Tragic Details About Prince Harry

What's the tragic truth of Prince Harry? Whether you're a big fan of the royal family or simply a casual observer, you've undoubtedly come across plenty of headlines about the royal "bad boy" over the years. Prince Harry is the second son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana; his older brother, Prince William, is second in line to the throne.

As a member of the royal family, Prince Harry has, unsurprisingly, grown up in the public eye. That means we've seen him living a life many of us could only dream about, especially when you also consider his net worth. However, while he's always lived in the lap of luxury, bouncing between various British palaces, attending the best private schools, and partying it up at some of the world's priciest clubs and bars in his younger days, Prince Harry has actually experienced his fair share of darkness as well. Curious to learn the tragic details about Prince Harry? Here's everything we know about the royal's saddest experiences.

Prince Harry has put up with an overly inquisitive press his whole life

While life as a royal comes with unthinkable wealth and privilege, it also requires dealing with the almost daily barrage of the press. Ever since Prince Harry was a child, he's had to put up with overly inquisitive reporters and undeniably intrusive photographers.

In fact, the paparazzi have been a thorn in the side of the royal family for decades and are often a part of what makes their lives pretty tragic. As Town & Country reported in 2020, a TV documentary titled "Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album" delved into the troublesome nature of the British paparazzi for the royal family. Spoiler alert: it's a lot.

When it comes to Prince Harry, the press have been known to use drones and helicopters to intrude upon his and his family's life. This was especially the case when Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, started dating, though he reportedly did everything in his power to hide from their intrusive lenses. Eventually, Prince Harry filed several lawsuits against the hounding press. It's pretty tragic that the royal has never been allowed any privacy.

The tragic death of Prince Harry's mother couldn't have been more public

Growing up in the '80s and '90s, it was practically impossible to avoid hearing about the utterly tragic death of Princess Diana. The young princess was killed in a car accident in 1997, when Prince Harry was just 12 years old. We later learned more about Princess Diana after her death.

For Princess Diana's two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, her death was a traumatic, life-changing event that would take years for them to process. In a documentary titled "Our Mother Diana: Her Life and Legacy," Prince Harry opened up about Princess Diana's death (via ABC News). "There's not a day that William and I don't wish that she was ... still around," he revealed. "[W]e wonder what kind of a mother she would be now ... and what a difference she would be making." 

Prince Harry also confessed that he still thinks about his last phone call with his mother and wishes he could have expressed more in that last talk. Truly, everything about her death was deeply tragic on a personal level for the royal.

He eventually got therapy to help deal with his mother's death

In 2017, Prince Harry opened up about his personal struggles with mental health. As he told The Telegraph, it wasn't until he was in his late 20s that he accepted that he needed help dealing with his grief. The royal recalled how he often felt a "flight or fight" sensation while at public engagements. He even described experiencing irrational angry episodes that he couldn't explain. "I just didn't know what was wrong with me," he shared. 

As it turns out, Prince Harry's bottled up grief about his mother's death had led to what could almost be described as a mental breakdown. That's why the royal decided to get the help he'd needed for so long.

In 2020, Prince Harry went into more detail about his mental health journey. Apparently, he explained at an event that he'd been in therapy for three years to process his trauma (via Page Six). We have to say — it's pretty tragic that Prince Harry felt that he couldn't get professional counseling until more than 20 years after his mother's death.

When Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy broke up, many thought he'd let true love get away

What really happened between Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy? The pair dated from around 2004 until 2009, as noted in "Harry: Life, Loss, and Love." So it's no surprise that many fans were convinced that Chelsy Davy was destined to join the royal family. However, like many of us, it seems that Prince Harry let his first true love get away.

Even though Prince Harry is now married to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, it's still pretty tragic that he lost his first love. As one royal fan pointed out in InStyle, Davy seemed like the perfect fit for the royal family. She even helped him write his best man speech for his brother's wedding.

However, as happy as the couple often looked, it would seem that the pressures of a royal life were too much for Davy. As she told The Times, life with Prince Harry was "crazy and scary and uncomfortable" — so much so that she decided to part ways with the royal and find refuge back home in Zimbabwe.

His school days were anything but normal

Most people would agree that a person's teenage years are pretty important for their development. Whether you enjoy high school or not, the people you meet and the things you learn during those years can change you for life. 

However, for Prince Harry, having a normal school life was impossible. The royal went to the prodigious boarding school Eton starting at age 13. On his very first day, Prince Harry was followed around by the press as he met his teachers and toured the school. Additionally, while Prince Harry had his own room, unlike the other students, he also had a full-time bodyguard who slept in the room next door.

In 2018, The Cut spoke to some of Prince Harry's fellow students at Eton. One recalled that while Prince William was integrated with the other students, Prince Harry "had it harder finding his way." Another student explained that while everyone tried to make life as normal as possible for the young prince, it was often impossible, thanks to his bodyguards and the occasional visits from Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Harry loved being in the army but had to give up his titles after Megxit

Like many of his royal predecessors, Prince Harry entered the British Army after leaving school. He was a member of the Army until 2015 but maintained many of his titles afterward. As ITV reported, these were: Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands' Small Ships and Diving — quite a mouthful! 

However, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from the royal family, Prince Harry had to give up these titles — even though he'd had originally planned to maintain them for life. As he said in an official statement in 2015, "I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life."

After losing the titles he'd worked so hard for, Prince Harry was reportedly "devastated," as an insider told The Sun. Tragically, he had to make a seriously difficult decision — and in the process, give up something that was incredibly important to him.

He was subject to a strict set of rules from a young age, labeling him a rebel

For Prince Harry, growing up as a direct descendant of the Queen Elizabeth II meant he had to obey the strict rules the royal family has to follow. For any young man, this would be a difficult way to grow up. And while most of us know that Prince Harry became a "bad boy" in his early adulthood, as it turns out, he was actually showing signs of rebellion as early as 8 years old.

According to a series of letters written by Princess Diana, young Prince Harry always had trouble abiding by the royal rules. The notes, published in The Telegraph, explained that Harry was "constantly in trouble" at boarding school. While it's unclear exactly what mischief Harry was getting up to at that time, it was obvious that he didn't care much for the royal code.

Eventually, Prince Harry was labeled a rebel, thanks to his penchant for partying. And in 2019, Prince Harry's decision to step back from the royal family was arguably the ultimate rebel move.

As the younger sibling, Prince Harry is the royal spare

If you are the second or third sibling in your family, you may sometimes feel like the eldest child gets all the attention. Well, for members of the royal family, this problem is about 1,000 times worse. According to People, being a younger sibling as a royal tragically makes you the "spare" — which means Prince Harry is exactly that to his older brother, Prince William.

Queen Elizabeth's sister Princess Margaret — who has her own tragic story — also struggled to find her place in the family. As Robert Lacey, who wrote the books "Majesty" and "Monarch," told People, "The system has not found a way of giving them the recognition that they need."

The problem comes down to the fact that the younger sibling of a royal heir is another potential heir — that is, until the older sibling has children. This puts the "spare" in a pretty confusing position. While they aren't as important as their older sibling, they are kept in reserve as another alternate heir. This odd mixture of pressure and uselessness seems to have definitely made it hard for Prince Harry to feel normal.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, dealt with hurtful press coverage

Finding real romance as a prince couldn't have been easy for Prince Harry. Fortunately, the royal finally fell in love with a woman willing to make the necessary sacrifices that come with marrying into the royal family: Meghan Markle, now Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

However, things weren't always easy for the royal couple. One major reason? The British press hounded Prince Harry and his wife relentlessly, often publishing some pretty problematic stories. In fact, some of the press coverage of the royal couple was downright racist. No wonder Meghan was so upset before leaving the royal family.

Eventually, the tabloids acknowledged their problematic coverage of the couple. However, for Meghan and Prince Harry, the damage had been done. According to NBC News, the couple released a public statement to leaders of the major British tabloids saying they wouldn't cooperate with them after how they were treated. It's tragic that Prince Harry had to see his wife being treated so poorly by his own country's press.

He is extremely anxious about the climate crisis

It's no secret that the modern world can be a stressful place to live for a variety of reasons; one of the most unsettling among them being the ongoing climate crisis. As it turns out, the situation really is a great equalizer — even Prince Harry has sleepless nights worrying about the tragic future of our planet.

As Prince Harry reportedly told Peter Oki, a student he met while traveling through Africa, he sometimes feels overwhelmed by the threat posed by climate change (via The Telegraph). But rather than do nothing, Oki added that Prince Harry and his wife want to "use their platform to enable grass-roots change and to try and create a better society." Prince Harry has also spoken out about the need to acknowledge that the coronavirus outbreak may also be linked to "our exploitation of nature," as noted by The Telegraph

There's no doubt that someone in Prince Harry's position is highly informed about the world's biggest issues, so it's no wonder he gets depressed. But at least he's determined to make a positive impact.

Prince Harry was sad to give up his royal life but had no other choice

In one of the most shocking moments in the history of the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to "step back" from their royal roles in 2019 (via the BBC). In the announcement, Prince Harry expressed "great sadness" at the decision. Let's face it: The couple's departure from royal life was undoubtedly deeply sad for everyone involved, including fans of the royal family.

According to an episode of the "Royally Obsessed" podcast (via Express), the couple's last royal engagement was incredibly difficult for Prince Harry. "He looked very emotional at the Mountbatten Festival of Music," its hosts explained. "When they received a standing ovation, people thought Harry looked a little teary-eyed."

While Prince Harry was clearly upset to leave the royal family, he also felt that he had no choice. This was definitely one of the most tragic moments in the royal's life.

In 2020, Prince Harry lost someone to the coronavirus

Almost everyone was affected by the coronavirus pandemic that began in 2019 in some way. After all, there have been countless deaths from the disease around the world, according to CNN. 

Like many other people, Prince Harry was personally impacted by a tragic death caused by COVID-19. According to Metro, Prince Harry and his brother Prince William served with fellow soldier Ryan Cartwright, who caught the virus and passed away. Cartwright served in the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment alongside the princes. He was just 36 years old when he succumbed to the illness.

In addition to taking the life of a fellow soldier, COVID-19 also forced Prince Harry to miss out on a trip to the U.K. to visit family. And, if that wasn't enough, his own father, Prince Charles, contracted the virus in March 2020. Here's what we knew about Prince Charles' coronavirus diagnosis.

Experts believe that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will never have any privacy

It's no secret that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have had their issues with negative press coverage, thanks to overly inquisitive public attention. In fact, the couple's surprising departure from royal life shows their unwillingness to live under the scrutiny of the tabloids. And while Prince Harry and Meghan's move to America initially seemed to offer respite from the public's prying eyes, some experts believe that the couple will never be able to lead a normal life.

On the Us Weekly podcast "Royally Us," royal expert Simon Morgan said that the couple will probably never get the privacy they seek. "[O]nce you withdraw from something, people naturally want to know what you're doing," he explained. He added that moving to the United States could potentially compromise their privacy more due to the attitudes people have on this side of the pond.

It's all too probable that Prince Harry and his wife will always be plagued by the paparazzi, even though they moved to another country — and their security team can only do so much.

Prince Harry reportedly feuded with Prince William for two years

For most of their lives, Prince Harry and his brother Prince William were incredibly close. After all, they've been through a lot together. However, according to The Sun, the two brothers had a pretty serious feud that lasted for two years. Apparently, it all began in 2018 when Prince William tried to interfere with Prince Harry's relationship with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, then Meghan Markle. "I was told by a number of sources that [Prince Harry] went ballistic," a reporter shared.

Then, in October 2019, Prince Harry confessed that his relationship with Prince William had indeed changed. "[S]tuff happens," he explained in the documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" (via Town & Country). "But look, we're brothers. We'll always be brothers." The royal then added that the press had exaggerated the rift, which isn't exactly surprising.

Fortunately, Prince Harry and Prince William's relationship has reportedly since turned a corner.

Prince Harry lost his beloved grandmother

On September 8, 2022, the world as we knew it changed. Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. The monarch had an indelible impact on the world, but her death was felt most by those closest to her, including Prince Harry. Although Prince Harry had already left the royal family by the time Queen Elizabeth died, he was still close to her. "My grandmother and I were very close, and we very much did have a special relationship. I miss her dearly, as well as her cheeky sense of humor and quick wit," Harry told People a few months after her death.

Harry's relationship with his family was very strained at the time of Queen Elizabeth's death, but he and Meghan Markle still attended the funeral. Ultimately, Prince Harry found beauty in Queen Elizabeth's death. "I'm also really happy for her. She lived a full life and is now reunited with her husband," he said.

His father was diagnosed with cancer

Early in 2024, King Charles III revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The monarch did not share any further details regarding what type of cancer he has, but he did share in a speech that he intends to remain committed to his duties during his illness, and he thanked his subjects for their support. "In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth," King Charles said, as USA Today reported.

Considering the status of Prince Harry and Charles' relationship at the time of the king's diagnosis, many wondered how Harry would react to the news. As the prince later confirmed, Harry traveled to see his father as soon as he heard the news. "I love my family. The fact that I was able to get on a plane and go and see him and spend any time with him, I'm grateful for that," Harry said on "Good Morning America."

Prince Harry no longer has HRH status

Titles are a thing of importance in the United Kingdom, particularly among those who have them. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal family, they were also stripped of their HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) status. HRH is a particularly coveted status within the United Kingdom because it's historically only been given to the monarch's children and grandchildren. Additionally, as a result of stepping back from his royal duties, Prince Harry lost his military titles. Although Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, no longer have their HRH status and Prince Harry no longer has his military titles, the couple did retain their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles when they stepped down from their positions.

Prince Harry is by no means the first person in the British royal family to lose his titles, nor is he the most recent. In 2022, Prince Andrew lost his HRH status due to legal accusations of sexual assault. And back in the late 1930s, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson, and because of his decision, he lost his royal titles, as well.

Prince Harry was reportedly disinvited from a family holiday

Holidays are complicated for many families, including the Windsors. In 2023, reports claimed that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, were hoping to spend Christmas with Harry's family in the United Kingdom, but the couple and their children were disinvited from the holiday celebration. According to royal expert Jennie Bond, the Duke and Duchess would not be missed by certain family members. "I don't think William will be shedding a tear over this. Deep down, I'm sure he still loves Harry, but I don't think he can see a way out of the rift that has opened between them," Bond told The Sun.

Whether or not those are the true opinions of Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan did not spend Christmas with the royal family. They reportedly held a private celebration with their children at their home in Montecito, California, instead. The couple also celebrated by releasing a virtual Christmas card a couple of weeks before the holiday.