14 Things You Didn’t Know About Prince Harry
He may be in the public eye often, but the former royal has a few secrets! Here are 14 things you didn't know about Prince Harry.
He was so excited to become a dad
Even before his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was expecting, Prince Harry talked about his wish for children. “I can’t wait for the day, so it will be fantastic,” Harry told ABC News in 2016, just months before he met Meghan. “I’ve got a kid inside of me. I want to keep that. I adore kids. I enjoy everything that they bring to the party. They just say what they think.” Now that he’s a father, Harry can’t get enough of his son, Archie.
He created a sports competition for veterans
One cause close to Prince Harry’s heart is the support of wounded veterans, so he established a sports competition called the Invictus Games to help them overcome their mental and physical injuries. “I’m lucky enough to watch someone who should be dead run the 100 metres,” he told ABC News. “You want the definition of inspiration? That’s probably it. No one wants sympathy—all they want is an opportunity to prove themselves, and that’s what this is all about.” Harry and Meghan just attended the fourth Invictus Games, in Sydney, Australia.
He’s a veteran himself
Prince Harry actually served for ten years in the British military, where he was called “Captain Wales.” He was in combat on the front lines in Afghanistan but was pulled out for security reasons when his secret deployment was revealed. “I felt very resentful,” he told Newsweek. “Being in the army was the best escape I’ve ever had. I felt as though I was really achieving something.” He described to ABC News feeling “broken” over leaving his fellow soldiers behind. But, he did get to return a few years later. “I wanted to prove that I had a certain set of skills—for instance, flying an Apache helicopter—rather than just being Prince Harry,” he told Newsweek. “I also felt I was one of the lads and could forget I was Prince Harry when I was with them.”
Here are all the other times that the royal family got honest with the media.
He trekked to the South Pole
In 2013 the adventurous prince completed a 200-mile trek to the South Pole along with 12 wounded servicemen and women from the United Kingdom, the United States, and around the British Commonwealth. Originally a competition between the countries, the expedition’s director decided to turn it into a team effort after rough conditions made racing too dangerous. “All in all, mission success,” the prince said in a video from the South Pole posted on BBC News. Harry had been on part of a similar 2011 expedition to the North Pole but left early to attend the wedding of his brother, Prince William.
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He hates Twitter
“I quite hate Twitter,” he told teens at an event, reports the Daily Mail. Although he’d like to use the platform to promote his charitable causes, “invasion of privacy” issues have him concerned. “I would love to tweet about things I care about but it’s a fine line between what you should do and what you can do, and what other people want to know and what you don’t want them to know,” he said.
Here’s why only certain royals have social media accounts.
His name isn’t Harry
When his engagement was announced, royal fans around the world were shocked that the Prince Harry they’ve watched all his life wasn’t actually named Prince Harry, but (wait for it)…Prince Henry! His full name, as his official bio notes, is Prince Henry Charles Albert David. Harry is, somewhat oddly, a British nickname for Henry, and that’s how the public got to know him. Interestingly, if Harry ever took the throne, he would be King Henry IX, the first of that name since the wife-beheading King Henry VIII.
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He doesn’t want to be king
As sixth in line to the throne, it was unlikely Prince Harry would ever wear the crown anyway, which may be a good thing—he seems to believe the saying “heavy is the head” that wears it. “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,” he told Newsweek. Even though he has now stepped down from his royal duties, he once said, “Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping,” he told the magazine, Harry thinks people need to believe in the monarchy’s mystique. “We don’t want to dilute the magic,” he said. “The British public and the whole world need institutions like it.”
He talked to his mother on the day she died
Who can forget the heartbreaking sight of the card to “Mummy” on top of Princess Diana’s coffin? Prince Harry, who lost his mother at the tender age of 12, remembers the last time he spoke to her in the 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “As a kid, I never enjoyed speaking to my parents on the phone,” he says. Eager to get back to playing, he rushed off her call from Paris. “I will regret for the rest of my life how short the phone call was, and if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother the things I would have said to her…how differently that conversation would have panned out had I had even the slightest inkling that her life was going to be taken that night.”
He sought help for mental health
The trauma of losing his mother manifested for Prince Harry as repressed grief. “The first time I cried was at the funeral at the island [at her childhood home, Althorp] and since then maybe once, so there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out,” he said in Diana, Our Mother. “It was a classic case of, ‘Don’t let yourself think about your mum and the grief and the hurt because it’s never going to bring her back and it’s only going to make you more sad.'” But Harry eventually got professional help after being “very close to a complete breakdown,” he told the Telegraph in a podcast. “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 my work as well,” he said. Finally realizing he had to deal with his grief and anger, Harry also started opening up publicly about his own struggles to lessen the stigma around mental health issues.
Check out these rarely seen photos of Prince Harry with Princess Diana.
He gives good hugs
A warm and open person like his mom, Prince Harry also inherited her gift of good hugs. “She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible,” he said in Diana, Our Mother. Talking to ABC News, he revealed the same about himself. “Everyone needs a hug every now and then, and it so happens I’ve been told over and over again I’m very good at giving hugs,” he said. His hugging ability is also a trait he shares with Meghan. “I’m American—I hug,” she reportedly said after being chastised for embracing others too often.
It was love at first sight with Meghan
Royal watchers were so happy that the prince, who had battled for so long with his own demons after losing his mother, finally seemed settled and happy when he married Meghan. But for Harry himself, he saw his future with Meghan as soon as they first set eyes on each other during a blind date in 2016. When asked “When did you know she was the one?” while meeting with photographers after their engagement announcement, Harry said, “the very first time we met.”
He feels at home in Africa
Meghan and Harry’s love was solidified during a camping trip to Botswana, which he calls his “second home,” just weeks after they met. Harry also later got Meghan’s engagement diamond in the African country. But the his love for Africa started long before, with his first trip there shortly after his mother died, he told Town & Country. “This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “I wish I could spend more time in Africa. I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here.” Prince Harry is involved in conservation work on the continent, and established a charity, Sentebale (which means “forget me not”), with his friend Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help children impacted by poverty and HIV/AIDS (a cause Diana also championed).
Here’s more about the work and hobbies that the other royal family members are involved in.
He doesn’t eat pizza
Fans were shocked when Prince Harry admitted he doesn’t normally eat one of the world’s favorite comfort foods. “I don’t even eat pizza anymore, but I had pizza last night,” Harry said while visiting a Chicago school in 2017. At least he seemed to enjoy the rare indulgence. “We had deep-dish, and we had thin crust,” he said. “I promise you, I will make sure I eat Chicago.” Could this pizza avoidance be Meghan’s influence? Probably not: Although she’s generally a healthy eater, she allows herself leeway on the weekends. “I love pasta, I love carbs—who doesn’t love a carbohydrate?” she told Best Health.
He picks up trash
Although he’s been brought up in a privileged atmosphere, Harry is very aware of his impact on the earth and has picked up some very “green” habits. “I used to get taken the mickey out of at school for picking up rubbish—when you see something, you pick it up,” he said in the recent BBC documentary Prince, Son And Heir: Charles At 70, in honour of his father Prince Charles‘ recent birthday. “It’s like wow, I’ve literally done this because I’m programmed to do it because my father did it. We should all be doing it.” Another eco-habit he got from his dad? “He’s a stickler for turning lights off and that’s now something that I’m obsessed with,” Harry said in the interview. “My wife goes, ‘Well, why turn the lights off? It’s dark’. I go, ‘We only need one light, we don’t need, like, six,’ and all of a sudden, it becomes a habit.”