PRINCE HARRY celebrates his 35th birthday tomorrow, and the Duke of Sussex’s life has changed dramatically since he left the Army in 2015 – but could his new son Archie have the lifelong career Harry was denied?
Prince Harry is about to celebrate his first birthday since he became a parent along with Meghan Markle to their royal baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been clear about their desire to bring up Archie as a private citizen, and give him as normal a childhood as possible. This has led the pair not handing down any royal titles to the tot, and keeping baby Archie’s July christening a private family function.
As Archie grows up, his lack of royal titles, and distance from the direct line of succession to the throne, may mean that he has far wider freedoms than his father did.
When Prince Harry was born, in 1984, he was third-in-line to the throne and grew up in the shadow of older bother Prince William.
Although Harry had a very successful Army career for ten years, and was successful in fulfilling his desire to join the troops in Afghanistan, he eventually had to step down from the job he loved.
In 2015, he became a more senior “working royal” and began to undertake more and more high-profile duties in support of his grandmother the Queen.
“If Archie joined the military one day it would also be seen as a valuable link with tradition.”
He explained that a great deal of Archie’s relatives have served in the military.
He said: “There has been a royal military tradition for hundreds of years and it is continued today by the service of many senior royals in the military.
“There is also a special bond that links the royals to various parts of the three services.
“The Queen is the last head of state who served, in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, in the War.
“The Duke of Edinburgh was mentioned in dispatches, Andrew saw service in the Falklands War and Harry himself has seen two tours of duty in Afghanistan while William, though as a future king forbidden to be in the front line, has served for over seven years.
“Harry’s founding of the Invictus Games, for disabled service men and women, has been a phenomenal success too.”
In 2017, Harry confessed that his ten-year stint in the Army was an “escape” from royal life, and that he had even considered giving up his title to pursue his career.
The prince told the Mail on Sunday that the time he spent in the Army – when he was “just Harry” – was “the best escape I’ve ever had”.