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The Sussexes

A look back at the Duke of Sussex’s life so far on his birthday

During the fall of 1984, Diana, Princess of Wales gave birth to her second son, a boy affectionately known as Harry. They revealed his full name would be Henry Charles Albert David, a perfect name for someone third in line to the throne. Harry is now sixth-in-line to the throne after his father Charles, brother William, and William’s three children (Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis). Despite having grown up under intense media scrutiny, Prince Harry has remained a beloved royal.


On the afternoon of 15 September 1984, Prince Harry was born at St Mary’s Hospital in London. The day after Harry was born, his brother William would accompany their father to meet his new brother. Prince Charles recalled the visit saying, “William has taken to the new baby like a duck to water.” A little over two months later, Harry was baptised at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

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Early Life

From a young age, Diana, Princess of Wales described her son as “very artistic and sporty.” During their weekends at Highgrove House, Harry developed an interest in riding and hunting. Harry followed in the steps of his brother William and attended Mrs Mynors nursery school in London. After nursery school, Harry would attend Wetherby School, followed by Ludgrove School in Berkshire. Not too long after he enrolled in Ludgrove, Harry was informed that his parents would be getting divorced. Eventually, the split would be finalised in 1996, which meant Harry and his brother would now divide their time between both parents.

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Within a year of the divorce of his parents, Harry found out his mother had been involved in a tragic car crash in Paris. The Royal Family remained at Balmoral Castle to mourn the death of the late Diana and would then make their way back to London for the funeral. On 6 September 1997, Harry walked alongside his father, brother, paternal grandfather, and maternal uncle in Diana’s funeral procession – a walk that would end at Westminster Abbey. Following the service, members of the family travelled to Althorp Estate, which was Diana’s family home and where she would be buried.

Those years leading up to his mother’s death were hard on the Prince, so it was decided he would spend an extra year at Ludgrove. In 1998, Harry would begin his studies at Eton College, where he again followed in the steps of his brother William. While at Eton, he excelled at polo and rugby, which are sports that he still enjoys as an adult. Upon completing his studies at Eton, Harry spent his gap year in Australia and would spend his time working at a cattle station. In his spare time, Harry followed the English rugby team to the World Cup competition. Before coming home to begin his military career, Prince Harry spent some time in Lesotho where he volunteered at an AIDS orphanage.

Military Career

Early 2005 saw the beginning of Harry’s long military career, which began at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Two years after joining the academy, Harry graduated and joined the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry as Troop Commander. It was announced that Prince Harry would be deployed to Iraq, but the press was soon informed that would not be the case. Considered to be too dangerous, active combat was off-limits, but they, instead, found a place for him in the war in Afghanistan. Harry was secretly deployed to the country and would serve as an Air Forward Controller. Later reports documented that while in Afghanistan, Harry helped Gurkha troops repel an attack from Taliban insurgents. This was the first time since Prince Andrew that any royal had seen active duty in a war zone. For his bravery, Princess Anne presented Harry with the Operational Service Medal for his service in the Afghan War.

In times when Harry was away from his military career, he kept himself busy, and in 2007, he and his brother planned a concert to commemorate what would have been Diana’s 46th birthday. The Concert for Diana raised money for charities that were dear to the hearts of Harry and William. From all over the globe, royalty and celebrities came to attend this event.

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An announcement was made in October 2008 that Harry would follow in his family’s footsteps by learning how to fly helicopters. Once he passed the initial aptitude test, Harry would begin a month-long training course that would allow him to start flying the following year. Harry’s assessment would take place at Army Air Corps Base (AAC), Middle Wallop, and it was later revealed he passed the Apache helicopter flying test. Prince Charles presented Harry with his flying wings in the spring of 2010.

After receiving his wings, Harry would train for two and a half years as an Apache helicopter pilot, which would prepare him for a second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Harry was deployed to Afghanistan in the fall of 2012 and earned much respect for his participation in combat missions. In 2015, Harry ended his decade-long service as a military man and now spends his time helping wounded veterans. Before ending his service, Harry took up a position at the Ministry of Defence, whose headquarters is in the London District. This job would involve the planning of significant projects to commemorate the Army.

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One of his biggest accomplishments was the creation of the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for wounded servicemen and women. Prince Harry now focuses his time on expanding the Invictus Games and continues to help wounded veterans. When he is not doing that, Harry participates in royal engagements and has also taken on the responsibility of going on tours in the name of The Queen.


In November 2017, it was announced that Harry was engaged to American actress Meghan Markle, and the couple wed on 19 May 2018 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen gifted Harry the titles of Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel, and Meghan took the female forms of Harry’s titles. They are officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Less than a year after their wedding, on 6 May 2019, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to her and the Duke’s first child, a son, whom they named Archie Harrison. He does not have a title, is the first bi-racial royal baby, and the closest American to the British throne, as Archie is both a UK citizen and a US citizen, the latter due to his mother’s American citizenship. He is known simply at Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Archie Harrison. PA/Handout

The family resides at Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Being born into the Royal Family is no easy task, but Harry carries out his duties with lighthearted ease, making him a much-loved favourite member of the family.