Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Profile: Prince Harry

Prince Harry in Afghanistan
Prince Harry's Afghanistan deployment was cut short
Prince Harry has been forced to apologise for using offensive language to describe an Asian member of his army platoon.

The row over his comments was triggered by a video obtained and made public by the News of the World. He has since been sent on a second equality course by the Army.

But it is not the first time the third in line to the throne has been forced to issue an apology for his behaviour.

Even after dedicating himself to military life, Prince Harry, 24, has rarely been out of the spotlight for long.

Within weeks of his arrival at Sandhurst in May 2005 to begin his military training, a Sun journalist carrying a fake bomb managed to gain access to the academy, prompting a security review.

Nazi fancy-dress

The previous month, Clarence House complained that the prince's safety was put at risk when paparazzi followed Harry and his girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, as they were driven along a dirt track in Botswana. The Daily Mail and the Sun vigorously denied that the couple were in any danger.

Both incidents followed the setback to Prince Harry's image when he dressed as a Nazi for a fancy-dress party - a gaffe which was reported around the world.

Prince Harry helping with tsunami aid effort
Harry and his brother helped out with the Asian tsunami relief effort

There was further difficulty for the prince when a former art teacher at Eton claimed she had done some of Harry's A-level coursework - allegations later rejected at a tribunal.

Earlier upsets involved Harry apparently admitting he had smoked cannabis, and a scuffle with a photographer outside a club.

A side to Harry that Clarence House has been keener to promote than that of his "party prince image" is his charitable work.

Following the Asian tsunami, he and his brother Prince William helped raise money for survivors by playing in a charity polo match.

The brothers were also shown working as volunteers at a Red Cross centre, packing aid packages for those affected.

A TV documentary was made about the time he spent on aid projects in Lesotho, Southern Africa, when he helped to build a new health clinic and road, and dug fields for crops.

Secret deployment

Prince Harry also spent time with people with HIV, Aids and TB in Lesotho.

Regardless of the charity work he does Prince Harry remains an incredibly high profile member of the Royal family and his military career has been affected by the level of media attention.

He was withdrawn from Afghanistan after news of his secret deployment leaked out.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry does not want to be known for his partying

The royal, who spent 10 weeks serving in Helmand Province, was flown back to the UK amid concerns for his safety.

His deployment to Afghanistan made him the first royal in over 25 years to serve in a war zone.

He had earlier been left disappointed in May 2007 when army chiefs decided not to send him to Iraq because of "unacceptable risks".

The decision, which represented a U-turn on an earlier announcement, was made amid reports militant groups in Iraq planned to kill or kidnap the prince.

He had previously said that, after many long months preparing for the task, he was ready and willing to put his training into practice.

Harry's decision to join the armed forces means he is following in the footsteps of other royals, including his father, the Prince of Wales, who trained to be a pilot with the RAF and commanded a Royal Navy minehunter, HMS Bronington.

Helicopter pilot

The Duke of Edinburgh served in the navy during World War II, while Harry's uncle Prince Andrew was a helicopter pilot during the Falklands war.

Harry completed his "recce soldier" training as a member of the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals in October 2007.

Harry helps out with fence-building near Lesotho, southern Africa
The prince spent part of his gap year in Lesotho, southern Africa

He spent four and a half months learning to be a troop leader, focusing first on driving, maintenance and communications at Bovington camp in Dorset.

The prince then moved on to firing ranges at Lulworth before finishing his training at Warminster, honing his tactical skills.

He began his Army career at Sandhurst Military Academy in Surrey, where he spent 44 weeks training to be an officer.

In December 2008 it was announced Prince Harry is to train to become an Army Air Corps helicopter pilot after passing the unit's selection process.

Born at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 15 September 1984, the prince who is third in line to the throne was christened Prince Henry Charles Albert David by the Archbishop of Canterbury in December 1984 in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Coffin bearer

But it was officially announced from the start of his life that he would be known as "Harry".

Harry attended the same schools as his brother, starting at Jane Mynors' nursery school in London in September 1987, when he was three.

Prince Harry during rugby training session
Prince Harry lost his mother just before he turned 13

In 1989 Prince Harry joined Prince William at Wetherby School, moving to Ludgrove School in Berkshire in September 1992 and entering Eton in 1998.

He left Eton with a grade B in his art A-level and a D in geography. He had dropped his third A-level subject, history of art, after taking the AS-level exam.

Before joining the Army he took a gap year, working on a sheep farm in Australia and with Aids orphans in Lesotho.

Although he is now 24, many people around the world will find it hard to forget the image of him as a 12-year-old at the funeral of his mother Diana.

He walked behind the hearse carrying his mother's coffin to Westminster Abbey, accompanied by his brother, father, grandfather and uncle.

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