- Title: BRITAIN-ROYALS/PRINCE HARRY BIRTHDAY Prince Harry turns 31 on September 15
- Date: 14th September 2015
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FORMER ENGLAND RUGBY UNION INTERNATIONAL, JONNY WILKINSON, HOLDING THE WEBB ELLIS TROPHY AS HE WALKS OUT OF TWICKENHAM STADIUM WITH PRINCE HARRY AND IS GREETED BY CHEERING CHILDREN WILKINSON AND PRINCE HARRY POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS PRINCE HARRY POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS / WILKINSON PLACING TROPHY ON PODIUM
- Embargoed: 29th September 2015 13:00
- Location: New Zealand
- Country: New Zealand
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAETJ8GEPPYWEOHH6C0K59V8KQJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Prince Harry celebrates his 31st birthday on Tuesday (September 15). Fourth in line to the throne, Harry has, like his brother Prince William, lived his whole life in the public eye.
Often seen as the cheekier of the two brothers, Harry appears more at ease in front of the cameras. But royal watchers believe Harry suffered more than his brother after his mother Diana's death in a car crash in 1997. That may have prompted him to dabble with soft drugs and underage drinking as a 17-year-old.
Dubbed by the media a royal "wild child" and playboy prince, Harry sparked international outrage when in 2005 he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party two weeks before Queen Elizabeth led Holocaust memorial ceremonies.
In another controversial incident, naked pictures of Harry after a night out in Las Vegas were printed across the front pages of the British tabloids in August 2012.
The prince has worked hard to distance himself from his youthful image, undertaking charity work and formal royal visits. Harry began a military career as an army officer in April 2006, after graduating from the prestigious Sandhurst military academy before joining the elite Household Cavalry, and became eligible to be sent to conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was due to deploy to Iraq in 2007 but the plan was scrapped after specific threats by insurgents to kidnap him.
He served a 10-week tour in Afghanistan up to the end of February 2008 but was pulled from the front-line because defence officials feared the world-wide coverage of his deployment could endanger him and his fellow soldiers after a media blackout about his secret tour of duty to Helmand Province was broken.
The prince was the first member of the royal family to see action since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew helicopters in the Falklands War in 1982. In October 2008, Harry chose to follow Prince Andrew and Prince William and train to become a helicopter pilot.
Along with Prince William, Harry became involved in charity work helping wounded soldiers return to work in civilian life.
In 2012 Harry returned to Afghanistan for a four-month operational tour as an Apache helicopter pilot. Based in Camp Bastion, the largest coalition military base in the country, the prince's squadron provided surveillance, deterrence and close combat attack support to the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces in the region. Harry was present but unharmed when Taliban insurgents attacked the Camp in September 2012 killing two U.S. marines.
Following his return from Afghanistan, Harry took on more royal duties as Queen Elizabeth scaled back on her long-distance travels.
In October 2013, Harry joined senior members of the royal family at the christening of his nephew Prince George. Prince William's wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to the royal baby on July 22, securing the male line of succession and moving Harry from third to fourth in line to the throne.
The following month, he joined his grandfather Prince Philip at the annual opening of the Field of Remembrance ceremony in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, held in memory of fallen soldiers. They each laid a small wooden Cross of Remembrance in front of two graves of unknown British soldiers who died in the first and second World Wars, before meeting veterans and members of the Royal British Legion charity.
After three and a half years on attachment to the Army Air Corps the prince's office announced in January that Harry was quitting front-line military roles to take on more official duties.
He then joined William and Kate at the Tower of London to symbolically plant poppies to commemorate those soldiers who lost their lives during the war. The hand-made ceramic poppies are part of an art installation in the Tower's dry moat, each poppy representing the death of a British or Colonial soldier.
Inspired by participating in the Warrior Games in the United States, Harry came up with the idea for a similar event for injured service personnel in the United Kingdom. The Invictus Games have been dubbed the Olympic Games for wounded servicemen and women and features more than 400 competitors from 13 countries competing in a range of disciplines including athletics, wheelchair rugby, archery, rowing and basketball.
In 2015, Harry visited Australia and New Zealand, as part of an exchange programme with the Australian army. The prince joined fellow soldiers performing the traditional 'Haka' in Palmerstone and took part in other Maori traditions including paddling a 'Waka' boat.
The prince showed his passion for sport throughout the year too.
In June he faced off against Prince William in a charity polo match and later on in the summer launched preparations for Britain hosting the Rugby world cup with former England international Johnny Wilkinson.
The prince will spend his birthday attending a flypast to commemorate the battle of Britain, at the Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, southern England.
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