AP Photo/ Toby Melville, Pool

The Qld bikini model who spent the night with Prince Harry

WHATEVER happened to Cindy Butcher?

It's the question on hardly anyone's lips as the world prepares to celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

But long-time locals with a love for trashy women's magazines might remember Cindy as the local girl who went within a whisker of stealing a young Harry's heart.

Or that's how the story went back in late 2003 when Harry and a group of friends spent a week in a house overlooking Sunshine Beach after the young prince had spent six weeks jackerooing in western Queensland.

 

The Daily's front page when it was discovered Prince Harry was holidaying on the Coast in 2003.
The Daily's front page when it was discovered Prince Harry was holidaying on the Coast in 2003.

Royal spotters went into a frenzy as Harry and his mates, including several young ladies, were spotted frolicking in the waves, enjoying a bit of action at the Big Kart Track and having breakfast at local cafes.

Everywhere the then 19-year-old playboy went, he was closely shadowed by a team of security guards, often disguised as holidaymakers.

The security detail made sure that Daily journalist Frank Wilkie, now deputy mayor of Nosa Council, never did catch up with Harry.

Our photographers didn't get as much as a grainy photograph of him putting the garbage out in his boxer shorts.

Harry had his holiday and headed home, allowing life on the Sunshine Coast to soon settle down.

 

Jenny Mason of the Noosa Heads Shell Service station with the magazine featuring Prince William, which Prince Harry read through during a brief visit.
Jenny Mason of the Noosa Heads Shell Service station with the magazine featuring Prince William, which Prince Harry read through during a brief visit. Geoff Potter

Until January 2004, when 18-year-old part-time bar attendant and bikini model Cindy Butcher told her story to Woman's Day magazine.

"I spent the night with Prince Harry," the headline screamed, as Cindy told how the young prince "made it clear he was after more than just conversation" and found it hard to keep his hands off her.

They reportedly met at a private poolside party hosted by a friend from Sunshine Beach Surf Club where Cindy worked as a part-time bar attendant.

The whirlwind romance began after they "locked eyes across the pool", with Cindy describing the prince as "a shy-looking redhead".

Apparently there was a bit of kissing and cuddling while lying on the grass as "good kisser" Harry and "part-time bartender, swimwear model and law student" Cindy got better acquainted.

 

The Daily tried hard to find Prince Harry without success.
The Daily tried hard to find Prince Harry without success.

The Daily was also unable to contact Cindy once her story broke but a straight-talker from the surf club declared the story "all bullshit".

A call to the surf club this week revealed no one had been there long enough to remember the incident.

A search through the Daily's files turned up a handful of photos of a young women named Cindy Butcher from the Peregian/Sunshine Beach area but they were almost 10 years old and it's unclear if it's the same young lady who made headlines almost 15 years ago.

Calls to every Butcher in the phone book also failed to uncover anyone who knew her.

If the stories were true, Cindy Butcher would now be in her early 30s and probably married with a family.

Did she continue modelling or go onto a career in the law?

Is she still on the Sunshine Coast or living on the other side of the world?

Almost 15 years after she made headlines, there are many questions left unanswered but one thing is for sure.

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk down the aisle on Saturday, she could be forgiven for stopping for a minute and wondering "what if?".



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