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OPINION: It's a joy to watch Prince Harry leave the sadness of his childhood behind him

HELLO!'s royal editor talks about how fatherhood has already changed the Duke

Emily Nash

For so long, in the eyes of the public, Prince Harry was the lost little boy bearing unimaginable grief to walk solemnly behind his mother’s coffin. He has since grown up into a much admired and respected soldier and role model – despite a few hiccups along the way.

But it wasn’t until he met and married Meghan Markle a year ago this month that the nation’s mental image of him fully shifted to that of a contented married man. I’ve written about Harry’s life and career on and off for 14 years and having watched him at work both in the UK and overseas, I have always admired his willingness to wear his heart on his sleeve.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their baby boy on Monday

So it’s been a joy this week to watch his unbridled delight at fulfilling one of his longest-held desires and finally starting a family of his own. Who could fail to be touched as he excitedly announced his son’s birth, telling the world how the little boy is "to die for"?

STORY: Prince Harry reveals how fatherhood has changed his life - full quotes

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Watch highlights from Prince Harry's visit to The Hague

Watching him proudly and protectively cradle tiny Archie as he and Meghan presented him to the cameras for the first time also showed just how far he has come, despite the emotional struggles he has so readily spoken about. And although he may have been a little exhausted by the reality of having a newborn at home, he was every bit as enthusiastic about his other "baby" as he helped to launch the Invictus Games 2020 on a flying visit to The Hague.

STORY: Prince Harry shares first details of first day with baby Archie

Harry has nurtured the tournament for wounded, sick and injured service men and women over the past five years and has watched it grow and thrive in five different countries. While he seemed careful to avoid publicly talking about his new son during his flying visit to the Netherlands – so as not to take the focus off the Games – he had a clear spring in his step and his elation was written all over his face.

The new dad launched the Invictus Games 2020 countdown on Thursday

And the clever piece of embroidery on his personalised Invictus Games jacket was a subtle reminder of his wonderful new status. It read "Invictus Family Daddy," the distinctive yellow lettering marking out "I AM DADDY."

GALLERY: See all the photos from Prince Harry and Meghan's first photocall with baby Archie

With his wife Meghan and now their son Archie completing his home life and great plans for his charities and future role in place, it feels like Harry has left the sadness of his childhood far behind him. He has so much to be proud of and the future is incredibly bright.

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