Life on his own terms. Prince Harry is unlikely to become the king of England, but he’s carved a unique path as a philanthropist, father and military veteran.
King Charles III and Princess Diana welcomed their youngest son in September 1984, two years after the arrival of Prince William. Unlike his older brother — who became second in line to the throne after Queen Elizabeth II‘s death in September 2022 — Harry grew up with the knowledge that he the so-called “spare.”
The Invictus Games founder has never seemed particularly bothered by that fact, though, telling Newsweek in 2017: “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
The U.K. native hasn’t been shy about how life in the public eye has affected his mental health, however. In his 2021 Apple TV+ series, The Me You Can’t See, the BetterUp CIO revealed that he started therapy four years earlier to “heal” his past trauma, including the death of his mother when he was just 12 years old. The late Princess of Wales died at age 36 in a car crash in Paris.
“I wasn’t in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about it … and that was sort of, like, squashed,” Harry explained in the show’s premiere episode. “For many, many years I didn’t even think about it. It wasn’t like I was holding onto it. I was unaware of it. I always wanted to be normal as opposed to Prince Harry, just being Harry.”
The Duke of Sussex described the period between his 28th and 32nd birthdays as “a nightmare time” in his life. “I was just all over the place, mentally,” he explained.
It took a new romance with the woman who would become his wife — Meghan Markle — to help him realize that he needed to work on himself. “I quickly established that if this relationship was going to work, that I was going to have to deal with my past because there was anger there and it wasn’t anger at her,” Harry recalled in the show’s third episode. “It was just anger and she recognized it. She saw it. So, how do I fix this? And it was a case of, ‘You need to go back to the past, go back to the point of trauma, deal with it, process it and then move forward.’”
The former helicopter pilot and the Suits alum tied the knot in May 2018 and later welcomed son Archie (born in 2019) and daughter Lili (born in 2021). In April 2022, Harry said that he felt like his late mother’s presence was “constant” since he became a father.
“It’s almost as though she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much back to helping me,” he explained during an interview with the Today show. “Got him set up, now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like, you know? … I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now.”
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Keep scrolling for a look at Harry’s life in photos.