Prince Harry: The Untold Truth

Prince Harry is the son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. When Queen Elizabeth II dies, his father will ascend the British throne, followed by his brother William. After familial strife and abuse from the notoriously aggressive British press, Harry relinquished his official royal duties in 2020 and currently lives in California with his American wife Meghan Markle and their two children, Archie and Lilibet. 

It can be tempting to believe that royals like Prince Harry live a charmed life, but it's clear that they're only human like everyone else and are prone to making mistakes like the average civilian does. Harry, after all, is fallible too. 

The prince, who has led a privileged life in many ways, has also had his share of heartbreak. While you may know the basics about the prince, there are some things you may not know, such as how he coped with his mother's death when he was a child and whether he and Meghan plan on growing their family. Read on to learn more about Harry, his history, and what he plans for the future.

Prince Harry 'married' Meghan Markle secretly

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in front of millions of fans and royal watchers around the world. The pair had dated for 15 months before sharing their first kiss as a married couple in front of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. At least that's what most people thought. In fact, the couple had a ceremony three days prior to the public event, according to NBC. During a highly publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan revealed, "Three days before our wedding, we got married — no one knows that." She explained that they contacted the archbishop so they could have a ceremony just between herself and Harry. The "secret" ceremony took place in the couple's backyard, and it only included themselves and the archbishop of Canterbury. 

However, in clarification, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the legal ceremony in which he signed the wedding certificate did in fact take place on May 19. In other words, the couple's backyard ceremony may have been meaningful, but it was not legal, because English law requires witnesses and the location to be a registered facility. Either way, the couple had a special moment celebrating their relationship without the pressure of the public watching them.

He spoke to his mother on the day that she died

If you knew a loved one was about to pass away, what would you say to her or him? The last words one speaks to a family member, friend, or spouse can be etched on your memory forever. In the 2017 documentary, "Our Mother Diana: Her Life and Legacy," Prince Harry, who was just 12 years old when his mother died in a car crash, opened up about speaking to the Princess of Wales before her death. He explained (via Fox News): "If I'd known that that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother the things that I would – the things I would have said to her."

Prince Harry also revealed that he only cried a couple of times following her death: once at her graveside and possibly one more time afterwards. "There's a lot of — there's a lot of grief that still needs to be let out," he admitted. Harry also expressed that he and his brother continued to wish that their mother was still alive. "We wonder what kind of a mother she would be now, and what kind of a public role she would have, and what a difference she would be making," he explained.

Prince Harry sought mental health treatment after Princess Diana died

Prince Harry was just a child when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris. Many people remember watching Harry join his brother William and father Charles as they walked behind her coffin during the funeral procession. The little boy seemed to do a good job of holding it together while he, his family, and the world mourned the passing of the Princess of Wales. However, it should come as no surprise that his mother's death was devastating and had detrimental effects on his mental health for decades. According to The Telegraph, Harry was so affected by her passing that he "shut down all his emotions" for 20 years. And he dealt with the pain without seeking any professional help, even though William encouraged him to do so.

Everything came to a head in his late 20s when Prince Harry had a difficult time controlling his anger. He was filled with the desire to strike out physically at people and was very anxious when attending royal events. On the verge of a breakdown, he finally sought help for his mental health issues and also started boxing. He talked about his experiences with Bryony Gordon on her podcast, Mad World in 2017 at the age of 32. He said, "I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it's only ever going to make it worse."

He trekked 200 miles to the South Pole

Walking 200 miles in fair conditions is difficult enough for most people, so imagine the effort it would take to trek to the South Pole. This is exactly what Prince Harry did in 2013 at the age of 28. And he did it in good health, while his teammates were battling various challenges. Harry was part of the Walking With The Wounded Expedition, according to the BBC. It took the group, which consisted of 12 injured servicemen and servicewomen, three weeks to reach their destination. Prince Harry and Team UK were up against teams from the United States, Canada, and Australia. The goal of the trip was to prove that injured and wounded veterans were capable of doing incredible things despite the setbacks they have experienced in life.

Upon reaching their destination, Harry announced on a voice blog, "A half-day on Friday and we get to the South Pole on Friday 13th, unlucky for some, lucky for us," adding that everyone was in "high spirits." He was joined by Sg. Duncan Slater, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device blew up his vehicle. Prince Harry explained, "I think everyone back home will appreciate the fact that just being able to walk 100km (62 miles) in these conditions with no legs is a pretty amazing feat in itself."

'Harry' is a nickname

Prince Harry's name isn't actually Harry: It's Henry Charles Albert David. Notice the lack of a surname. If you look at his son Archie's birth certificate, the prince listed his full name as "His Royal Highness Henry Charles Albert David, Duke of Sussex," according to Yahoo. However, there are times when a last name can be helpful, and when Harry was in the military, he went by Captain Harry Wales, according to the Telegraph. (The "Wales" came from his father's title, Prince of Wales.) When his daughter Lilbet was born, Harry listed himself as "The Duke of Sussex, His Royal Highness." As for his occupation, he wrote on both of them that he was a "Prince of the United Kingdom."

Harry and his wife Meghan's children, however, do have an official last name, however. It's Mountbatten-Windsor. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip designed the name so their descendants could have a unique last name. But it only applies to those who don't have the title of Prince or Princess, according to the royal family's website. Prince Philip's maternal grandparents were Mountbattens, and George V used Windsor for his descendants, and that's how the surname came about.

Prince Harry is still in line for the throne

In 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan let his family know that they were stepping down from royal duties, which was a shock for some but likely not a surprise for those who knew them best. It was unclear at the time whether their decision was a temporary or permanent move. The following year, Buckingham Palace announced that moving forward the couple would no longer represent the royal family, according to Today. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."

In giving up this role, Harry and Meghan agreed to stop using their titles "His Royal Highness" and "Her Royal Highness." Prince Harry also lost his honorary military titles.

Even though Harry stepped back from his traditional role in the family, he continues to hold his place when it comes to succession, although it's unlikely he would be in the position to inherit the throne because he's currently sixth in line. Ahead of him are his father, Prince Charles; brother, Prince William; and his nephew and nieces Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Harry revealed in a 2017 interview that he wasn't interested in being king, explaining via The Guardian, "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."

His love for Africa helped him deal with his mother's death

Those who've paid attention to Prince Harry's activities over the years are aware that one of his favorite places to visit is Africa. It became particularly important to the prince following the death of his mother, according to People. During a visit to Botswana in 2019, he said the continent was a way for him to escape after such a turbulent time, noting that he traveled there in 1997 and 1998: "It was a nice place to get away from it all, but now I feel deeply connected to this place and to Africa." The place gave him purpose, he added.

Botswana is so special to Prince Harry that he procured two gemstones from the country to create his wife's engagement ring. A third stone was used from his mother's personal jewelry collection. Harry, Meghan, and their son Archie visited Botswana in 2019 and they dressed the 5-month-old in a hat that was strikingly similar to one Harry wore while his mother visited Scotland in 1985 when he was four months old. It was a subtle nod to his mother's legacy and a great way to honor her memory.

Prince Harry spent 10 years in the Army

Prince Harry served in the English Army for a decade and did two tours in Afghanistan, according to the official royal family website. He started his military training in 2004 after passing the Regular Commissions Board (RCB) examinations, which involve intense mental, physical, and emotional requirements. The following year he joined the Royal Military Academy as an Officer Cadet before joining the Blues and Royals. Harry became an officially commissioned officer on April 12, 2006, and joined his regiment with the aim of becoming an armored reconnaissance troop leader.

He wound up being in charge of 11 soldiers and was sent to Afghanistan to serve with the British Army in Helmand. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant on April 13, 2008. After leaving the military, Prince Harry dedicated much of his time to others who had served in the military, particularly those who were wounded. He founded the Invictus Games, which allowed wounded and sick veterans to participate in sporting events. He said at the inaugural event: "I have witnessed first-hand how the power of sport can positively impact the lives of wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women in their journey of recovery."

He has two step-siblings

Almost a decade after Diana died, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, who became Prince Harry and Prince William's stepmother. She was previously married to Andrew Parker Bowles, and they had two children, Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes, who posed with their mother, stepfather, and stepbrothers William and Harry when Camilla and Charles tied the knot in 2005, according to Yahoo. Lopes, who reportedly did not get along with William early on when the families first merged, is an art curator. She married Harry Lopes, a model-turned-accountant, in 2006.

Laura has three children, one of whom was a flower girl for William and Kate's wedding. Tom, meanwhile, is a chef who has written several cookbooks and was once the food editor for Esquire magazine, according to Cosmopolitan. During an interview with Good Morning Britain (via the Express) he explained that he and his sister weren't really part of the royal family, explaining, "My mother married into it. She's part of it. We're the common children. We're just on the side." It's interesting to note, however, that Charles can bestow royal titles on Tom and Laura when he becomes king, such as Duke or Duchess. Maybe then Tom will feel like he's part of the royal family? 

Prince Harry only wants two kids due to environmental reasons

Families in the United States have an average of two children, according to statistics. And that's all that Prince Harry and Meghan want too. The couple currently has a son, Archie, and a daughter Lilibet, and there's little evidence that they plan on expanding their family. The reason why parents want a certain number of children can vary. But for Harry, it's (at least partially) related to earth's sustainability. Harry interviewed animal activist and chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall in 2019 for British Vogue, and when Goodall asked the prince how many children he and his wife wanted, he answered, "two, maximum."

He explained, "I've always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation." He also noted that after Archie came into his life his views about the earth had changed: "It does make it different. I think, weirdly, because of the people that I've met and the places that I've been fortunate enough to go to, I've always had a connection and a love for nature."

He had a drugs scandal

Prince Harry, like many teenagers, experimented with substances when he was young. When his father found out, he made sure to teach his son a lesson by taking him to a drug rehabilitation facility. Charles made the decision after he learned that Harry, who was 16, was drinking alcohol at parties and a pub near his Highgrove home. Harry was also allegedly smoking marijuana on a regular basis. A royal staff member reportedly alerted Charles to Harry's recreational activities.

So Charles sent Harry to Featherstone Lodge in Peckham, South London, according to the Guardian. However, Harry only went for one day. Zoe Griffin, Editor and Founder of, told the Netflix documentary "The Royals" that Charles thought visiting the rehab would be a wake-up call for his son. Griffin explained (via the Express): "When Prince Charles heard the news, he went mental, he demanded that Prince Harry went to a rehab clinic to talk to other people who had drug addiction just to make sure he never progressed beyond cannabis." 

In the podcast "A Path Forward," Harry spoke to Robin Williams' son Zak Williams and revealed that he drank alcohol to mask the pain he felt following his mother Princess Diana's death. Harry also said he wanted to take drugs to lessen the pain.

Prince Harry is publishing a tell-all memoir in 2022

While many biographies have been written about members of the royal family, you'll be hard-pressed to find a memoir written by one of them. Prince Harry, however, will be releasing an "intimate and heartfelt" account of his life in 2022, according to USA Today. Random House is publishing the tome, which will center on the prince's "experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him." The book will include Harry's experiences from childhood through adulthood. He will write about everything from his military service to his role as a husband and father.

"Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait, one that shows readers that behind everything they think they know lies an inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story," Random House said in a statement. Harry wrote on his website that he will be truthful in his memoir and hopes that the lessons he has learned over the years will help others.