When Prince William was spotted partying in the Camden nightclub Koko this week, it was reminiscent of the days when royal would often enjoy nights out on the town with his brother Prince Harry.
Although the brothers have drifted apart in recent years, there was one man by William’s side on Tuesday night who is one of the few people who could bring them back together.
Former nightclub owner Guy Pelly, 41, has been close friends with Prince William since they were teenagers and was also present for some of Harry’s wilder nights.
As well as maintaining a close friendship with William, Guy – who has been jokingly referred to as the ‘royal jester’ in the past – has also remained in Prince Harry’s close circle, having reportedly visited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in California in September 2020.
Here FEMAIL looks back over Guy Pelly’s close connection to the royal brothers – and how the former nightclub owner could prove key to bridging the gap between them.
Guy Pelly and his American wife Lizzy arriving at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace in July 2018 for Prince Louis’ christening
Earlier this week, Prince William enjoyed a night out with Guy Pelly and school friend James Meade in Camden
The Prince of Wales met Guy in 2001 when he was just 13 years old and joined Beaufort Hunt hunting club as a junior member.
While Prince William and Prince Harry attended Eaton College in Windsor, Guy was educated at Stowe school in Buckinghamshire – where parents currently pay £14,680 per term.
He reportedly achieved two Cs and a D in A-levels in history of art, geography and English.
Guy’s mother Vanda has made a name for herself as a sculptor and is also a member of the Tate & Lyle sugar dynasty.
After becoming fast friends with William, Guy also became mates with Harry and was by his side during his ‘party Prince’ days.
When William was on his gap year travels, Guy became close to Harry — who at 16 was plunging into the most reckless period of his life.
In 2001, Guy Pelly – who was a student at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester at the time – was accused of introducing Prince Harry to cannabis and underage drinking.
Stories soon began to circulate about Harry getting involved with under-age drinking and illegal drug-taking at a pretty country pub near Highgrove where cannabis was smoked at the bar and cocaine was being sold at £30 a gram.
Guy Pelly (left) pictured with Prince Harry at a rugby game also attended by Carole and Michael Middleton in October 2015
Guy Pelly pictured dancing with Prince William’s then girlfriend Kate Middleton at a pre-Wimbledon party in June 2006
Prince William pictured watching a rugby match with Guy Pelly in February 2002 – not long after they first met
However, Harry’s entry into this seedy world was stopped before he could get in too deep. An anxious Prince Charles arranged for his younger son to visit a detox clinic in South London to see for himself the consequences of drug dependency.
When it later emerged that he’d had nothing to do with Harry’s adolescent experimenting with cannabis, Pelly was welcomed back into the royal fold almost as a third brother.
Following the scandal, he then quit the Cirencester college after a meeting with its principal, who had announced a strict ‘no drugs’ policy.
He then switched to Newcastle university where he did a course in land management.
Among the first thing he did after graduating was to resurrect his tearaway reputation. This was courtesy of the Prince’s Trust concert episode when, well-refreshed and minus most of his clothes, he clambered up the outside of a marquee.
Around this time he was also questioned by police for allegedly attempting to break into the girls’ school at Westonbirt, unaware that it was their school holidays.
In many of the pictures of the Prince of Wales in nightclubs over the years, Guy is by his side. They are pictured leaving Boujis, a nightclub in South Kensington in the noughties
Guy’s wedding, to Holiday Inn heiress Elizabeth Wilson, was attended by both William and Harry, and said to be a ‘wild’ three-day affair in Memphis, Tennessee. Kate didn’t attend, and the nuptials were also seen as the reason behind Harry’s split with Cressida Bonas. William is pictured at the wedding
Guy Pelly pictured leaving Lou Lou’s club in July 2013. He was wrongly accused of introducing Prince Harry to drugs in the noughties
These incidents sparked fresh demands for the princes to drop Pelly as a friend. But characteristically they refused
When, infamously, Harry was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform to a private fancy dress party in 2005, fun-loving Pelly was at his side dressed as the Queen, whom he apparently mimicked to great effect.
As a result, Pelly had achieved the kind of notoriety adored by television programme-makers. He was invited to appear on Have I Got News For You, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and even Strictly Come Dancing.
But despite his reputation as a ‘court joker’, Guy turned down all offers and has never spoken about his friendship with the brothers.
In many of the pictures of Prince William in nightclubs over the years, Guy was often by his side.
Prince Harry pictured leaving Boujis nightclub in May 2010 – which reopened earlier this year
Guy is still a man about town, pictured here in 2012 at the launch of Tonteria Mexican Bar and Restaurant on Sloane Square
The Newcastle graduate, 41, also organised the William’s stag do in 2011 – fittingly as he has previously owned many night clubs including Mahiki in Kensington as well as Public, Whisky Mist and Tonteria, all in west London.
His own wedding, to Holiday Inn heiress Elizabeth Wilson, was attended by both William and Harry, and said to be a ‘wild’ three-day affair in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kate didn’t attend, and the nuptials were also seen as the reason behind Harry’s split with Cressida Bonas, with the pair not seeing eye-to-eye over arrangements including plane fare and Harry’s ‘boys nights’.
Over the years, Prince William has also maintained a close relationship with Prince William too.
Prince William skipped the late Queen’s Christmas lunch in 2015 to support Guy at his father’s memorial service following his sudden death. In 2018, William asked his old friend to be Prince Louis’ godfather.
Guy Pelly pictured arriving at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May 2018 with his wife Elizabeth and James Meade and Lady Laura Meade
Guy Pelly pictured behind two other wedding guests with Tom ‘Skippy’ Inskip – who reportedly fell out with Prince Harry after voicing concerns about his relationship with Meghan
Guy Pelly and his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Willow reportedly visited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in California in September 2020
Before he met Meghan Markle, Prince Harry was said to love the atmosphere of Guy’s Mexican-themed club Tonteria, where every order for a bottle of tequila or champagne (a Methuselah of Louis Roederer — the size of eight standard bottles — costs £28,000) is greeted by the appearance of dancers with hand-held firecrackers showering the customer with sparkles.
In the 2020 royal biography Finding Freedom, it was claimed that Prince Harry fell out with his oldest friend Tom ‘Skippy’ Inskip – who allegedly expressed his ‘doubts’ over the Duke’s relationship with Meghan.
However, Guy Pelly has remained firmly in the royal fold – and reportedly went out to visit the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in California in September 2020.
According to the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor Richard Eden, Guy was joined on the visit by his wife, Elizabeth Wilson, and their daughter, Willow.
‘They were kindly invited by Harry and Meghan,’ a source tells me. ‘Despite what’s been said about Harry losing touch with his old friends, he was keen to see Guy.’
The visit is understood to have taken place while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were staying at the £14million mansion owned by American entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry.
Pelly does have something more in common than most of Harry’s friends as his spouse is also a member of the ‘American wives’ club’.
Lizzy is from Tennessee and is an heiress to the Holiday Inn fortune. When she married Pelly in 2014, their wedding led to the end of Harry’s two-year romance with actress Cressida Bonas.
Harry was reportedly reluctant to pay for Cressie’s air fare to attend the three-day bash in Memphis. Cressida expected Harry to pay because she didn’t have the money herself and felt that as Guy was his friend, not hers, the request seemed reasonable enough. Harry refused, there was allegedly a spat and they split.