12 women once competed to win the heart of a fake Prince Harry in this dating show

Yasmine Leung September 15, 2022
12 women once competed to win the heart of a fake Prince Harry in this dating show
Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

A fake Prince Harry dating show got contestants all of a quiver in 2014 only to find out the winner would be princess to a lookalike instead.

First came Joe Millionaire, the dating show in which women competed for the affection of a bachelor who was falsely introduced as a millionaire. Fox then gave it the royal makeover via I Wanna Marry Harry by introducing Prince Charming, more specifically “Prince Harry”, and duped contestants by leading them to believe he was the real deal.

Before Meghan Markle, the “Prince” crowned winner Kimberly Birch as his princess but the romance didn’t last long due to long distance and career goals. In fact, the royal lookalike is no longer in show business.

Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Fake Prince Harry dating show teased 12 contestants

Pulled from the air after just four seasons, the fake Prince Harry dating show documented 12 enthusiastic American singles hoping to win the fake royal’s heart. 23-year-old Matthew Hicks portrayed the bachelor but his real identity was never disclosed to contestants.

On his initial arrival, production staff never told contestants he was Prince Harry, fueling thoughts he could be an athlete or actor. As the weeks progressed, however, it became difficult for contestants to differentiate the truth as paid actors posing as royal staff addressed Hicks only as “sir” or “Royal Highness.”

Butler Kingsley – played by English actor Paul Leonard – confirmed the girls’ (mistaken) suspicions.

Filmed at Englefield House in Berkshire, England, where Pippa Middleton tied the knot in 2017, Hicks whisked potential partners on lavish dates such as hot air balloon and helicopter rides.

One of the lovely ladies was named Meghan, but it was Kimberley Birch who won fake Prince Harry’s love as well as half of the £250K (about $300K) prize money.

Matthew Hicks is now a physics teacher

Before his reality TV debut in the fake Prince Harry dating show, Hicks worked as an environmental technician at Paulex Environmental in Exeter as well as doing Harry impersonation gigs.

Even after a taste of show business, he continued his career as an environmental engineer before switching to become a watersports instructor at PGL, a UK children’s camp.

For the past year, he has worked as a physics teacher in Wales. His LinkedIn includes no mention of his TV experience.

Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Kimberly Birch pursued acting

Birch, from Long Island, New York, continued her modeling and acting career. Since 2014, she has appeared in six productions including TV documentary series Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall and, most recently, Kindly Kenney.

Nine months after filming of I Wanna Marry Harry ended, Kimberley headed back to the Big Apple leaving their romance in the air as Hicks remained in England. Talking to Bustle at the time, the royal lookalike explained: “We live in different countries so it has been hard to sustain a romantic relationship.” However, he reassured the publication they had “chemistry.”

The real Prince Harry did, of course, go on to marry an American actress but, unfortunately for Kimberley, it wasn’t her. The winning couple only met a handful of times for promotional purposes, reports Refinery29.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.