly come out, he had been advised to release a press statement first, and then do some media interviews to quell some of the questions and curiosity that such a statement would bring. As it were, the media statement had just been released that morning, and Harry hadn’t even had the nerve to check his twitter to see what the general reaction was. He just kept telling himself that if it were really that horrible, someone would cancel his appearances and send him ‘on holiday’ until the public outcry died down. As he was scheduled to go on in five minutes, he assumed that things weren’t that bad.
“Don’t really have much of a choice,” Harry replied with a shrug.
“There’s always a choice.”
“Not for me,” Harry said sadly, but confidently. “I’m not ashamed, Gem. M’not gonna pretend to be someone I’m not.”
Gemma nodded, her eyes filling with tears, “I’m angry for you, then. This should have been your choice, when you were ready. They forced your hand and it isn’t fair.”
Harry just shrugged again, as if to say it is what it is. Gemma reached out and ran her hand through his hair, fixing him with a watery smile and the fondest expression he’d ever seen from his sister.
“I’m so proud of you, Harry,” Gemma said seriously.
Harry wanted to tell her thank you, tell her that he could never be doing any of this without her, but his throat felt heavy and he didn’t trust himself to speak so he just wrapped her in a hug, hoping that could convey just how much he loved her.
It must have, because she squeezed him back just as hard.
Then, far too soon for Harry’s liking, there was a knock on the door.
“They’re ready for you, Your Royal Highness,” an assistant stated.
“Thank you,” Harry said, taking a deep breath and following her to the stage.
He stood in the wings, nervous energy buzzing through his entire body as he listened to Jonathan introduce him.
“Our first guest tonight has had quite a few people talking over the past couple of weeks, and has graciously agreed to spend time with us to help clear up some of the many rumors he has flying around him. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to introduce His Royal Highness, Prince Harry Styles!”
The crowd cheered wildly—Harry had always been a favorite with the public, his sister swore it was his curls—and Harry walked out with a smile and a wave, perfectly practiced public persona masking any of the nervousness that he was feeling.
“It’s so lovely to see you, Your Highness, thank you for agreeing to come on tonight,” Jonathan said once they were both sitting down.
“Oh, call me Harry, please, and thank you so much for having me,” Harry said with a charming smile.
“How have you been?”
“Doing well, you know, just hanging in,” Harry responded.
“Yes, I’m sure these last couple of weeks have been quite difficult for you.”
“I suppose you could say that. Certainly not how I’d expected to begin my November, at least, but here we are.”
“Yes, here we are,” Jonathan said with a friendly smile. “Now, for the viewers at home who’ve not yet read the papers or heard the news, Prince Harry has released a statement clearing up some of the rumors that have been flying around over the last couple of weeks regarding his sexuality. Now, Harry, if you don’t mind I’d like to just take a moment to read the statement if I could?”
“No, go ahead,” Harry said, trying to look as relaxed as possible.
“The statement reads: ‘Prince Harry would like to address some of the statements being made about him in the press. Regarding the rumors of his sexuality, Prince Harry would like to confirm that he is gay, and requests that the media and the public grant him privacy and respect in further speculation about his personal life.’”
To Harry’s surprise, the studio audience burst into applause at the end of the statement. He tried to school his features, but was certain that his exterior cracked for a moment.
“Short and to the point, I like it,” Jonathan said easily.
“Not much else needs to be said, really,” Harry said, exhaling a nervous breath, for the first time really believing that he’ll make it through this interview unscathed. “Things are said and printed about us every day, and for the most part they’re just complete rubbish, so you just can’t address everything or else you’ll make yourself crazy.”
“But you felt the need to address this particular story, obviously,” Jonathan prompted.
“Well, sure,” Harry said easily. “This wasn’t just like who are they dating or where are they going, this was my life, you know, who I am. And obviously there was some truth behind it, so…”
The audience laughed as he gave a self-deprecating smile.
“It’s important, though, that you’ve been able to come out like this. You’re the first in the history of the royal family.”
Harry pulled a face at the statement and chuckled, “that’s such a strange thing to say. And it’s been everywhere; I mean all the headlines read Harry Styles: First Gay Prince of England. And it makes me feel like I’m some kind of pariah, like I’ve got mad cow disease or something, you know?” Harry joked, making everyone laugh.
“I know that the official statement was just released this morning, but have you had a chance to read any of the reactions that have been happening online?”
“I haven’t had a chance yet, no,” Harry said, biting his lower lip before admitting, “I’ve been avoiding it a bit, actually. I think I’ve been a little scared to see the things that people are saying. I’m used to getting a lot of hate on twitter and such for little things like how my hair looks stupid or how I talk too slowly, but this is more personal than that. It’s who I am. I’ll catch up with everything later on tonight, I’m sure. Can’t avoid it forever, right?”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better from what I’ve seen the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” Jonathan said.
“That’s really nice to hear,” Harry said with a genuine smile. “Thank you.”
“Now, Prince Harry, I know that millions of boys around the world would have my head if I didn’t ask the question that everyone is wondering. Are you dating anyone?” Jonathan asked with a waggle of his eyebrows.
“No,” Harry said with a genuine laugh. “One thing at a time, I think. Gemma and I have always said that anyone crazy enough to date us has to put up with an enormous amount of baggage. This is only compounding on that, I’m sure.”
“So what you’re saying is that you’re looking for someone brave and manly,” Jonathan teased. “Your own knight in shining armor?”
Harry let out a genuine giggle before shaking his head, “Not necessarily. I’m really just looking for someone I can get on with, you know? The same things everyone looks for, I think. Someone who makes me laugh, who I can be myself with.”
“And attractive, I assume?” Jonathan pushed with a grin.
“Doesn’t hurt,” Harry shrugged before giving a dimpled grin in response.
“And is there anyone in particular that you have your eye on? Celebrity crush of the moment?”
“I wouldn’t say anyone in particular,” Harry said with a shrug, before getting a mischievous smile on his face and continuing, “actually, no, I take that back. You know who I’ve recently been really into? One Direction.”
The audience chuckles at Harry confession and he grins conspiratorially.
“I know how it sounds! I’m not actually a 13 year old girl, I promise. But Gemma was playing that new song of theirs and I really enjoyed it,” Harry said honestly.
“They’re not bad to look at either,” Jonathan teased. “Do you have a favorite?”
“A favorite?” Harry parroted, biting his lip as he tried to decide whether or not he should answer. “Well, like you said, they’re all pretty attractive.”
“Oh come on, everyone has a favorite!” Jonathan probed.
“I think Louis Tomlinson is quite fit,” Harry admitted, hoping that he didn’t blush as he said it.
“Have you ever met them?” Jonathan asked. “They’ve been on the show a couple of times before, they’re really nice lads.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard they’re all lovely, but I haven’t had the chance to meet them yet,” Harry answered easily. “Maybe one day.”
“And how are your mum and sister?” Jonathan asked, transitioning away from the more personal questions.
“They’re good, Gemma’s actually backstage now, she came with me for moral support,” Harry replied before teasing, “she didn’t do a very good job, though, she very nearly had me crying in the dressing room.”
“Crying!” Jonathan exclaimed. “That doesn’t sound very supportive!”
“No,” Harry laughed, knowing that Gemma would get him for this later, “she just had some very sweet things to say. I just got choked up a bit; you know how siblings are, those compliments are hard-earned!”
The audience let out an awww, and Harry gave a dimpled grin in response.
“So it sounds like your family has been very supportive, then.”
“Very much so, yes. I’m very lucky,” Harry responded honestly. “I guess I just never felt like it was really that big of a deal. It’s a part of who I am, and my family and friends have pretty much always known and always been so supportive that I guess it’s just been easy for me to conveniently forget that this is historical, in a way, and I think it’s a testament to our society that I’m even able to sit here and say that I’m gay whereas even 30 years ago that never would have been possible.”
There’s more thunderous applause at the end of Harry’s statement, and he grins upon hearing it, ducking his head down a bit in an attempt to hide just how pleased he is with the reaction that he’s getting.
“I think you put it wonderfully,” Jonathan said honestly, “and thank you so much for being with us tonight. We’re all rooting for you, and wish you the best of luck. Ladies and gentlemen, Prince Harry!”
The crowd burst into applause one last time, rising to give him a standing ovation. Harry waved to the crowd and gave them the widest, dimpled smile that he could manage.
He did it.
Later that night, somewhere across London, Louis Tomlinson was sitting drinking tea with his bandmate Zayn, watching The Jonathan Ross Show.
"I can't believe this kid," Zayn said. "It takes such balls to do what he's doing."
"Bravery," Louis agreed, taking a sip of his tea.
‘Actually, no, I take that back. You know who I’ve recently been really into? One Direction.’
"Did he just?" Louis asked with a startled laugh.
"He did!" Zayn exclaimed. "If we're being backed by the Prince does that mean that we've officially made it?"
"Shhh, shut up, I want to hear who his favorite is!"
‘I think Louis Tomlinson is quite fit.’
Louis spit his tea out all over himself, quite ungracefully.
"Me?!" Louis exclaimed, shocked.
"What's wrong with you?" Zayn asked, laughing as his friend got up to get a towel to wipe off his shirt.
"Nothing’s wrong with me! I mean, I just...it's never me. It's always you. You're the prettiest," Louis insisted.
"Not to Prince Harry, apparently," Zayn said with a grin.
Louis sat back down on the sofa, trying to wrap his mind around what just happened.
"Is it wrong that this might be the single greatest moment of my life to date?" Louis asked softly, eyes still wide with shock, making Zayn dissolve into further peals of laughter.
"That's a little sad, mate, I'm not gonna lie. Hey, you should tweet him! Tell him that he's your favorite royal or the fittest royal or something."
"I can't do that," Louis scoffed. "Besides, he has like 20 million followers. He'd never see it even if I did."
"All the more reason to do it then," Zayn reasoned. "You can't embarrass yourself that way."
Louis chucked a pillow at his head, but sighed and pulled out his phone anyway, worrying his lip between his teeth as he tried to think of something causal, yet flirtatious to say. He struggled because he didn't want something too casual; he also wanted to convey exactly how appreciative he was of what the Prince had done, and how much he supported him, regardless of the fact that he was also obscenely attractive.
"Want me to write it for you?" Zayn teased after a minute.
"You're not funny," Louis pouted. After a couple of attempts, he finally settled on something he was comfortable with and pressed send.
@Harry_Styles is my hero at the moment. Bravery. Much love and support going to him right now. And I love his stupid hair ;)
Louis didn't expect to ever hear a response, so when his phone vibrated a couple of minutes later, he was more than surprised at what he saw.
@Louis_Tomlinson Thanks, mate! That really means so much. And you might be in the minority on the hair, just saying...
"Zayn!" Louis practically shrieked. "He wrote back!"
"Shut up," Zayn said in disbelief, pulling out his own phone to double check. "Holy shit!"
"What do I do?"
"Respond to him, idiot," Zayn said affectionately.
"What do I say?"
"Tell him he's the fittest royal!"
"I can't do that!" Louis exclaimed with a groan. "Management would delete it in a second."
"Something flirty, then."
"This is stupid," Louis grumbled. "I'll probably never speak to him again after this."
He was quiet for a moment before hastily typing out a response and pressing submit before he had time to change his mind.
@Harry_Styles Nonsense ! Who can resist a boy with curls? I tried to curl my hair once, but it didn't end well. Best leave the curls to you.
This time, Louis only had to wait a moment before Harry's response popped up.
@Louis_Tomlinson haircut bravery
Louis barked out a laugh when he read the response before quickly replying.
@Harry_Styles cheeky x
He figured that the conversation had ended after that, so he sent out another tweet to all of his followers.
Prince Harry just replied to my tweet !! Completely made my day
He couldn't help the grin on his face when he checked Harry's twitter later that night before going to sleep.
Louis Tomlinson just tweeted me! Life = made.