For some time, Prince Henry of Wales, commonly referred to as Prince Harry, remained a huge source of gossip and outright scandal throughout much of the world. For many, Harry was an eyesore, a living relic of a bygone era of elitist privilege that has no place in a modern, mostly monarchy-free world. To others, Harry has been a compassionate person, a much maligned « black sheep » who’s much more harmless than the press let on.
For better or worse, he was one of the most eligible bachelors in the world — up until his marriage to Meghan Markle, that is. Still, the fascination with Prince Harry is real, which means there is quite a bit to know about this popular and highly controversial British royal.
He’s currently 6th in line to the throne
Queen Elizabeth II is still going strong. She’s currently both the longest reigning British monarch and the longest reigning monarch who’s currently living. But she’s not far away from potentially retiring and allowing her son, Prince Charles, to take over the reins. Charles is first in line to the throne. He’s expected to be succeeded by Harry’s older brother, Prince William. As the The Telegraph noted, Prince Harry was bumped to sixth in line after the birth of William’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. If anything, this proves that older brothers really love to stick it to their younger siblings, even among royals.
Of course, as he was never closer than third place, it’s likely Prince Harry never had his heart set on becoming king in the first place.
He could still be king
Just because Prince Harry is sixth in the line of succession doesn’t mean his road to the throne is an impossible one. Indeed, there are a couple of ways for Harry to become king. One way would involve those ahead of the prince dying, abdicating, or retiring, therefore allowing succession to fall to him.
If for whatever reason Prince William didn’t become king and his offspring were still quite young, Prince Harry would become king. That arrangement would be temporary, though, as Prince George would become king upon reaching adulthood.
Conspiracy theorists claim Prince Charles isn’t his real father
Despite Prince Harry’s strong resemblance to Prince Charles, rumors endure that Charles isn’t Harry’s real father. In fact, some conspiracy theorists believe that Princess Diana’s former lover, James Hewitt, is actually the real baby daddy. The so-called smoking gun? The Prince happens to have red hair just like Hewitt.
According to the Daily Mail, Princess Diana’s bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, claimed in a memoir that it’s impossible for James Hewitt to be Prince Harry’s father. Case in point: all anyone apparently needs to disprove the rumor is to know a bit of math. Prince Henry of Wales was born on September 15, 1984; however, Princess Diana didn’t begin her infamous fling with James Hewitt until « the summer of 1986, » according to the report.
« The red hair that gossips so love to cite as ‘proof’ is, of course, a Spencer trait, as anyone who has ever seen a photograph of Diana’s sister, Jane, for example, as a young woman will be able to testify, » the report adds.
Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton were never a thing
Prince William finally married his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on April 29, 2011. When Prince Harry and Middleton’s sister, Pippa, interacted at the wedding, some royal watchers wondered if a few sparks flew. For months and even years after the wedding, there were claims that Prince Harry was secretly dating Pippa and that the younger Middleton sister was preparing to snatch a royal for herself.
If you had previously hoped that the Harry and Pippa rumors would’ve turn into a fairytale romance, you must have been sorely disappointed. According to the Telegraph, Prince Harry himself filed a formal complaint against the Daily Star to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in 2015. His complaint eventually forced the paper to file a retraction to their « significantly misleading » story.
Incidentally, Harry’s formal complaint to the IPSO was considered « highly unusual. » « The Royal Household’s traditional stance has been to ignore inaccurate reports rather than draw attention to them by complaining, » the Telegraph reported. Guess that one really got under his skin.
He was linked to an alleged ‘PR girl’
Although the Pippa Middleton rumors never gained any real traction, Prince Harry was linked to a « blonde, cool, and well-connected » young woman named Juliette Labelle in early 2016. Although repeatedly referred to as a « PR girl, » that label turned out to be inaccurate. E! News wrote that Labelle didn’t actually work in PR, but a source shared that she « used to work for Christian Dior as a PR assistant. »
The blonde beauty reportedly « hooked up » with the British Prince when he flew to Los Angeles during the 2016 New Year. Although Labelle told reporters she didn’t know Prince Harry, gossip watchers point to a cryptic Twitter message Labelle made around the time of their supposed fling. « Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life; love shouldn’t be one of them, » the message read.
Did Prince Harry break the California native’s heart? We’ll probably never know.
Prince Harry has a nude scandal
Prince Harry has a well-earned reputation as a hard-partying prince, and it’s resulted in some less-than-stellar moments for the royal. One of Harry’s more infamous scandals involved nude photos taken of him during a raunchy Las Vegas party. Perhaps Harry believed the popular saying « What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas » at the time. Unfortunately, for the rowdy royal, this is no longer true in the age of smartphones and the Internet.
TMZ broke the story, which contained naked images of Harry clinging to an equally naked young woman after losing a game of « strip billiards. » « I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down, » Harry eventually said of the incident, months after the photos leaked.
… And a drug scandal
Although not nearly as embarrassing as the nude pictures, Prince Harry has reportedly admitted to using pot in the past. In fact, the Daily Mail claims that Prince Charles was once so concerned about Prince Harry’s wayward behavior, he took him to Featherstone Lodge. At the drug treatment center, Harry reportedly listened to individuals who suffered from drug addiction, who warned him of the dangers of getting involved with drugs.
While the public is divided about whether or not marijuana is nearly as dangerous as other drugs, it’s easy to argue that a « pot-smoking Prince » might not be a good look. At least, not when it sits among a slew of unflattering scandals.
And then there’s that Nazi uniform…
The icing on the controversy cake has to be the now-infamous image of Prince Harry dressed in a Nazi costume. In 2005, Harry showed up to an exclusive birthday party wearing a Nazi swastika as an armband. The birthday party’s overall theme « colonials and natives » was side eye-worthy in and of itself, but it’s hard to compete with something so blatantly offensive as a Nazi outfit.
Making matters worse, the gaffe came a mere two weeks ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day. Yeah, he apologized for that one, too.
He does have a distinguished military career
Prince Harry enjoyed a distinguished military career spanning about ten years before retiring from the British Army in 2015. « The prince has had a fulfilling military career and considers it a huge honor to have served his country in the Armed Forces, » Kensington Palace said in a statement. His decade of service included two separate tours of Afghanistan. Harry also achieved the rank of Captain, which earned him the nickname « Captain Wales. »
When he announced his plans to retire in March 2015, Harry explained that he wanted to leave the military so that he could « spend more time helping wounded service members, battling AIDS and working with other charities he has worked closely with over the years. »
Harry’s also said to have inherited Diana’s compassion
That Prince Harry would retire from military action to spend more time focusing on charity work and advocacy isn’t too surprising. One thing that’s repeatedly said of Harry is that he inherited Princess Diana’s « compassion and determination » to make the world a better place. As advocate in the fight against AIDS, the prince took an HIV test live on Facebook. The result? Negative.