Meet Matt Hicks, the 24-year-old British environmental
consultant who bears more than a passing resemblance to
Britain's Prince Harry, and was given the task of persuading 12
American girls that they were vying to date the fun-loving
"As far as I was aware, impersonating a member of the royal
family was treason and I'm pretty sure the punishment for that
was being locked in the Tower of London," Hicks told Reuters.
Premiering on Tuesday, Fox's "I Wanna Marry Harry" spins a twist
on the televised dating format used most notably by ABC for "The
Bachelor," where one man is charged with finding love from a
group of 25 women, honing it down to the lucky one over a series
of glamorous and drama-filled dates.
Hicks, brought up in Hertfordshire, a neighboring county to
London, went to Southampton University, graduating with a degree
in geology and oceanography, a different path from his royal
look-alike's military career.
In "I Wanna Marry Harry," Hicks was sought by the show's
producers after being spotted on a celebrity look-alike website,
and was given the ultimate makeover. They dyed his blond hair
red, gave him intensive training on royal family history and put
him in a manor house with guards and a facade of wealth.
His quest, over five weeks and a series of dates, is to persuade
the girls that he really is the 29-year-old prince, and at the
end, to reveal his true identity to the one girl left, and hope
that she accepts him for his real self.
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"There was a lot of weight on my shoulders, they had put a massive
budget on this, but I was never really too worried about not pulling
it off," Hicks said. "It was just down to being genuine and charming
and getting the girls to like me."
The female contenders for Hicks' affection range between Rose, the
saucy 22-year-old pre-school teacher to 25-year-old Karina, studying
for a PhD in physical therapy. All have quite an impact on Hicks
when he first meets them at a masquerade ball, where they already
suspect he may be Harry.
Hicks, who never once calls himself Harry and is referred to
throughout the show as "Sir" or "The Gentleman," said he never
thought the show's premise was mean or deceiving to the girls,
despite him masquerading as the prince.
"They put themselves in this situation," he said. "They're not weak,
mentally fragile girls who especially might break down, and at the
end of the day we're all there for a laugh."
And as for what the real Prince Harry may think of the show?
"I think he'd think it was quite funny," he said.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Andrew Hay)
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