There have been thousands of articles written about the British Prince since he was born in 1984. The media has been obsessed with his every move, from his charitable work to his dating life and in recent weeks the world has seen a flood of tabloids since he and his wife, Meghan Markle decided to leave the royal family. So, even if you think you know all there is to know about the Royal Family, some of these facts will still astound you, or get you up to speed on what all the hype is about!
Harry Is Not His Real Name
Prince Harry was actually born Prince Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor. Quite a mouthful, right? His parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana decided to nickname him Harry for short, and it certainly stuck.
He Is His Uncle's Double
Prince Harry definitely gets his looks from his mother's side of the family. Harry's uncle, Charles Spencer, shares the same fair features as the Prince, with golden eyebrows and that distinctive red hair.
He Used a Nickname for His Facebook Account
In the past, it was rumored that Prince Harry used his well known nickname "Spike Wells" to set up a Facebook account. It is believed his close friends and protection officers at Scotland Yard refer to him by this name, as a way to conceal his identity from the media.
Princess Diana Had Her Own Nickname for Him
It is reported that Harry's mother, Princess Diana had her own personal nickname for her son. She called him "Little Spencer" because of his red hair. Princess Diana's siblings all had red hair and her nickname was certainly an homage to her family, the Spencers.
He Was Involved in a Cheating Scandal at School
While attending Eton College, the esteemed boarding school for boys, (which is notable for being the sixth most expensive boarding school in the UK) the young Prince faced a trial whereby he was accused of getting someone to write part of his A-Levels for him. Eventually, after an extensive investigation, Prince Harry was found innocent.
He is a Talented Artist
Since academia was not his strong suit; Harry's father, Prince Charles, got him interested in painting because he was an avid artist himself. Prince Harry is said to be talented with a paint brush in his hand and he still enjoys this hobby today.
His Best Friend Died When He Was 18-Years-Old
After the death of his mother when he was just 12-years-old, Prince Harry dealt with another devastating loss when he was 18. His best friend from prep school, Henry van Straubenzee, was killed in a car crash just before Christmas in 2002.
His Phone Was Hacked by the Media
In 2019, Prince Harry sued newspapers the Sun and the Daily Mirror for intercepting voice messages from his phone. The lawsuit came after years of phone-hacking by British media outlets on members of the royal family. Among the victims were Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Between settlements and legal costs, both newspapers paid a staggering £500m to the victims.
He's Made the Front Pages for His Scandalous Behavior
In 2002, Harry admitted to heavy drinking and marijuana use when he was 16, which prompted his father, Prince Charles, to send him to a drug rehab center for a day. In 2005, the Prince was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party, which he apologized for a few days later. In 2012, TMZ published photos of a nude Prince Harry running around in a hotel suite in Las Vegas.
He Was a Soldier in Afghanistan
In 2007, Prince Harry was stationed in Afghanistan for ten weeks but was removed after an Australian magazine revealed he was in active combat there. In 2010, he returned to Afghanistan for a 20-week deployment with the Army Air Corps.
He Did His Military Training in the United States
In 2011, Prince Harry completed his military training in the dusty deserts of California and Arizona. The desert conditions were the perfect place for him to train how to fly Apache helicopters, as these locations mirrored the conditions in Afghanistan.
He Is an Award-Winning Pilot
While training to fly Apache helicopters, Prince Harry won an award for the best co-pilot/gunner. It is reported that Harry's military trainers considered him an "instinctive flyer."
He Founded the Invictus Games
Prince Harry was inspired after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs in 2013 to create the Invictus Games. These games are a multi-sporting event in which injured, wounded or ill armed services personnel compete in a variety of different sports.
He Has a Close Bond With Kate Middleton
Prince Harry has referred to Kate Middleton as "the sister I never had." The pair have known each other for twenty years and have always had a sibling bond. Prince Harry even shared Kensington Palace with his brother and Kate and it is believed that Harry would often visit his brother and sister-in-law's section of the palace for Kate's home cooked dinner.
He Hiked to the North Pole for Charity
In 2013, Prince Harry joined wounded service personnel for four days on a trek through freezing temperatures to the North Pole to raise money for the charity, Walking with the Wounded. They reached the Pole on Friday, the 13th of December but it was anything but an unlucky day for the team of adventurers who celebrated at the top.
Harry Originally Inherited His Mother's Engagement Ring
Although Kate Middleton wears Princess Diana's engagement ring today, it was originally inherited by Prince Harry. After their mother's death, Prince William and Harry were given the opportunity to keep one piece of her jewelry. Harry selected Diana's engagement ring while William chose her Cartier watch. The brothers swapped jewelry when William wanted to propose to Kate with the famous sapphire ring.
He Has a Loving Relationship With Africa
Harry first fell in love with Africa in 1997 when he visited Botswana and South Africa along with his father, Prince Charles, and they met Nelson Mandela. Since then, he has worked with many organizations and charities for fighting AIDS and protecting vulnerable children. He was even involved in the project to translocate 500 endangered elephants to safer lands.
He Set Up a Charity for Vulnerable Young People in Africa
Following in his mother's footsteps, in 2006, Prince Harry set up a charity named Sentebale for orphaned children with HIV and AIDs and vulnerable young people in Lesotho, South Africa. His aim is to raise awareness of how to eradicate the shame and stigma attached to HIV and share how education of the virus can prevent it from spreading.
His Paycheck Comes From His Father
Things may have changed since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's announcement to leave their royal duties, but before this, Harry was on his father's payroll. Both William and Harry's fortune is footed from Prince Charles' fundings, as well as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's expenses.
He Used to Be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor
As a young bachelor, Prince Harry was constantly in the tabloids for his dating life. His exes include British actress, Cressida Bonas who he was set up with by his cousin Princess Eugenie. However, his most well known relationship before the "Suits" star, Meghan Markle was with Zimbabwean lawyer, Chelsy Davy. Davy and the Prince dated on-and-off for seven years but called it quits in 2011.
He Met Meghan Markle on a Blind Date
The pair met when a mutual friend set them up and although they had certainly heard of one another, they were complete strangers. Markle confesses to not having any preconceived idea of who he was and just wanted to know from her friend, "Well is he nice? 'Cause if he wasn't kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense."
He Brought Meghan Markle on a Private Museum Tour
Night at the museum! When the couple were dating, Prince Harry brought Meghan Markle on a private tour of the Natural History Museum in London. It is reported that Harry has a passion for learning about dinosaurs, so after the museum closed to the public, the pair had the whole building to themselves.
He Is a Competitive Polo Player
When you think polo, you probably think, "a rich people sport" and you'd be right! The Windsor men have always been active polo players and Prince Harry has certainly been in the spotlight for it, playing professionally for England against Australia when he was younger.
He Designed His Own Coat of Arms
When he turned 18-years-old, Queen Elizabeth II gave Prince Harry his own coat of arms and he even had his hand in the design of his crest. Since his marriage to Meghan Markle in 2018, his wife's coat of arms has been incorporated next to Harry's. Markle's coat of arms reflects her California background with a shield containing the color blue to represent the Pacific Ocean and golden rays to symbolize sunshine.
He Is Open About His Mental Health
In a campaign to raise awareness of mental health, Prince Harry admitted to years of panic attacks and rage, revealing that his life was in "total chaos" for two years. He spoke candidly about the years of pain and managing his life and mental health while coping with the early death of his mother, disclosing that he has needed therapy during those times.
She Wanted to Be a Professional Ballet Dancer, But Was Too Tall
Before she became Princess of Wales, Diana was a ballet dancer and she wanted to study professional ballet dancing. However, she grew too tall for the role and never pursued her dream. In an interview, her dance teacher Anne Allan remembered how "she loved the freeness of being able to move and dance... I could see it helped to alleviate her emotional life."
She Became Lady Diana After Her Father Earned His Title
In 1975, Diana's father earned the title Earl Spencer which subsequently gave her the title Lady Diana Spencer. Although she was a commoner in the eyes of the monarchy, her family were aristocrats. In fact, her grandmother was lady-in-waitng to the Queen Mother.
She Dropped Out of School
Homeschooled until the age of nine, Diana eventually went to boarding school but failed her final exams twice. At the age of 16 she dropped out of school, but it wouldn't be long before she was dating the next heir to the British throne.
She Worked as a Nanny Before She Was a Princess
Before she became the most famous woman in the world, Diana Spencer worked as a part-time teacher in a pre-school and a nanny. She was paid £5 an hour to play with children, clean and do laundry.
Diana's Sister Dated Prince Charles Before She Did
In the late 1970s, Diana's sister, Lady Sarah Spencer briefly dated Prince Charles. This is actually how the future married couple would meet. Diana's sister would later joke about how she played Cupid and was the matchmaker that brought the couple together.
She Was the First British Citizen to Marry a British Heir to the Throne Since 1659
Interestingly enough, Lady Diana was the first British citizen to marry a future heir to the throne in over 300 years. Although Queen Elizabeth II's mother was British, her father King George VI was not the first in line to the throne. He only became king because his older brother, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.
She Was the First Royal Bride to Have Had a Job
By the time she married Prince Charles in 1981, Diana was the first royal bride to have been a working woman before she married a future king. Her future daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton would also make history by being the first royal bride to have a University degree.
She Discarded Traditional Wedding Vows
Diana broke traditional patriarchal boundaries when she scrapped a long-standing marriage vow. She didn't vow to obey her husband but instead promised to "love, comfort and honor him in sickness and in health." She set a new tradition amongst women in the royal family as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle both left "obey" out of their wedding vows.
She Was the First to Give Birth to the Head of a Future British Monarch in a Hospital
Traditionally, future heirs to the throne were always born at home. However, Princess Diana gave birth to both Prince William and Prince Harry in a hospital in London.
She Was Known for Writing Thank You Cards
Princess Diana was well-known for her dedication to sending thank you cards. With the help of extra staff, it is reported that she replied to as many as 47,000 cards and gifts from well wishers after her marriage to Prince Charles. Many of her hand-written cards have been auctioned for prices as high as $20,000.
She Made History With Her Activism For HIV Awareness
In 1987, Princess Diana was photographed shaking hands with a patient suffering from HIV without wearing gloves. The image was circulated around the world and changed people's perception of the disease.
She Stayed in Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's Ranch to Escape the Media
In 1991, Kurt Russell met the Princess at the premiere for the movie "Backdraft." The pair chatted about Diana's trouble with the media's attention, to which Russell offered his private Colorado Ranch as a retreat for the Princess and her two sons.
She Came Up With the Term "Cleavage Bag"
With the media's crazed obsession, Diana was careful with what photos the paparazzi were able to snap of her. In an attempt to prevent her cleavage from getting photographed, the Princess used her clutch bag to cover up. She used to joke with her designer about the necessity for "cleavage bags" when wearing low cut dresses.
She Recorded a Tell-All Interview After Her Divorce
In 1995, Diana sat with veteran journalist Martin Bashir to talk about her separation from Prince Charles and his affair with his now-wife Camilla Parker Bowels. The interview was kept secret from the royal family but after it aired, the Queen urged Prince Charles and Diana to get a divorce. 22.8 million viewers tuned in to watch Diana disclose what it was really like to be Princess of Wales.
She Revealed the Rough Reality of Being Married Into the Royal Family
In 1991, after her messy and very public separation from Prince Charles, Diana began recording tapes of herself telling her side of the story and got a friend to deliver the recordings to a journalist in order to publicize them. On these tapes the Princess opens up about her unhappiness, the treatment she received from her in-laws and her attempted suicide.
She Had an Affair With Her Bodyguard
Princess Diana had "an unusually close relationship" with her bodyguard Barry Mannakee in the mid-1980s. Their relationship ended when Mannakee was removed from his royal duties under suspicion of having an affair with the Princess. Mannakee died in a motorcycle accident in 1987, however, there has always been a conspiracy as to whether or not his death was an accident.
“He was the greatest love I’ve ever had,” she said, referring to Mannakee, who had served as a Royal Protection Officer from April 1985 to March 1986. “I was quite happy to give it all up... just to go off and live with him. And he kept saying he thought it was a good idea too."
She Was Forced by Prince Charles to Give Up Her Title
Following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, Diana was forced to give up her distinguished HRH title. However, it wasn't her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, that demanded this but instead her ex-husband. According to the terms of their divorce, "she is to give up the right to be called 'Her Royal Highness,'" which the Prince insisted on.
She Suffered From an Eating Disorder
In 1992, Diana's biographer Andrew Morton released his book "Diana: Her True Story" where he described the Princess' struggle with bulimia. When her secret became public, it opened the conversation about eating disorders in public which led to a greater understanding and awareness of the disease. Many people began to come forward and seek help for their eating disorders after Morton's book was released.
She Had a Close Relationship With Elton John
Elton John met Princess Diana in 1981 when he performed at Prince Andrew's 21st birthday. The pair remained friends for years but fell out in 1996 after John published "Rock and Royalty" with Gianni Versace; a book that featured images of the royals including the Princess and her sons along with pictures of nude male models. The pair eventually reconciled six weeks before Diana's tragic death.
She Auctioned Her Dresses for Charity
Just two months before she died, Princess Diana held an auction where she sold 79 of her most iconic dresses for AIDs research charities. One of the dresses sold was the high-profiled black velvet gown she wore while dancing with John Travolta at the White House in 1985. The dress was auctioned for a staggering $131,000.
She Bravely Walked Through a Minefield in Her Campaign Against Landmines
Months before her untimely death in 1997, Princess Diana shocked the world when she walked along a minefield in Angola in her campaign to clear landmines beneath the ground. During her trip, she met with children who had been victims of landmines and brought a caring and personal touch to royal charitable duties.
Her Death Could Have Been Prevented If She Had Worn a Seatbelt
According to Britain's top forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Shepherd, Diana's death could have been prevented had she worn her seatbelt. "Had she been restrained, she would probably have appeared in public two days later with a black eye, perhaps a bit breathless from the fractured ribs and with a broken arm in a sling," Dr. Shepherd wrote in 2019.
Paparazzi Surrounded Her Car Before It Crashed
In the summer of 1997, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's romance was under extreme scrutiny and pictures of the couple were attracting bids of up to £500,000. In the early hours of the morning on August 31st, 1997, paparazzi chased the car the pair were traveling in when their driver lost control and crashed. The seven photographers were arrested but were later cleared of manslaughter charges.
2.5 Billion People Watched Her Funeral
On September 6th, 1997, 2,000 people attended the Princess' funeral inside Westminster Abbey in London. While mourners filled the spacious church, 3 million people gathered outside Westminster and along the streets of London while another 2.5 billion people watched on television. Her death was aired across 200 countries and in 44 languages.
She Regarded Herself As a Strong Woman in History
In her tell-all interview in 1995, Diana spoke openly about difficulties in her marriage, her mental health, her eating disorder and self-harm. The Princess revealed how she felt she couldn't cope with the pressures of being in the royal family and how her behavior went against traditional royal etiquette. She asserted how "Every strong woman in history has had to walk down a similar path."