Palos Hills almost had its first member of the royal family, well kind of.
If the star of FOX’s dating show, “I Wanna Marry Harry,” Matt Hicks, was actually Prince Harry, and if Palos Hills native Karina Kennedy had won, then the community would have had its first member of England’s royal family.
Well, kind of.
In a confusing turn of events, Kennedy finished as the runner-up on the reality series, which was cancelled in early June, with the remaining four episodes airing on Hulu, Fox.com and Fox OnDemand.
And since it wasn’t really Prince Harry, and it was one big prank, she lost some time but gained national television exposure.
Kennedy, who lives in Chicago and works as a physical therapist in Evergreen Park, declined to comment to the Reporter because the show had been cancelled.
But when the show was being filmed, she was quoted on the program saying “Growing up watching dating shows, I never considered it but I thought ‘If I’m joining to go on a dating show, this is the one …it would be respectful.”’
The Stagg graduate, who played water polo and was named to the all-sectional team in 2005 and 2006, made an impression on the show.
The website TWC Central called her “easygoing” and “popular.” She told the faux Harry that she used to date a European soccer player.
Kennedy lost out to Long Island’s Kimbery Birch, who is still dating the fake Harry.
“The lengths that they went to get us girls into the mindset that we could be dating the prince was brilliant,” Birch told the New York Post. “But when we would spend time together, I noticed how normal and down-to-earth he was. For me, it became harder and harder to believe he was actually [Prince Harry].’’
The show was filmed last summer across the pond in various locations in England, and it was the travel that enticed Kennedy into joining the show.
“That’s kind of how they hooked me: the traveling,” Kennedy told the Sun-Times in May in a rare interview. “He was just so charming, you trusted him,” she said.
Kennedy competed against 11 other American girls for the heart of who they believed to be Prince Harry. The imposter, Hicks, describes himself on his Twitter page as, “just an average ‘bloke’” and has been getting compared to Prince Harry in terms of his looks since he was in his youth, according to an interview with Vulture.com.
Kennedy told the Sun-Times she expressed fear of being judged because she was on a reality show and believing that Hicks was Prince Harry. Kennedy said that she had just finished grad school, and it was the real opportunity to travel that drew her to the show.
“I had no money and really wanted to go around the world. This sounded like a great opportunity to celebrate getting my doctorate,” Kennedy said. “It was too good to be true.”