| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES May 20 An English country manor, a
gaggle of giggling bachelorettes, a slew of butlers and one very
mysterious ginger-haired Prince Charming are at the center of
Fox's new dating show, where the bachelor is not quite what he
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.
"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)