Alongside a new California-appropriate wardrobe and an accent that belies his high-born status, Prince Harry is rumoured to have taken the final leap into his LaLa land identity. If Rob Lowe, actor and Montecito neighbour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who moved to the exclusive California enclave last year – is to be believed, the royal has apparently grown a ponytail.
“I just ran into your countryman, the English treasure, Prince Harry, at the stop light,” said Lowe during an interview with James Corden. “It looked to me, as a casual observer, that his hair had grown very long and was pulled back very tightly by what I can only assume was a ponytail.”
It’s worth noting that Lowe’s tongue may have firmly been in his cheek, but the idea certainly follows form. Slowly and steadfastly, Harry has shed his image as an English aristocrat to embrace a ‘woke bro’ identity that’s wholly in keeping with life in LA.
Firstly, there’s the wardrobe adjustments. Prince Harry has always cut a more casual stance than his heir-apparent brother; more rag tag and rather more endearing for it. But his move to Los Angeles has seen him move even further towards the easy end of the spectrum. It’s a look that’s ubiquitous on the West Coast, even though that nondescript T-shirt is likely to be a three-figure number from James Perse. Now the Duke’s ginger hair, which has been looking rather more bushy of late, has allegedly followed suit.
The hair-raising issue of the prince’s follicles has been the subject of much debate. Last year it was reported that Harry had undergone treatment to tackle his increasingly expanding bald spot, with rumours that he had attended the renowned Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in Mayfair for a hair thickening procedure, which costs upwards of £4,000.
Although the clinic won’t be drawn on whether his royal head has graced its treatment chairs, Glenn Lyons, Clinical Director at Philip Kingsley, notes that normal levels of male hormones cause baldness. “It’s unique for each man, of course, but I always advise clients that while we can’t stop it, we can slow it.”
The treatment works via a topical solution of anti-male hormones, which is applied to the scalp, and helps stimulate the follicles at scalp level. “It works by exerting a controlling influence on male hormones in the body,” says the specialist, who has worked at the esteemed clinic since it launched in 1968. Even the briefest peruse through royal family albums shows that male pattern baldness is a genetic trait amongst the gentlemen of the royal household.
Harry has always been somewhat singular in the hirsute stakes; at his wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018 the prince took his vows with a full face of fuzz, the first royal man to do so since 1893 when Prince George V married Princess Mary of Teck.
Of course, one might say that a ponytail is a signal that Harry has been drinking the Californian organic kombucha, following other Hollywood bohemians who are tousled of locks, like Jared Leto or Harry Styles. But the reality is that the royal – like most of us – probably doesn’t have much choice about his shaggier mane.
California is currently battling a tremendous upsurge in Covid-19 cases and as such normal services are harder to access. In lieu of Meghan taking up the scissors herself, the man doesn’t have much choice but to let things get a little luxuriant. It also has some swaggering royal precedent; he could bring back Charles I-style flowing waves. Will he attend the Queen’s 95th birthday this year with a top knot? Time will tell.