In part two of our Harry’s First 30 series we will take a closer look at Harry’s time at Eton, his infamous teenage escapades and how his gap year inspired him to become involved in many of the charities he is patron of today.
After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, the young teenager understandably struggled with the loss of his mother. After spending another year at Ludgrove School, Harry took his entrance exams to Eton and began his education there in 1998. During his time at Eton, Harry was noted for not being the most academic of students, rather taking more to the sports field than the classroom. He particularly liked playing polo and rugby.
The newspapers were particularly interested in Prince Harry’s later teenage years, when he reportedly took part in underage drinking at a pub near Highgrove, Gloucestershire, and smoked marijuana. After some advice from his father and brother, Harry visited a rehabilitation centre to hear about the effects of taking drugs.
During his later years at Eton, Harry took two A-Levels, receiving a grade B in Art and a D in Geography after completing his studies in 2003.
After leaving Eton, Harry took a gap year in Australia and Lesotho, in Africa. During his stay in Australia, the Prince took part in working on a cattle station, just as his father had previously done. Harry also participated in the Young England vs. Young Australia Polo Test Match.
While in Africa, Harry helped orphaned children in Lesotho and created a documentary called The Forgotten Kingdom to raise awareness of the issues that the country faced. The film helped to raise over $2 million for the British Red Cross Lesotho Fund. Harry’s time in Lesotho shocked him greatly after witnessing the terrible experiences that some of the children of Lesotho had gone through.
This trip has stayed with Harry ever since and influenced him to set up the charity Sentebale with the help of Prince Seeiso. The Sentebale website states: ‘Sentebale is a charity founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. We help the most vulnerable children in Lesotho get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives. Sentebale works with local grassroots organisations to help these children – the victims of extreme poverty and Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Together, we’re making a big difference to these children’s lives. We can do even more with your help.’ Since then, Harry has worked tirelessly to promote Sentebale‘s work to help the children in Lesotho.
Harry found himself on the front pages of some newspapers again in January 2005 when he was photographed wearing a Nazi-styled uniform at a costume party. Many people branded him as being insensitive. Following a public outcry, the Prince released a statement saying: “I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.”
A few months later in April 2005, Prince Harry joined his brother for the wedding of their father, Prince Charles, to Camilla Parker Bowles. When speaking to the press at the time, Harry said: “She’s always been very close to me and William. She’s not the wicked stepmother. She’s a wonderful woman and she’s made our father very, very happy which is the most important thing”.
Take a look at the last article in this series tomorrow to read about Harry’s enrolment at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, his deployments to Afghanistan and his involvement with injured and retired servicemen and women with WWTW and recently the Invictus Games in London.