By Caroline Graham
Denial: San Diego cocktail waitress Jessica Donaldson, 26, says she is not sleeping with Prince Harry
A Californian cocktail waitress caught canoodling with Prince Harry broke her silence last night to say: ‘He is a real-life Prince Charming.’
Brunette Jessica Donaldson, 26 – who says she is ‘way flattered’ at suggestions that she resembles the Duchess of Cambridge – called Harry ‘a total English gentleman’ while denying reports of an affair.
Jessica, who met Harry in the VIP area of the San Diego nightclub where she works as a ‘bottle girl’, said: ‘I am speaking out now because I want people to know the truth.
'I am not sleeping with Prince Harry and he has never been anything other than a total gentleman to me.
‘I am very upset that all this has blown up. He is just a regular guy who enjoys a few beers with his buddies.
'He’s really cool and down-to-earth and that’s what I liked about him. I’m flattered he showed me attention but there is nothing more to it than that.’
Yet despite her protestations – and with her burly boyfriend in the room with her – she becomes upset when asked to explain photos on an American gossip website last week that appear to show the pair kissing.
Shaking her head, she bursts into tears and runs from the room. Later, after being comforted by her boyfriend, she says: ‘This is so hard and difficult. I didn’t want any of this.’
Jessica, known as ‘Jes’, said Harry entered the Ivy nightclub at the five-star Andaz hotel in downtown San Diego on Friday, October 7.
‘His people called ahead and said there was a VIP person coming with about 20 friends and could we secure an area of the club for him.
‘I had no idea the VIP was Prince Harry until he walked in. We are used to seeing celebrities here like local sports stars and Johnny Knoxville [star of MTV’s Jackass] but when Harry walked in, it was, “Wow!” ’
Jessica’s job as a bottle girl is to sell bottles of Belvedere and Absolut vodka with mixers for £350 a table.
She said: ‘You buy a table and for that you get a bottle of vodka, some mixers and soft drinks. You also get to stand in the VIP area. Our job is to bring in rich guys who want to meet hot girls. The more bottles you sell, the more you earn on commission.
‘Harry was with a big group, mostly guys. There were quite a few security men with him. I waited on his table and he was charming and chatty but he was charming to all the girls.
'He paid for two of the bottles and his friend paid for a third. Harry started off drinking Stella but went on to vodka.’
The Prince’s group moved to a poolside cabana where they watched a Rugby World Cup match.
At the end of the night, a man she believed was one of the Prince’s bodyguards, called Mark, asked for her number.
‘He said Harry would like to invite me and another girl, my friend Christie, for brunch the next day.’
Party boy: Prince Harry leaving the Andaz hotel in San Diego where he met Jessica
The girls met the Prince and four friends at a beachside cafe called Pipes the following day. ‘We hung out, had breakfast, talked, and I thought how cool it was to be with an English Prince. Harry had scrambled eggs.
‘Then we went to a Mexican restaurant and drank cocktails in the sun. Harry drank fruity cocktails and ate chips and salsa. He was joking about the weather and how much better it was than in England.’
Harry, who is on an Apache helicopter training course in El Centro, a two-hour drive from San Diego, had his friend text Jessica again last Saturday to invite her to the VIP area of the Belly Up Tavern in Solano Beach, a 20-minute drive along the coast from San Diego.
Happier times: Jessica poses with a friend at the Ivy Nightclub at Andaz. She was upset at pictures which appeared to show her and Prince Harry kissing
The pair listened to a live band and danced.
It was during this evening that photographers snapped the couple allegedly embracing.
The Mail on Sunday has independently learned that Harry spent the night in Suite 202 at the nearby £70-a-night Marriott Courtyard in Solano Beach.
Sales manager Cassie Smith said: ‘We had no idea he was coming. He arrived with his friends and checked in at the front desk like anyone else. We have now renamed his room the Royal Suite.’
Multiple sources at the hotel claimed to have seen a brunette fitting Jessica’s description arrive alone by taxi in the early hours. The woman was seen leaving around 6am. A night manager at the hotel yesterday looked at a photo of Jessica and said: ‘Yes, that is definitely her.’
But Jessica, who lives with her boyfriend of three years, nightclub promoter Brandon Thomason, 28, said yesterday: ‘No, no, that wasn’t me. It must have been another girl. I am sure Harry has lots of girls.’
Mr Thomason said: ‘When I first saw the pictures of Jes with Harry I talked to her and she assured me that nothing went on. She told me they didn’t kiss and I believe her.
'She said he leaned in to talk to her and it was just the angle of the camera that made it look like a kiss.
‘Jes wants to set the record straight. Harry might have been with a girl but it wasn’t Jes. If I didn’t believe her, I wouldn’t be here now.’
Jessica added: ‘Harry is so sweet. He was kind of goofy with me. I really like him but I have a boyfriend. I just want all this to go away.’
Top gun: Prince Harry stands in front of an Apache helicopter during his training in the US