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Prince Harry - Biography

The Duke of Sussex was born in September 1984

Prince Harry smiling for a red carpet photo© Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: July 26, 2023
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Early life

Prince Henry Charles Albert David was born on 15 September 1984 at St Mary's Hospital in West London. The second son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, the young prince soon came to be known as Harry, and was later dubbed "the Happy Prince". As a flame-haired toddler he attended Mrs Jane Mynors' nursery school as had his elder brother Prince William. By the time he arrived at Ludgrove School in 1992, the cheeky little boy had already built up a reputation as an athlete, and Harry would go on to develop this passion for sport and activity throughout his childhood.

Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, was determined her sons should enjoy a "normal" lifestyle, leading to her being seen with both Harry and William at amusement parks, McDonalds restaurants, and going to the cinema. Tragically, in 1997, a year after his parents divorced, Diana died in a Paris-based car crash. Like his brother William, the young Prince showed great bravery in the face of this devastating loss, even walking behind his mother's funeral cortege alongside his brother William, his father Charles, and his maternal uncle Charles Spencer.

Later childhood

In September 1998, a year after their mother's death, William and Harry jointly issued a statement asking the press and the public to let Diana rest in peace, and to allow them to carry on with their lives away from the glare of public scrutiny. That same year Harry began studying at Eton, and became instantly popular with his fellow students. He soon settled into the school's routine, finding a variety of outlets for his academic, sporting and creative talents. 

Press controversies

After his graduation from Eton, Harry involved himself in charitable work across the commonwealth, however, the press was often more focused on his controversies than his compassionate work. Harry received heavy criticism in early 2005 when he attended a fancy dress party wearing a Nazi uniform a few days before Holocaust memorial day. Clarence House issued an immediate apology for any offence caused, but this wasn't the first or the last time the tabloids had had a field day with Harry's behaviour. 

Harry has been involved in several legal disputes regarding articles published about him in several British newspapers. In 2019, it was announced he was suing the News Group and Mirror Group newspapers regarding a series of articles which they published about him dating from his time at Eton to his young adulthood.

Army career

In May 2005 Harry began a new phase in his life, joining the prestigious military academy Sandhurst as an officer cadet. Known as Cadet officer Wales, he successfully completed the often grueling 44-week training course and was commissioned as an Army officer in April 2006 in front of the Queen. After completing a course in Dorset to become an armoured reconnaissance leader he joined the Blues and Royals regiment in Windsor, which together with the Life Guards forms the Household Cavalry, where he holds the title of Second Lieutenant or Cornet. 

Despite initial dispute over whether he should serve in a war zone, Harry shipped out to Afghanistan with the other men in his regiment in 2012. He remained there as a member of the Army Air Corps until January 2013. A year later, Harry became a staff officer at HQ London District. In 2014, Harry used his royal status along with his passion for the army and sporting interests to set up the Invictus Games, a Olympics-like event for injured servicemen and women.

Personal life

From 2004 to 2009, Prince Harry was in a relationship with Chelsy Davy. The pair's romance was widely reported in the press and Harry has since suggested this was in part responsible for their eventual split. Shorter relationships with Caroline Flack and Cressida Bonas followed, but it was in 2016 that Harry met his future wife, Meghan Markle.

The pair dated from 2016 to November 2017, when news of their engagement was announced by Harry's father, the future King Charles III. Harry and Meghan married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. In 2020, the Sussexes ended their part in supporting the royal family, stepping away from public life in order to pursue privacy in their own way. They later moved to Montecito, California.

Harry and Meghan have two children: Prince Archie, born May 2019, and Princess Lilibet, who was born in June 2021.

For more news on Prince Harry and his family, see here. For all news on the British royals family, click here.

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