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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 23:30 GMT
Harry: Brave young prince
Prince Harry in 2000
Harry, now 17, lost his mother when he was only 12
The 17-year-old Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is described by royal watchers as an active and confident young man, at ease with people and his role.

Although christened Henry Charles Albert David Windsor, the youngest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales is always known as Harry - unless, as his elder brother William once said, he is "being naughty".

An outgoing little boy, he carried out his first public engagement at the age of just eight when he joined his mother on a visit to the base of the Light Dragoons in Germany, enthusiastic at the prospect of donning uniform.

Harry (2nd right) with, from right, Charles, Earl Spencer, Prince William, Prince Philip
Royal watchers were impressed with his bravery at Diana's funeral

But Harry was just short of his 13th birthday when, on the evening of 30 August 1997, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris.

At her funeral in London, he joined the other men of the family to walk behind the cortege.

Royal watchers were incredibly impressed with the bravery of both Harry and William, then 15.

His uncle, Earl Spencer, later said: "My admiration for those boys is beyond bounds - it was the most amazing display of courage I'll ever see."

Harry has to a certain extent always been in the shadow of his brother, who is second in line to the throne behind the Prince of Wales.

But Diana's death appeared to cement a strong bond between Harry and his father, with whom he is now said to be very close.

Prince skiing
The prince is sporty and loves skiing

The Princess of Wales was always anxious that her two sons should be treated equally, and Charles is known to ensure that both boys are given equal affection and attention.

Both princes are keen on sport, with Harry's favourites skiing and shooting.

Photographs in a Sunday newspaper in 1998 of Harry abseiling head-first down a dam revealed his fearless nature - but caused serious concern for his safety.

He was not wearing a helmet or a back-up rope, and climbing experts described the incident as foolhardy.

News of the World front cover
He caused a press furore when snapped abseiling without a helmet

In September of that year Prince Harry joined his brother at school in Eton. His family was delighted that he had passed the entrance exam, because he had had to repeat his final year at prep school.

And in November last year he emerged unscathed after taking part in the school's famous Wall Game, one of Britain's oldest and most violent school games.

See also:

05 Jan 99 | UK
Harry's no Eddie the Eagle
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