London (AFP) – With one month to go until Prince Harry’s wedding to US actress Meghan Markle, here are 10 key dates in his life so far:
1984 – Birth
His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales was born, at 4:20am on September 15, at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, like his brother Prince William two years before. He was born third in line to the throne. His mother Diana carried him out wrapped in a white blanket.
1997 – Death of Diana
Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris shook Harry’s life and took him decades to come to terms with. Aged 12, he walked behind her coffin at her funeral and cried at her burial. He blocked out the grief for years before seeking help from a therapist when he was 28, after two years of “total chaos” as he struggled to keep the lid on his distress.
2004 – Lesotho
Harry’s trip to the impoverished southern African nation had a lasting effect on the young prince. During his gap year, he worked at a home for children orphaned by the country’s AIDS pandemic. Taking up one of his mother’s causes, those affected by HIV and AIDS, he and Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso launched the Sentebale charity. He often returns to visit the youngsters he bonded with as infants.
2005 – Nazi uniform scandal
In his wild youth, Harry was a regular at plush London nightclubs, with booze, cannabis, cigarettes, posh beauties and a paparazzi scuffle par for the course. His mischievous antics were widely viewed with amused affection until pictures were published on January 13, 2005 of him attending a “colonials and natives” fancy dress party wearing a mock Nazi Afrika Korps uniform. Harry apologised.
2007 – First tour in Afghanistan
After his planned deployment to Iraq was cancelled in May, much to his fury, second lieutenant Wales was deployed to Afghanistan in December, calling in air cover in support of ground forces. He went on foot patrols in Garmsir and attacked front-line positions with a machine gun. The army officer had to return after 10 weeks when foreign media broke a news blackout.
2012 – Las Vegas party
Before returning to Afghanistan, Harry went partying in Las Vegas. After larking around in a pool, Harry played strip billiards and was pictured naked with a mystery woman. The snaps, leaked on August 21, went global. It was another low point for Harry. In a privacy row, cowed British newspapers initially did not publish them before The Sun broke ranks.
2012 – Back to Afghanistan
Harry learned to fly Apache attack helicopters as a way of getting back to Afghanistan. Captain Wales arrived at Britain’s Camp Bastion base on September 7. He slept in a tent and a shipping container and returned home after 20 weeks of front-line action. Asked if he had personally killed Taliban fighters, he said: “You get asked to do things that you would expect to do.”
2014 – Invictus Games
The soldier prince has taken up the cause of injured troops. He created the Paralympics-style international event for wounded services personnel, staging the first competition from September 10-14 in the Olympic Park in London. 416 troops from 13 countries took part. Follow-up Games were organised for Orlando 2016, Toronto 2017 and Sydney 2018.
2017 – Engagement
Harry met Meghan Markle, a US actress starring in legal drama “Suits”, through a mutual friend. They then had two dates in London in July 2016 before camping together in Botswana. Harry confirmed their relationship in November 2016 and the couple got engaged 12 months later, publicly announcing it on November 27, around a year and a half after they first met.
2018 – Wedding
Harry and his fiancee are due to marry at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19. The ceremony is set to be broadcast live all over the world. The couple will live together at his Nottingham Cottage home in the grounds of London’s Kensington Palace.