Who are Thomas Van Straubenzee and James Mead?

Who are Thomas Van Straubenzee and James Mead, the ‘REAL best men’ at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding – according to Prince Harry’s memoire Spare

  • Prince Harry claimed he was not the real best man at William and Kate’s wedding 
  • Role was held jointly by James Meade and Thomas Van Straubenzee he claims
  • Two men are longtime friends of William and godfathers to Princess Charlotte
  • READ MORE: Prince Harry’s had YEARS of therapy – so is it any wonder he phoned his therapist first after being ‘knocked to the floor’ by his brother? 

Prince Harry has claimed he was forced to go along with his brother’s ‘bare-faced lie’ that he was the best man at his wedding in 2011 in his leaked bombshell memoir Spare.

According to the 38-year-old Duke of Sussex, his rift with Prince William, 40, meant the older royal ‘didn’t want [Harry] giving a best man’s speech’.

Instead, Harry writes, he was made to act out the role of best man to spare the blushes of Prince William’s two closest friends, James Meade and Thomas Van Straubenzee, who gave the traditional best man speech at the reception.

The Duke claims that while he was officially considered his brother’s best man at the nuptial and even travelled with his father and future King to Westminster Abbey in a Bentley that day, the best man stunt was all for show.

Prince Harry (right) has claimed in his leaked memoir Spare that he was not Prince William’s (left) real best man, as his brother did not want him to give a speech (pictured at the 2011 Westminster Abbey wedding of William and Kate)

Thomas Van Straubenzee has reportedly been close friends with the brothers for year, with his, and his brother Charles’ relationships with the royals going all the way back to their prep school days at Ludgrove.

Tom, the global head of the private office of estate agent Knight Frank, who accompanied the Prince to New Zealand on his gap year, is godfather to Wales’ daughter Princess Charlotte.

The businessman and property consultant, whose parents are Captain Alexander van Straubenzee and Claire Fenwick, is said to be interested in music, wildlife and conservation.

As well as his brother Charles, who is also said to enjoy a close bond with the princes, Thomas had another younger brother, Henry, who was killed in a car accident in 2002.

Thomas Van Straubenzee (pictured at a charity polo match in Cirencester in 2018) gave a speech at Prince William’s wedding reception

William and Harry were said to be devastated by the death of Henry, who was killed instantly when the car in which he was a passenger hit a tree outside Ludgrove prep school. 

Following Henry’s death, his family set up the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, of which Thomas is a patron.

The charity works to fight poverty in Uganda through education, and both William and Harry are patrons.

His friendship with the princes made headlines in 2011, when he was mugged at knifepoint in Battersea while talking on the phone to Harry, and the concerned Prince drove across town to check on him. 

James Meade, who went to Eton with Prince William, was the other real best man, according to Prince Harry’s memoire (pictured: James Meade attends the wedding of Lucy Meade and Charlie Budgett in Chippenham in 2014)

In 2013, Thomas married Lady Melissa Percy, the Duke of Northumberland’s daughter, at her family’s ancestral home Alnwick Castle, which doubles as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Princes William and Harry were among the guests. 

The couple divorced three year’s later in 2016, with Thomas’ ‘unreasonable behaviour’ cited as the reason for the relationship breakdown.

He remarried in 2020, tying the knot with Lucy Lanigan-O’Keeffe, a teacher at the Battersea school that was attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and they share a young son, Albert.

Meanwhile James Meade, who Harry claimed was the other ‘real’ best man at Prince William’s wedding, went to Eton with the older royal. 

He is the son of Olympic gold medallist equestrian Richard Meade. 

Prince William and his wife Kate on their wedding day on April 29, 2011. Prince Harry has sensationally claimed that despite appearances, he was not the real best man on the big day

James is also close with the Princess of Wales, whom he even accompanied her to the Badminton Horse Trials after her brief split from William in May 2007.

Known to his friends as ‘Meadey’, he once took part in a charity boxing match at Boodles Boxing Ball in 2008 – watched by William and Kate, under the nickname ‘the Badger’.

He and his wife Lady Laura Marsham, daughter of the 8th Earl of Romney, are both godparents to Princess Charlotte.

In other claims, the Prince tells how William was meeting people who had assembled on the Mall by Buckingham Palace while ‘tipsy on last night’s rum’ just hours before his wedding to Kate.

Harry recalls he said to him: ‘You smell of alcohol’, before he offered him mints as he lowered the windows of the car, describing the smell of ‘the aftermath of last night’s rum’ on his ‘tipsy’ brother’s breath.


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