After nearly losing himself following the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana, Harry earned a reputation as a royal rebel, partying too hard and making tabloid headlines for bad behaviour, including an infamous game of strip billiards in Vegas.
If one follows British tabloid headlines then until a few years ago, Prince Harry provided ample meat for the writers as he went from drinking binges to tantrums to even posing in a Nazi uniform. His life since childhood has always been one of a love-hate relationship with the position he was born into.
Before the succession rules were changed to allow both daughters and sons to inherit the crown as opposed to daughters getting it only when no sons exist, Prince Harry was the third in line to inherit the Crown – after his father Prince Charles and his brother Prince William. But his mother, Princess Diana fought to give him a normal childhood – of dropping him of to school and family holidays without any pomp and fare. But, one of the most famous or infamous photos of Prince Harry is of him, three-years-old showing his tongue to photographers outside his school. This gesture is perhaps symbolic of how he considers his life in a ‘fish bowl’ and his subsequent rebellion.
Every male member of the Royal family is obligated to serve time in the British Armed Forces which Harry did – even serving in Afghanistan. But after the end of his service, Harry admitted to being ‘lost.’ He admitted that he once ‘wanted out’ of the Royal Family and considered turning his back on the privilege he was born into to live an ‘ordinary life’. ‘I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself,’ he said, making it clear he was primarily motivated by his loyalty to the Queen.
Several years of partying, drinking and heavy smoking followed – which he has previously described as ‘total chaos’ – and Harry admitted coming ‘very close’ to a breakdown several times. “My search began when I was in my mid-20s,” he said. “I needed to fix the mistakes I was making.” Prince Harry sought professional help for his issues and to help process ‘the grief of his mother’s death’ when he turned 28.
Prince Harry, in a candid interview last year even admitted that neither he nor the others in line to the thrown really want the crown, “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we’ll carry out our duties at the right time,” he said to the surprise of many.
Since then, Harry found a way to reinvent himself and carve out a role for himself in promoting charities that are close to his heart. He has become synonymous with the Invictus Games – competitive games for wounded soldiers of the allied forces; as well as other charitable work.
Harry’s natural bent of eschewing the conventional and choosing what his heart wants seems to have led him to Meghan Markle – An American actress, entrepreneur, feminist, divorcee and of mixed-race ancestry. Markle’s rise to the top has come the hard way, through various jobs, part time stints and believing in herself. She is as New Yorker magazine put it, the ‘first gig-economy aristocrat.’
By that the magazine elaborates that Meghan has supported herself for over two-decades and is now roughly worth five million dollars without having inherited even a penny. As Harry marries Meghan who has created her own identity, in her he finds a partner who understands his need of creating one’s own path and not being weighed down by conventions.