Drinking and dancing in London clubs, smoking marijuana, playing a stripping game in Las Vegas, and dressing as a Nazi, Harry Windsor (Prince Henry of Wales) has had his fair share tabloid frontpage tribulations.
At just 12-years-old he lost his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. He is now open about having been on the brink of a “complete mental breakdown” while dealing with his grief.
Harry has admitted that during his school days, he was a bit of a bad boy. In 2002, he admitted to smoking weed and drinking at a bar near his family’s Highgrove estate. He was 17-years-old. For his sins, Harry had to spend a day in rehab.
In 2004, he was involved in a shoving match with a photographer outside a London nightclub. A Royal spokesman said the then 20-year-old prince only pushed a camera away after it struck him in the face. The photographer insisted that Harry “lunged” at him, pushing the camera into his face and cutting his lip.
In 2005, Harry decided that it would be zany to show up at a friend’s costume party dressed as a Nazi. The Royal family issued a statement of apology from the Prince, in response to the photograph published on the front page of a British tabloid.
“I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize”.
He ended up with a career in the military. During his 10 years of service, he had two tours of duty in Afghanistan. In 2009, he apologized after a video where he is seen and heard making racist remarks was leaked.
St. James’s Palace issued this statement:
“Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term can be, and is extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause. However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon. There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend. Prince Harry used the term ‘raghead’ to mean Taleban or Iraqi insurgent.”
“Classic example of me being too much Army, not enough Prince.”
The Royal Family was in damage control again in 2012 when photos were leaked of Prince Harry frolicking naked in a Las Vegas hotel room. The two grainy pictures were published by TMZ. They show the naked prince in compromising positions. TMZ said the pictures were taken during a game of strip billiards. The then 27-year-old prince was on leave from his military duties. The Royal Family confirmed the photos were real but declined to comment.
But, being in the Army drove Harry to want to help wounded military people. He launched the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, and veterans.
“I knew that it was my responsibility to use the great platform that I have, to help the world understand and be inspired by the spirit of those who wear a uniform.”
The 2016 Invictus Games were held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. The opening ceremony was attended by Harry, Michelle Obama, George W. Bush and many other dignitaries. Barack Obama and Harry’s grandmother made a promotional video for the event.
The 2017 games were held in Toronto. This year the games will be held in October in Sydney. The 2020 games are scheduled to be held in The Hague.
“Losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well. I sort of buried my head in the sand for many, many years”.
He said that William the Duke of Cambridge encouraged him to speak to someone:
“My brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me and kept saying, this is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk about stuff.”
He joined forces with his brother and sister-in-law in starting Heads Together, an initiative to promote mental wellbeing.
Harry also works with his mother’s HALO Trust (Hazardous Area Life-support Organization), a non-political and non-religious organization which removes debris left behind by war, especially land mines. HALO’s largest operation is in Afghanistan.
He is a patron of Walking With The Wounded, a charity that helps injured former British Armed Forces servicemen and women in their career transition from the military to civilian life. Prince Harry participated in the WWTW events, including expeditions to the North Pole in 2011, Mount Everest in 2012, the South Pole in 2013 and the 1000 mile Walk Around Britain in 2015.
To raise awareness for HIV testing, Harry took a test drive on the Royal Family Facebook page in 2016. He attended the 21st International AIDS Conference a few weeks later. Lat year, on World Aids Day, Harry and his friend Rihanna helped publicize HIV testing by taking the test themselves
In 2017, Harry spent three weeks in Malawi where he joined a team of volunteers to carry off one of the largest elephant translocations in history, in an effort to repopulate areas decimated due to poaching and habitat loss, they safely moved 500 elephants.
This spring, Harry became a patron of Walk Of America, a campaign where veterans take part in a 1,000-mile walk across the USA.
Earlier this summer, the Elton John AIDS Foundation announced Harry and Sir Elton John had launched a global coalition called MenStar that will focus on treating HIV infections in men.
This past spring, Harry, now officially the Duke of Sussex, married a divorced African-American television actor in an elaborate ceremony featuring a gospel choir, a bunch of “firsts” for a British Royal. There were a lot of A-list celebrities, but the only foreign royal guests at the wedding were Prince Harry’s friend Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, who helped him co-found, after the death of both of their mothers, the Sentebale Foundation to help AIDS orphans in Lesotho, and his wife Princess Mabereng.
Prince Harry celebrated his 34th birthday today.