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IN PICTURES: Prince Harry's transformation over the years

Celebs
AFP
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Celebs: IN PICTURES: Prince Harry's transformation over the years
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London: Prince Harry, whose engagement to US actress Meghan Markle was announced on Monday, has been transformed in recent years from an angry young man into one of the British royal family's greatest assets.

The youngest son of Prince Charles and the late princess Diana, the 33-year-old has always struggled with his role and for much of his youth seemed to want nothing more than to escape.

He spent 10 years in the British army, serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, but hit the headlines for his partying and his outspoken criticism of the media.

The prince has rebuilt his reputation in recent years, however, through his charity work with veterans and in taking on more and more duties from his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.

He appears to have inherited his mother's ability to connect with people, as well as her sense of mischief, and with his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate have helped put a fresh face on the monarchy.

Harry has said that Diana is always in his mind, and has championed many of her charitable causes, including taking an HIV test live on Facebook last year to raise awareness.

But he revealed that for a long time he struggled to cope with her death in a Paris car crash in 1997, and sought professional help a few years ago.

In a remarkably candid interview earlier this year, the prince admitted he came "very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions".

He turned a corner and in July 2016 met Markle, a US television actress, through mutual friends. In September this year she declared to Vanity Fair: "We're in love."

Harry was born in 1984, the "spare" to his brother William, who will one day inherit the throne.

Both educated at the elite Eton school, their childhood was dominated by the messy breakdown of their parents' marriage and Diana's tragically early death.


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