Troubled life and times of Hooray Harry

Harry is a playboy prince who loves to drink, party and hang out with a bunch of wastrels. And he is an embarrassment to his family who hope a career in the military will put him back on the straight and narrow.

Harry is a playboy prince who loves to drink, party and hang out with a bunch of wastrels. And he is an embarrassment to his family who hope a career in the military will put him back on the straight and narrow.

Well, for one Prince Harry, the one immortalised as Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts One and Two, it worked and he went on to reign as Henry V, legendary victor of Harfleur and Agincourt.

Whether a spell in the Army can bring the same transformation upon Hal's latter-day namesake, Henry Charles Albert David Windsor, remains to be seen. But some are not holding their breath.

"I think it's unlikely on present form," said Penny Junor, the biographer of his father, the Prince of Wales. "But it is a good idea because it will give him the discipline he needs and keep him out of the public eye. And it can't come too soon.''

Indeed, even before the Nazi uniform gaffe, the Royal Household was counting the days until the Prince's delayed entry to Sandhurst in May after a series of negative headlines.

Perhaps, given the precedents, it was tempting fate for the Prince and Princess of Wales to call their second son Henry when he was born in September 1984. But the Royal Family was still at a peak of popularity fuelled by Charles and Diana's glamorous wedding. Tales of infidelity and bulimia, separation, divorce and Diana's death in 1997, when he was just 12, were still a long way off.

One can only imagine how moments such as being forced to walk to church in public within hours of his mother's death affected his mental make-up. And he was also destined to grow up knowing he had no clear role: he was "the spare" to his older brother, William, the heir to the throne.

On top of that, there has been the unfounded speculation that, given the obvious physical dissimilarity from his father and brother, Harry may have been the product of the affair between his mother and the former army officer James Hewitt, whom he does, curiously, resemble. Although Mr Hewitt denies that their liaison coincided with Harry's conception, the gossip lingers.

The media agreed the princes would be left alone during their schooling, and stories were kept out of the headlines, which some believe created a feeling in them that they were untouchable.

But after Prince Harry, then aged 17, was reported to be experimenting with cannabis and alcohol in late-night sessions at a pub near Highgrove, the image of the louche Hooray Henry prince was born.

This has been reinforced by the Prince's frequent appearances at parties, polo matches and nightclubs, cigarette and vodka and cranberry juice in hand and, on one occasion, a Page Three girl on his lap. There were also the inevitable links to blonde, horsey girls from the shires, often part of the same Highgrove set.

This group, said to be known as Club H, includes such people as Harry Meade, son of Richard Meade, the Olympic gold medal-winning horseman, whose 22nd birthday party Prince Harry was attending when he was photographed in the Nazi uniform. Like many around the Royals, the young Meade is an ardent pro-hunter and was among those who interrupted Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference.

The Prince is, according to those who know, an amiable chap of the "nice but dim" variety, whose visits to the capital's fleshpots display all the bright-eyed eagerness of a country lad up for a night on the town.

On one such visit last autumn, clearly inebriated, he lashed out at photographers. Not long after, a former teacher at Eton told an industrial tribunal she helped complete part of his art coursework; the Prince gained a grade B in art and D in geography in his A-levels. Eton and the Palace denied the claims. His boisterous reputation was reinforced during a recent trip to Argentina, which was cut short amid reports of carousing in bars.

Nor has Harry's romance with Chelsy Davy, the 19-year old daughter of a controversial Zimbabwean businessman, helped his public image. When asked about her origins, he is said to have replied that she was "not black or anything".

Many wonder why there is no-one around the Prince to steer him away from Nazi uniforms and unsuitable friends. But Ms Junor says: "He's a 20-year-old man who does what he wants. It's not uncommon. And, inexplicable as it may seem, his personal protection officers are not there to act in loco parentis."

Ms Junor believes much blame for the Prince's errant behaviour must lie with his father. "Harry needed someone to give him guidance; the nature of his position means he cannot just make the same mistakes other young people can. And his father was just not there for him.''

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all