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18 Things You Didn’t Know About Prince Harry

He may be in the public eye often, but the former royal has a few secrets up his sleeve!

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex tour of Australia - 17 Oct 2018Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

He loves being a dad

Even before his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was expecting their first child Archie, 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.” Harry can’t get enough of his son, Archie—and now he and Meghan have a daughter, Lilibet, as well. Here’s the entire royal family tree explained in one easy chart.

The Duke Of Sussex Visits The Field Of Remembrance At Westminster AbbeyMax Mumby/Getty Images

He’s 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 the 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “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, something he’s continued as part of the docuseries The Me You Can’t See that he is producing with Oprah Winfrey.

Global Citizen VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The WorldKevin Winter/Getty Images

He wants to help others speak honestly about mental health

In The Me You Can’t See, which debuted in May 2021, Prince Harry tells Oprah that he wants nothing more than to use his fame and considerable platform to help others with mental health struggles feel less alone. He’s aware of the privilege of his position and believes that the best use of it is to show others that mental health struggles can affect anyone. With The Me You Can’t See, he shares resources for anyone who is, or knows someone who is, facing a difficult time. It’s certainly quite a step up from his carefree, fun-loving prince persona. Here are 14 ways Meghan Markle changed Prince Harry.

Commonwealth Day Service 2020Karwai Tang/Getty Images

He’s writing a memoir

Prince Harry’s candor is not stopping any time soon! In July 2021, a press release revealed that Harry’s “intimate and heartfelt” memoir is in the works and will be published by Penguin Random House sometime in late 2022. The royal family has been less than thrilled about this news—firstly, because it will likely contain some hard truths in the way his and Meghan’s Oprah interview did, but also because its release will correspond with the Queen’s 70th Jubilee, commemorating her 70th year on the throne. (You do you, Harry!) He does have a precedent of breaking royal protocol.

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor CastlePool/Samir Hussein/Getty Images

He secretly wed Meghan Markle days before their televised ceremony

In their March 2021 tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan revealed that she and Prince Harry were actually married before the official ceremony at Windsor Castle. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welsby, married them in an intimate backyard ceremony three days before their televised wedding. In the interview, Meghan said of the private ceremony, “This thing—this spectacle—is for the world, but we want our union between us.” Here are the most iconic photos from Meghan and Harry’s marriage (so far).

Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince HarryTim Rooke - Pool/Getty Images

He felt “trapped” as a member of the royal family

Prince Harry also revealed in the Oprah interview that he felt trapped within the system as a member of the royal family before he met Meghan. “My father [Prince Charles] and my brother [Prince William], they are trapped,” Harry said. “They don’t get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that.” Prince Harry is sixth in line for the throne, whereas Prince Charles is first in line and Prince William is second in line. Here’s the full line of succession to the British throne.

Launch Of The Invictus Games 2020 in The HaguePatrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

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 meters,” 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.” The fifth Invictus Games, which were supposed to be in 2020, will begin in May of 2022 after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more things you didn’t know about the British royal family.

Prince Harry Visits SydneyChris Jackson/Getty Images

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 the ways Meghan and Harry’s wedding made history.

Prince Harry With Team U.k. 'walking With The Wounded' Soldiers At The Launch In Trafalgar Square For Their Race To The South Pole. Guy Disney Ibrar Ali Richard Eyre Kate Philip Duncan Slater. Picture David Parker 14.11.13.David Parker/Associated Newspapers/Shutterstock

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. Check out more surprising hobbies the royal family does in their spare time.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex tour of Fiji - 25 Oct 2018Matt Baron/Shutterstock

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. He and his wife are no longer on social media at all as of January 2021. This is why Harry has worn the same bracelet for years.

The Duke Of Sussex Visits Abbey Road StudiosWPA Pool/Getty Images

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 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. These are the strangest conspiracy theories about Meghan and Harry.

Members Of The Royal Family Attend Events To Mark The Centenary Of The RAFMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

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.” And it turns out Diana actually thought Harry would make a better king than William.

Prince William and Prince Harry leave tribute to Princess Diana at the gates of Kensington Palace, London, UK - 30 Aug 2017Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

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, remembered the last time he spoke to her in Diana, Our Mother. “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.” Read about the things Prince Harry inherited from Princess Diana.

Prince Harry hugging a fanPhil Noble/AP/Shutterstock

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. Here are the etiquette rules every member of the royal family must follow.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile at each otherMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

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.” Check out these rarely seen photos of the British royal family throughout the years.

Prince Harry visit to South Africa - 02 Dec 2015Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

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 has been 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 the members of the British royal family actually do.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex tour Australia, Melbourne - 18 Oct 2018ANDY BROWNBILL/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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.” Find out more bizarre eating habits of the royal family, according to their former personal chef.

Invictus Games - Opening CeremonyMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

He picks up trash

Although he was 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 BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70. “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.” Next, check out these candid, rarely seen photos of the royal family.

Sources:

  • CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry
  • Decider: “Prince Harry and Oprah’s ‘The Me You Can’t See’ is Nothing Like Diana’s Infamous Martin Bashir Interview”
  • Marie Claire: “A Royal Expert Says Prince Harry’s Memoir Release Date Could Be Seen as ‘Disrespectful’ to the Queen”

Tina Donvito
Tina Donvito is a regular contributor to RD.com’s Culture and Travel sections. She also writes about health and wellness, parenting, and pregnancy. Previously editor-in-chief of Twist magazine, Donvito has also written for Parade Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Parents Magazine online, among others. Here work was selected by author Elizabeth Gilbert to be included in the anthology Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It: Life Journeys Inspired by the Bestselling Memoir. She earned a BA in English and History from Rutgers University.

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