Wanna Marry Harry? US show flirts with royalty, ridicule

Wanna Marry Harry? US show flirts with royalty, ridicule
Television personality Matt Hicks poses for a portrait while promoting the upcoming reality television series "I Wanna Marry Harry".

NEW YORK- Drastic times call for drastic action. Is Britain's newly single, media-shunning Prince Harry really so desperate for a wife that he asked an American TV channel to fix him up?

Well no. But that's the fantasy being peddled to 12 pretty, ultra-competitive American women chasing after one very plummy Brit with ginger hair on a Fox TV dating show.

Panned by critics but tapping into the US obsession with "Downton Abbey" and royalty, "I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" premiered on screens Tuesday night.

It stars Matt Hicks, a 23-year-old environmental consultant whose rosy cheeks and ginger mop bear a debatable resemblance to the fourth in line to the British throne.

No matter.

He's been set up with servants, bodyguards, a helicopter and given the run of an English castle to convince American beauties he is Prince Charming.

Crucially, it's not clear if the women are really hoodwinked into believing it is Prince Harry.

"I don't want to lie outright so the strategy is deflection. I'm going to play the part of the mysterious man," he confides to viewers.

"They're way out of my league but for who I'm pretending to be, it's perfect." Each episode he'll ask one woman to leave, all the while keeping his real identity secret until the grand finale... then wait and see if his pick likes the real Matt.


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