Prince Harry turns 29 today after a busy year which saw him complete a second tour of Afghanistan, rub shoulders with Michelle Obama on a visit to the United States and become an uncle to Prince George.
The Prince is believed to be planning a low-key birthday and will be spending the day privately with his close friends, according to reports.
In January of this year, Harry returned from Afghanistan and spoke candidly about the struggles he and his colleagues faced in fighting for their country.
“Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” he said in an interview after arriving back in London. “If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game, I suppose.”
“It’s not the reason I decided to do this job. The reason to do this job was to get back out here and carry on with a job.”
On returning from his 20-week deployment, Harry reflected on his behaviour in July 2012 when he visited Las Vegas.
The Prince was pictured appearing to play strip poker in a hotel room, and photographs were printed around the world.
“At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down.
“But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect.”
In the UK, The Sun took the bold decision to print the photos although no legal action was taken against the newspaper by Clarence House.
In May, Harry continued to increase his royal duties as he travelled the United States for his second solo tour.
As he arrived, ‘Harrymania’ swept the country and everywhere the Prince went, a horde of supporters and well-wishers followed. The younger brother of Prince William made a surprise appearance at the White House, where he was introduced by First Lady Michelle Obama.
“It is an honour to welcome Prince Harry to the White House today,” the First Lady said as she introduced the Prince. Harry’s visit had been a closely guarded secret and was kept under wraps until his arrival.
After visiting the White House, Harry continued his trip which was to promote the rehabilitation of injured American and British troops and promote Britain. During his week-long stay, the royal visited Arlington Cemetery in Virginia where he left a handwritten card alongside a wreath.
“To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America,” read the card. “Who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom, Captain Henry Wales.”
Harry also attended the Warrior Games, where wounded servicemen and women from the US and Britain take part in various sports. The Prince spent the day watching the events, and joined a game of volleyball.
Not yet finished with charming the hearts of the people of the US, the Prince concluded his trip with a visit to Seaside Heights, New Jersey where he was shown the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Although it would be in July when one of Prince Harry’s proudest moments came, when he became an uncle for the first time to brother Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, Prince George.
Speaking days after the birth, Harry couldn’t contain his joy as he spoke about the mini monarch-to-be’s arrival. The new uncle revealed George “was crying his eyes out” when he met him, adding it was “fantastic to have another addition to the family”.
When asked what he would try and do as an uncle he replied: “To make sure he has a good upbringing, and keep him out of harm’s way and to make sure he has fun.”
The Prince later joked: “I only hope my brother knows how expensive my babysitting charges are.”
So as Harry celebrates his 29th birthday with family, friends and possibly rumoured girlfriend Cressida Bonas, the royal will be reflecting on another eventful year and will be looking ahead to the next one which will see him increase his duties and take on an Antarctic trek in aid of Walking With The Wounded.