Fourth-in-line to the British crown, Prince Harry, 29, has grown up with his personal tragedies as well as his blunders as the subject of intense media scrutiny.
Through it all he has maintained a happy-go-lucky attitude that makes him the royal we would want to get a beer with.
Here is what makes Prince Harry so cool:
1. He defied the queen’s demands that he shave his beard.
However, the Queen despises beards and forbids her staff much less her grandson from sporting them, US Weekly reports. Harry ignored the Queen’s order and sported his beard at Christmas morning service. He shaved his beard a good month later — it had to go anyway, since he is in the armed services.
2. He fought the Taliban from the ground …
Prince Harry, known as Captain Wales in the army, began his military career at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in May 2005.
Harry was first certified as a tank commander and assigned to a cavalry regiment. Later, he deployed to Helmand Afghanistan as a forward observer with British ground units where he engaged in combat operations against the Taliban.
3. … And also from the air.
Not satisfied, upon his return he went into helicopter pilot training.
In 2009 he began a two-and-a-half year training course to become a fully operational, full-time Army Air Corps helicopter pilot. He completed a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan as a co-pilot gunner on an Apache attack helicopter and since then has flown missions in the U.K.
Having deployed twice and seen combat both times, Harry has taken a new role as a staff officer at HQ London District.
4. He is a hardcore polar adventurer.
Prince Harry spent 4 weeks on an expedition to the North Pole in 2011 to raise awareness for wounded servicemen and women.
He covered 200 miles of the frozen Arctic Ocean by foot in minus 60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. He then conquered a trek to the South Pole two years later.
5. He parties like Frank Sinatra and hangs out with the most unexpected folks.
After a series of pot smoking and underage drinking episodes, Prince Harry’s mischievous streak landed him in a London rehabilitation center for a day.
Another royal uproar occurred when leaked nude photos of Prince Harry were published by British tabloid The Sun. The photos were taken during a Las Vegas vacation in 2012. He was media-shamed and sent off to war so quick, leading people to assume that he was punished with a deployment to Afghanistan.
Before wrapping up his military tour, Captain Wales shared his thoughts about the Las Vegas incident in a candid interview. “I let myself down, I let my family down, I let a lot of people down. But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy one should expect,” he said.
6. He can’t help but be involved in charities around the world.
Prince Harry founded his first charity, Sentebale, with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho when he was 21 years old.
The organisation is named Sentebale, which means “forget me not” in the language of Lesotho and focuses on social development, education, and health of Lesotho’s orphans. Prince Harry spent eight weeks living among the impoverished in Lesotho. He made a documentary titled “The Forgotten Kingdom” using footage from his personal hand-held video camera. The film raised $US2 million for the British Red Cross Lesotho Fund.
Fourth in line to the British crown, Harry now sponsors 19 different charities.
7. He is a pretty good cowboy.
Harry spent three months working as a jackeroo for £100 a week in Australia.
His normal working day began at around 7:30am and ran through 6pm with a two-hour lunch break in the Outback heat.
“I have had a great time working out here, meeting people and learning a bit about how to be a jackeroo and, of course, the rugby was absolutely fantastic,” Prince Harry said, reports the BBC.
As a kid, Harry spent time with Prince William and Princess Diana on E Bar L Ranch in Montana.
8. He’s obsessed with sports.
Harry is an avid fan of rugby and even coached at schools around the U.K. to encourage young people to learn the sport. Prince Harry plays polo regularly, both to raise money for charities and in competitive matches.
He also played for the army while he was training at the Royal Military Academy. He and the Queen are both loyal supporters of Arsenal soccer.
On a trip to Jamaica in 2012 he challenged sprinter Usain Bolt, widely regarded as the world’s fastest person, to a race. Even though Bolt let Harry win, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte took his race with the prince seriously saying, “the pool is my domain.”
9. Despite being British, he can throw a good football
On his first tour of the U.S., Prince Harry visited the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs last summer. Before kneeling down at the bottom of a pyramid of cheerleaders, Harry impressively threw a few passes of a football.
During his six day trip, Harry went to the White House, Walter Reed Military Medical Center, and Arlington National Cemetery before heading west to help kick off the Warrior Games with wounded athletes and veterans. Harry is determined to launch a U.K. version of the Warrior Games.
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