It’s hard to believe that Prince Harry has been charming the nation for 39 years with his cheeky humour and free spirit.
The Duke of Sussex has won fans the world over and has had an eventful life – undergoing two tours in Afghanistan, spearheading the Invictus Games, marrying his American love Meghan Markle, welcoming two children Archie and Lili, and unforgettably stepping away from royal life.
Prince Henry Charles Albert David Windsor, the second son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was born on 15 September 1984.
Dubbed “the happy prince” by Fleet Street editors, he seemed to have a gift for bringing fun and joy to those around him.
Prince Harry taking his first steps helped by his brother in their playroom in Kensington Palace.
Princess Diana was determined to give William and Harry, seen with his pony, Smokey, at Highgrove, a normal upbringing.
The late Queen has always been close to her grandsons.
The little royal is pictured arriving at Wetherby School for his first day, accompanied by a pupil who knew the ropes, his brother William.
Their childhood was full of cuddles.
On this occasion, William and Harry had flown to join their parents on an official visit to Canada in October 1991.
The late Princess often organised down-to-earth treats such as trips to amusement parks and the cinema.
The Queen’s grandson on his first day of lessons at Eton College in the traditional tails worn at the school.
Just a few days short of his 13th birthday, Harry faced unthinkable grief when Diana died following a tragic car accident in 1997.
Flanked by his grandfather, brother, uncle and father, the Prince walked behind her coffin to pay his final respects on 6 September.
Following his mother’s death, his relationship with his father, whom he and William call ‘Pa’ grew even closer.
Charles steered him through some tricky teenage years, including a brush with drugs when he was 17.
Diana’s passing when he was 12 had affected him deeply, and the Prince vowed as an adult to carry on her work. “Harry has inherited his mother’s extraordinary empathy,” a senior palace official once said. “He engages with children and young people.”
After a gap year partly spent in Lesotho, Africa, the Prince established a foundation there called Sentebale.
The name means ‘Forget Me Not’ in the local language and served as a tribute to his mother’s charity work as well as “a reminder to us all not to forget Lesotho or its children”.
It targets the forgotten victims of the AIDS epidemic – the children left behind by sick parents. He has also taken on her mantle in other respects, showing a close interest in Diana’s anti-landmine campaign.
In 2010, the Prince visited Mozambique to inspect mine clearance projects.
He followed his brother to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 8 May 2005.
Describing his work in the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt said the young Prince was a “credit to the nation”.
Officer Cadet Wales graduated from Sandhurst in April 2006, and his passing out parade was inspected by his grandmother.
“Here is a face I recognise,” said the Queen, provoking a broad grin from her grandson.
After five years of serving as an officer, Harry was promoted to the rank of captain in the British Army in April 2011.
He was awarded the coveted Apache Badge, meaning he had completed the first stage of training as an Apache helicopter pilot.
The action-man Prince returned to Afghanistan in September 2012, serving four months as a pilot.
He went on a secret ten-week tour of duty in Afghanistan in late 2007.
After bravely serving on the front line, he was forced to withdraw because news of his presence was leaked.
His experiences in the military have made the soldier-Prince a staunch supporter of returning veterans.
He has trekked to both the North Pole and the South Pole on different occasions with former servicemen, for the charity Walking with the Wounded.
In 2014, he launched the Invictus Games, bringing together injured service personnel as a way of encouraging their rehabilitation.
The public loves his spontaneous personality – although it sometimes gets him in hot water too.
After the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007, he was pictured looking a little worse for wear the next day.
Then in 2012, high jinks involving a game of naked billiards before another army deployment were recorded on a phone and went viral.
He commands attention even in the presence of celebrities like Kanye West and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.
The rappers performed at Concert for Diana, a memorial on the Princess’ birthday, ten years after her death.
Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding in 2011 when Harry was his brother’s best man marked a new chapter in the royal family, pushing the younger members to the fore.
Harry with his sister-in-law Kate, who is very much part of the renaissance of the Windsor brand.
In recognition of his growing popularity and maturity, the Queen personally picked Harry to represent her on a Diamond Jubilee tour.
The young Prince traveled to Belize, the Bahamas, and Jamaica, where he cheekily challenged Usain Bolt to a race.
Harry once again had the nation in stitches when he asked his grandmother the Queen to take part in a hilarious promotional video for the Invictus Games.
Harry responded to a jokey threat from the Obamas and Team USA, by saying “Boom!” and doing his now-famous mic drop.
In November 2017, Harry announced that he was engaged to Meghan, just a year and a half after their romance was confirmed.
The couple made their first public, high-profile appearance on the grounds of Kensington Palace, with Meghan showing off her beautiful ring.
Britain’s most eligible bachelor was officially off the market in May 2018, when he married the beautiful Meghan in a fairy tale royal wedding. The couple chose to tie the knot in Windsor at St George’s Chapel, in front of the Queen and other members of the royal family.
As they approached their first wedding anniversary, Harry and Meghan welcomed their first child, a baby boy Archie.
The Sussexes posed with their little bundle of joy in Windsor Castle, with Meghan saying he was “magical… pretty amazing”.
Archie’s first royal tour! The Duke and Duchess took their son on a trip to southern Africa in autumn 2019 when he was just four months old.
Highlights included meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Harry and Meghan shocked the world when they announced they would be stepping back as senior royals in January 2020.
One of their final engagements before departing for northern America saw them attend the Endeavour Fund Awards in March 2020.
Harry and Meghan settled in California, moving into a multi-million dollar home in the exclusive town of Montecito.
Reports of Harry’s rift with the royal family intensified, but the Duke made a whirlwind return to the UK in April 2021 for the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip in Windsor.
He again returned in July 2021, joining his brother William to unveil a statue of their late mother Princess Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday.
The month before in June 2021, Harry and Meghan welcomed their second child, a daughter Lilibet.
The couple released this sweet photo of their daughter Lili on her first birthday in June 2022.
Harry and Meghan have only shared a few glimpses into their family life, in particular in their Netflix documentary.
Prince Harry once again shocked the world with the release of his memoir, Spare, in January 2023.
The Duke dropped a few bombshells, covering everything from the death of his mother Diana to Meghan being in labour, to experiencing frostbite in his private parts