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Prince Harry: From party prince to King of Hearts

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Picture: BBC/PA Wire

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Picture: BBC/PA Wire

In a decade he's grown from the party prince into the king of hearts.

Prince Harry (right) and Ed Parker, co-founder of Walking With The Wounded, during the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge departure, at Trafalgar Square. Picture: Yui Mok/PA WirePrince Harry (right) and Ed Parker, co-founder of Walking With The Wounded, during the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge departure, at Trafalgar Square. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Perhaps that’s because Prince Harry is never afraid to wear his own heart on his sleeve.

The soldier who took on the Taliban to the champion of charities which support those maimed by conflict.

In 2013, he joined personnel from Norfolk-based Walking With the Wounded on a trek to the South Pole.

The charity said: Walking With The Wounded would like to wish our expedition patron many congratulations on the announcement of his engagement to Meghan Markle.

Princess Diana takes the young Prince William, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips to see the museum at Sandringham, in 1988. Picture: EDP LibraryPrincess Diana takes the young Prince William, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips to see the museum at Sandringham, in 1988. Picture: EDP Library

“Prince Harry has been an extraordinary support to the charity and its work helping vulnerable veterans regain their much deserved independence.”

The second son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, has suffered scars of a different kind.

His openness about how he battled to cope with the death of his mother and came close to a complete breakdown has won plaudits from mental health charities.

Just as he seemed to have proved himself as an accomplished statesman for modern royalty, his frankness in June 2017 over his royal duties caused a stir, with the prince admitting he once “wanted out” of the Royal Family.

Harry confessed that he “decided to stay in and work out a role for myself”. The Duke of Cambridge’s younger brother used to be known for his scuffles, scrapes and scandals.

In his youth he brawled with a photographer, dabbled with cannabis and dressed as a Nazi for a fancy dress party.

A road trip to Vegas in 2012 ended with photos being printed of the naked prince frolicking with a woman in a hotel room.

Commentators called him a liability. But Harry seems to have found his feet as a senior royal and love with American actress Ms Markle.

Whether promoting his Heads Together campaign to end stigma over mental health or supporting veterans, Harry is passionate about his causes.

Down to earth and personable, the prince is relaxed with members of the public and particularly at ease with young children. When Henry Charles Albert David was born on September 15, 1984, officials said he would be known as Harry.

Unlike William, he was free from the responsibility of one day having to be king.

The brothers saw their parents go though a bitter divorce before Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997, when Harry was just 12. Etched in the public’s memory is the harrowing image of the young prince with his brother, father, uncle and grandfather, walking behind the carriage carrying his mother’s body.

He spoke movingly about Diana in 2010 during a tour of southern Africa. He said: “Every day, I know I do and I’m sure William does as well, whatever we do, wherever we are and whoever we’re with, I particularly always wonder what she’d think, what she’d be doing if she was with us now.”

Harry’s military career began at Sandhurst in 2006. The following year he saw front-line action, spending 10 weeks in Afghanistan as a forward air controller.

He then retrained as a helicopter pilot, before returning to Afghanistan for a second tour as an Apache co-pilot gunner in 2012.

The prince admitted at the time he was more comfortable being Capt Wales than Prince Harry.

“I’ve always been like that,” he said. “My father’s always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that. But it’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the Army.”

Harry because a staff officer in London in 2014. The move enabled him to launch his Paralympic-style competition for injured personnel, the Invictus Games.

After leaving the Army in 2015, he spent three months on conservation projects in Africa and charity work.

Harry went to Toronto in May 2016 for an Invictus Games launch, and it was here he was initially thought to have first met Ms Markle, who made her home in the Canadian city. But she later revealed the pair met through friends in London in July 2016.

In April 2017, as he promoted the Heads Together campaign, Harry revealed he sought counselling over his mother’s death. He said dealing with grief in the public eye had led to him coming “close to a complete breakdown”.

Now he says he is in a “good place” - and with his wedding to Ms Markle on the horizon, he will be ready for the next chapter.

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