Prince Harry is one of the two sons of Prince Charles and the late, Princess Diana, and he was one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. Seriously, he was the kind of guy that Bruce Wayne would have hung out with but in real life. With his upcoming marriage to Meghan Markle, the world has been turning their attention to the happy couple. While most people have been (understandably) focusing on the futures Duchess, it’s important to look at the groom as well. Prince Harry has gone through a surprisingly tough life for someone born into royalty. The loss of his mother affected him for decades afterward and may have played a role in his more troublesome behavior in his early years.
But as he grew and matured in a difficult world (especially during his time as a soldier in Afghanistan), Harry has become one of those people who you actually want to see in a place of power. He’s proven to be charitable and inventive, and surprisingly humble— to the point that some of his more surprisingly mundane secrets actually take away from the myth of the royal family. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t done incredible things in the past, or that his closet is entirely empty of skeletons. But it does showcase the charm and humanity of Prince Harry. Here are 20 things that you wouldn’t expect about Prince Harry.
20 He Used To Be A Rugby Player
Like with most teenagers, Harry ended up finding and playing a sport he loved while he was a student in school. But while Harry does have a soft spot for horse riding and polo that he seemingly inherited from his grandmother, that’s not the main game he spent time playing. Instead, Harry spent his time at the famous Eton College in London playing rugby. He was a strong player, even if his royal status made him a bigger target on the field (which we’ll get to later), which kept the rest of the other players focused on him instead of the ball. Even after leaving school and stopping playing the sport on the regular, Harry has kept his love for the game. He was made the vice patron of the Rugby Football Union, which helps govern the English national rugby league. He’s even taken time out of his busy schedule to give tips to younger players and even served as a rugby coach alongside a World Cup-winning female squad member. His love of the sport has been a longstanding aspect of his life, and that’s great. We’re way happier he ended up playing rugby instead of polo. Way more entertaining.
19 He Was Accused Of Lying On Exams
Ian Burke was a former department head at the Eton College in west London, and one of his most famous students was Prince Harry. But Burke has been accused of helping Harry cheat on examinations when he was a student. These accusations come from Sarah Forsyth, a former teacher who was let go from the school in 2003, who has also claimed that she even wrote the art coursework journal that Harry ended up turning in the previous year. At the time, his pending army application required Harry to receive certain grades to formally be brought into the armed services. She says that Harry was considered to be a weak student by much of the teaching staff and that it was an open secret that his teachers would end up doing his work for him. Although Burke and Harry have denied the allegations consistently since the original accusation and Harry was eventually cleared of cheating by an exam board, Forsyth was still awarded £45,000 in damages. The controversy broke at the same time that his poor decision making at a costume party (which we’ll get to in a bit), and definitely did not endear him to his fellow troops.
18 He Does His Own Errands
Harry has been a member of the ruling class since his birth, so it wouldn’t have been so shocking for him to give in fully to the ideas of living the high life. But he’s committed to trying to remain at least somewhat humble. His experiences in the military that saw him on live battlefields helped put things in perspective for him, and he’s been trying to maintain an ordinary life. It’s a lesson he learned from his mother, who never wanted to lose her connection with the real world and all the people in it. This even extends to doing his own errands. During an interview, Harry said that “my mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too. Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
17 He Had A Rough Time In School
Despite being an actual Prince (or probably partly because), Prince Harry ended up actually getting picked on when he was a student in school. While we may like to think that the royal class was completely removed from the average problems of the world, there are still aspects of life that you can’t avoid. While speaking about the bullying in an interview, Harry remembered how he was a target of bullying because other students thought he was smug from his upbringing. Looking back, Harry recalled that “people would see me on the rugby field as an opportunity to smash me up and actually there were people in my own school during inter-house rugby competitions that would beat me up, not beat me up but would put in bigger tackles because it was me. But certainly in school inter-house is where I got injured the most… So look, I mean I was always prepared to take a few hard knocks. I like to think I managed to give a few back as well.” That might have put a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and could have been part of the reason Harry went so hard on the partying as a teenager.
16 He’s Been To The North Pole
Harry has never been accused of wasting away the time and resources that are at his disposal. The man has been active his entire life, going on adventures or trying new things just for the sake of doing them. Sometimes these acts are done in the name of charity, and sometimes they are done just for a laugh. But a couple of these expeditions have carried some historical and familial weight. He’s done a lot of work with veterans support groups around the world, including one he founded himself. He’s taken part in a number of charitable events, most notably in 2010 when he took part in a Walking With The Wounded expedition to the North Pole. Yes, that North Pole. He actually walked (alongside a number of other participants from the United Kingdom and the United States) over two hundred miles in the freezing cold to reach the pole. The man kept moving even as the weather fell to -35 degrees Celsius, or as it’s more commonly referred to as— really, really, really, cold. In doing so, he became the first member of the entire British royal family to ever make it to the North Pole, which must have been a great feeling for both the charitable work and the fact that he can now bring that up in every single family dinner argument.
15 He Helped Found A Charity To Help Orphans
Prince Harry has been seen, especially in recent years, as truly the son of his late mother. Princess Diana was an incredibly kind woman, who retained her down to earth sensibilities and pleasantness even as she became one of the most powerful women in the world. She dedicated herself to charity, trying to change the world one life at a time. And while she may have passed away unexpectedly and tragically, her son has taken up her stead. He’s involved in numerous charitable groups, with many of them even being founded by Harry himself. One of these is Sentebale, a charity he helped form alongside Crown Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Africa. The two met when Harry, who was taking a gap year from his school work, had originally been scheduled to work on an Australian farm for the duration but decided he wanted to do something a bit more philanthropic. To that end, he came to Lesotho to work with children who had lost their parents to the AIDS epidemic. He befriended Seeiso, and the two connected over having both also lost their mothers when they were young. The pair started the foundation to help other children who had been orphaned, and it’s steadily grown over the years.
14 He’s Best Friends With Multi-Millionaires
Prince Harry already has pretty much everything anyone could ever ask for, and he travels in the kind of circles you’d expect someone like him to do. His clique of friends is so influential, there are multiple millionaires all in one group. One of his best friends is Arthur Landon, son of Timothy Landon and one of the richest young men in all of Britain. The filmmaker met Harry at Eton College and has been buddies with him ever since. He was actually in Las Vegas during the infamous trip that saw Harry photographed during a game of billiards. He even defended his friend in the fallout from the scandal, saying “I obviously think it is really despicable that someone would accept Prince Harry’s hospitality and then take these pictures. I know it has put a real dampener on everybody who was on that holiday.” Which, fair point, but also kinda not the point. He’s also close with Sam Branson (son of Virgin mogul, Richard Branson) and the two have been spotted hanging out together on multiple occasions. Thomas van Straubenzee might be one of his oldest friends, with the two growing up and going to prep school together. Harry has even dropped everything to rush to Thomas’ side in a crisis. Thomas seems to be important to the whole royal family and is even the godparent to Princess Charlotte, William's daughter.
13 He Loves Dinosaurs (And Meghan Markle)
Just like everyone else on the planet, it turns out that Prince Harry also just loves dinosaurs. And he found someone else who loved them too— Meghan Markle. So Harry decided to use all that princely power to pull off one of the best possible date ideas ever. Harry was able to arrange a private tour of the museum one night after it had closed to the public. Which, we just want to take a second to appreciate. He didn’t interrupt anything or anyone else, he made sure the museum was open for the whole day before turning it romantic. According to an interview the former Suits actress gave after the date, Meghan had been wanting to see the museum for some time, so Harry managed to find a way to make it even better. Meghan joins her new in-laws in loving that subject of history, with Duchess Catherine reportedly being a big fan of the museum as well and often bringing her two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte to visit on the regular. With their relationship taking the next step in just a few weeks, Meghan can expect a lot more dates like this in the future. Just imagine what he’s going to do for the anniversary.
12 He Inherited A Lot Of Money From His Mother
The loss of Princess Diana broke the hearts of everyone on the planet, leading to one of the most famous funeral processions of all time. But her fateful car crash was particularly hard on her children, who would take decades to truly process the events and what it meant for them. But to make matters even more complicated, they actually received a fortune from the unfortunate events. In the events of her death, Princess Diana left roughly £21 million in money and assets to her sons. The money was kept protected in a trust, picking up interest over the early years of their lives until they turned 25. Even when they hit that age, they kept the trust going. It’s now believed that the two brothers have received roughly £10 million of the inheritance, which has actually accumulated an additional £3 million in interest. Alongside the money, the Princes were also given a number of their mother’s personal effects, including her wedding dress and personal letters. On top of the resources afforded to them by their status and their family, they also have everything from their mother. They’ve also proven to value the mementos from their mother over the money. In an ever-increasing cynical world, it’s always nice to see that those kinds of affections prove more important than money.
11 He’s Never Had S'Mores
One of the charitable things Harry has taken to doing with his time has been to participate in camping trips with groups of children and teens at a number of nature reserves in the United Kingdom. But while he was at one of these events, he revealed a surprising secret to his fellow campers while they roasted marshmallows around the campfire. So, it turns out that Harry, sixth in line for the British throne and arguably one of the most famous men in the world, has never once in his life had a smore. Seriously! He explained that he can’t stand marshmallows and that they are way too sweet for him. He may have picked up some of the healthy eating habits his mother tried to install in him and his brother. Or it might just be a result of his tastes. But for whatever reason, it’s just surprising to consider that there’s something so common that most people in western culture have done since they were children. This is a guy who’s done so many things that no one else ever could have the opportunity to do, but he hasn’t once had one of the fundamental parts of camping.
10 He’s Paid By The Government
Just being royalty turns out to be a pretty good job on its own. There are actually a few members of the royal family actually receive a certain amount of money from the government at an annual rate. Queen Elizabeth is directly paid by the Duchy of Lancaster, and her son Prince Charles is paid by the Duchy of Cornwall. He receives the annual net surplus from the Duchy of Cromwell, which is brought together from a number of different holdings across the country. He uses this money to take care of the various living expenses of the rest of his family. Prince William and Prince Harry both have most of their expenses taken care of by the payments to their father, and are able to take care of their families with the money allotted to them from the commonwealth. This has opened them up to using their other monetary resources to contribute to the world around them through a variety of charitable causes instead of having to focus on their own conditions. Well, their conditions are still pretty swanky, but at least this way they can help more people.
9 He Went To A Medical Center As A Teenager
When a teenager has more power and access than almost anyone their own age, it’s easy for them to go off the rails a little bit. And Prince Harry definitely had his trouble staying on the straight and narrow when he was a teenager. While on vacation from school, the young Prince would often stay at his own apartment, and the lack of adult supervision didn’t exactly help his attitude. He was a bit of a party animal, and would reportedly even drink underage. He was also reportedly belligerent whenever he was confronted by the staff of various bars and would refuse to leave even after he was asked to by management. The final straw seems to have been when a police investigation into his underage drinking began, and evidence that Harry had even been using illegal drugs came to light. His father, Charles, sent his son to the Featherstone Lodge Rehabilitation Centre in an attempt to scare him straight. And, to a degree, it seemed to work. Harry only stayed for a single day, before heading home and eventually resuming his studies. But that wouldn’t be the last we saw of the party boy, Prince Harry, in the tabloids.
8 He Sought Therapy After He Lost His Mother
Therapy can often still be stigmatized in modern society. It was only 50 years ago that admitting to taking therapy was a huge social misstep. Many people still try to keep the circumstances of that part of their lives hidden away from everyone else. It’s what makes Harry coming out and revealing that he received counseling such an important step forward for mental health treatment. The Prince revealed that he had gone looking for professional help when he was 28. Lingering emotions from the loss of his mother almost twenty years earlier had left him an undecided and strange place, one he had difficulty tackling alone. “I can safely say that 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. My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand. Refusing to ever think about my mum because why would that help? It's only going to make you sad. It's not going to bring her back.” The counseling has clearly had a positive effect on the young Prince, who’s been seeming healthier and happier in recent years than he ever has before. Harry has also been advocating for mental health for most of his adult life and has used many charitable sources to help people who need that kind of help to get through their lives.
7 He Became An Army Helicopter Pilot
Despite some of the dumber aspects of his past, Harry has proven himself a serious and honorable man during his service in the British army. He’s served ten years with the army, including two tours of service to Afghanistan. It was truly here that the drunk party boy was replaced by a more socially conscious Harry. He received rigorous training and even managed to become an Apache helicopter pilot. Although his location at various times was hidden from the public out of fears of targeted attacks, Harry still took part in military operations. During an interview, Harry recounted “I saw some horrendous things. The tragic injuries and deaths of local people from roadside bombs, some of whom were children; coalition forces lying in the battlefield. To see young lads— much younger than me— wrapped in plastic and missing limbs with hundreds of tubes coming out of them was something I never prepared myself for." His fellow soldiers saw him grow into a compassionate man through his time in the army, with his experiences informing his dedication to advocacy and fundraising works around the world. It’s good to see that while the experience changed him, it seems to have been for the better.
6 He Made A Bad Decision At A Costume Party
Prince Harry has become a stand-up guy and a perfect example of how the British monarchy should act, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, he spent a solid chunk of the 2000's trying to salvage his reputation after some very public, very tasteless decisions during a party. While at a friends costume party, Harry decided to show up dressed as a German soldier from World War II. Yeah... Not ideal. Pictures of him in the costume were leaked almost immediately by magazines like The Sun, which quickly turned the snapshots into a global conversation. To make matters worse, his grandmother was just about to take part in a series of historical memorial ceremonies, which is just the worst timing possible to be caught doing that. His father was livid with him, and Harry eventually was forced to make a public apology for his costume making light of real-world atrocities. His reputation still suffered and just as he was about to join the army, too. That’s not exactly what you want the rest of your squad to be thinking about when you all get to meet each other for the first time.
5 His Wild Vegas Weekend
The crazy behavior didn’t just stop when he became a soldier though. He was still finding himself in the headlines for his odder antics, the most famous probably being his trip to Vegas. While partying out with a bunch of friends, he ended up impressing some beautiful women and bringing them back to his VIP suite. There, they passed the time drinking and playing billiards of all things. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t end up doing that well apparently because he quickly ended up without any clothes on inside the room. And how do we know that? Because this is about the point when pictures were taken of him and the girls. The pictures were quickly leaked to the press, who had a field day with the shots and used them to tear into the Prince. The royal family was eventually forced to admit that the pictures were real, but weren’t able to buy the rights to the pictures and keep them from spreading. Harry has admitted that those antics weren’t ideal and has opened up about his regrets during interviews. He said “It was probably a classic case of me being too much army and not enough prince. It's a simple case of that."
4 He Created The Invictus Games
Despite there sometimes being a perception that the British royals are just figureheads nowadays and that they contribute almost nothing to the country, Harry and his brother have given strong evidence of the opposite. They’ve dedicated themselves to making the world a better place, at least, in some small way, and Harry has actually had a very positive output on his nation. One of his ideas began when he saw the effect that the US Warrior Games had on their participating military veterans. Wishing that the UK could do something like that for its disabled soldiers. After working out the details with organizations in London and using £1 million from the Royalty Foundation (the charity he runs alongside his brother and sister-in-law), the first Invictus games were held in London in 2014. The event has become an international tradition, bringing soldiers from around the world together to compete in a series of different events ranging from cycling and archery to events that reflect the disabled competitors, like Paralympic Swimming and wheelchair basketball. The games have been a tremendous success, and it’s been great to see a former army man like Harry still trying to help his fellow soldiers, even after leaving the battlefield.
3 He Proposed With His Mother’s Jewelry
Following their private engagement, Harry and Meghan have especially been in the limelight lately, thanks to their upcoming wedding. And paparazzi were understandably excited to see the pair in public together for the first time, taking plenty of snapshots of the couple as they made their first public appearance together after the announcement by walking out of Kensington Palace. But the photographers made have made an adorable realization while they were taking pictures of the happy couple. The Prince reportedly designed the yellow gold ring himself, making sure to craft it from very important aspects of his life. Firstly, the central stone of the ring is from Botswana, a personal favorite location for Harry after he spent a great deal of happy time there as a boy with his family. And the other two diamonds are actually from his mother’s collection of jewelry, which has since been inherited by the two Princes. It’s actually a tradition his brother followed as well, as William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010 with a ring adorned with his mother’s jewelry. It’s a testament to how much these women mean to these two, and a good sign of character from the both of them.
2 He’s Marrying A Former Suitcase Model From Deal Or No Deal
Meghan Markle wasn’t exactly obscure before becoming the fiancée of one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. The former fashion blogger has done a wide range of work across a whole host of industries, usually publicly and well. Her acting career may have taken a minute to take off (in a 2015 interview she said it was her being biracial that made her an unlikely candidate to be cast in her early years) She used to work on the hit game show, Deal or No Deal, as one of the various suitcase models who would open the suitcases in the game. Fans of the television show, Suits, have known her for years as paralegal, Rachel Zane, who goes on to have one of the best arcs of the entire series. She played the part for seven seasons of the show, and it was during this time that she met and began dating Prince Harry. She’s also released her own fashion line and has taken part in various charitable endeavors. She’s even revealed her pending retirement from acting to focus more on philanthropy alongside her new husband. She and Harry seem ecstatic as the day approaches too, which just increases the excitement for the event.
1 He Wants To Reinvent The Monarchy
Prince Harry has become an incredibly influential figure not just in Britain, but around the entire world. He’s transformed into a charming, casual and compassionate man, turning from the problem child he was in his youth into possibly one of the most popular members of royalty from any country. Part of that has definitely come from his tendency to be a part of a new generation and not beholden to the past like many expected him to. He’s even openly spoken about how he thinks the British monarchy needs to adjust and change to better reflect the realities of the 21st century. During an interview, he said “The monarchy is a force for good and we want to carry on the positive atmosphere that the queen has achieved for over 60 years, but we won’t be trying to fill her boots. We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.” It’s fascinating to see someone in that position of power willing and happy to try to change the world for the better like Harry is. It helps us to like him even more, even beyond the charming aspects of the Prince.