Prince Harry: From royal rebel to soldier and activist

Prince Harry: From royal rebel to soldier and activist

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Prince Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle in just three days. He is the youngest child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and sixth in line to the throne. While Prince Harry has served in the British army and is known for his philanthropic work, when he was growing up he had a reputation for being a royal rebel. 

Destined for a life in the spotlight, crowds gathered in London to celebrate the arrival of his Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales. 

“There was such tremendous excitement when Prince Harry was born,” royal historian Amanda Foreman told “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell. “You could say that Prince Harry was born under a lucky star, a happy star. People were genuinely thrilled when he arrived.”

According to Princess Diana, her youngest son set his own path early on. As the world watched William and Harry grow up, the images were often of the boys enjoying time with their mother. Harry looked back on his first visit to the United States when he spoke with Norah O’Donnell in 2016

“We had happy, happy memories, you know. It was – it was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

A year after her marriage to Prince Charles came to an end, Diana, known as the most photographed woman in the world, was killed in a car crash after a high-speed chase with paparazzi in Paris.

“He and his brother think the media killed their mother, just to be clear….I don’t mean sort of metaphorically, I mean literally,” said British broadcaster Tom Bradby, a friend of William and Harry. 

During their mother’s funeral, William and Harry were told they had to walk behind the procession.

“The British have always had a sentimental side to them. And they’ve, throughout history, really loved long, torturous funeral processions and the two boys were forced to take part in this charade….They have both been on record saying how terrible, how painful it was to be forced to walk past thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, all staring at their faces, wanting to drink their emotions like vampires drinking blood, and yet, they had to control themselves,” Foreman said. 

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With privacy rarely assured, cameras caught Prince Harry in several scandals as he grew older. 

“That came to a terrible head when he was a teenager, when he went to party dressed as a Nazi officer. And there’s no doubt in anyone’s minds that Prince Harry was not a Nazi sympathizer. He was just being an idiot. But you can’t afford to be an idiot when you’re, you know, the next in line to the throne after your elder brother,” Foreman said.

The discipline of a soldier came when Harry joined the British army in 2005. As an officer, he did two tours in Afghanistan and became the first royal to see combat in a quarter century. 

After a decade of service, Prince Harry left the army, but continued to fight for the wounded men and women of the military by creating the Invictus Games, an annual sports competition for injured veterans.  

“I’d hope she’d be, you know, incredibly proud,” Harry said of his mother in 2016. “I would love it if she was here, and I’m – I’m sure she would be running around causing chaos like I intend to as well.”

“What’s really ironic about Princess Diana is that she came from the top echelons of society. Yet, she herself was, in many ways, increasingly a social rebel. So for her son to carry on that tradition would no doubt make her exceptionally proud,” Foreman said.

His marriage to Meghan Markle may be a sign the rebellious prince is settling down. Something not even Harry was willing to predict two years ago when he was asked whether he wants to have kids someday.

“Of course who doesn’t. You know? Time, you know, time – time will tell. And no, I’m looking forward to the opportunity. Pretty busy at the moment….Kids can wait.”

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