Harry was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 15 September 1984 at 4:20 pm as the second child of Charles, Prince of Wales—heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II—and Diana, Princess of Wales.
He was baptised with the names Henry Charles Albert David, on 21 December 1984, at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
His first overseas tour was with his parents to Italy in 1985.
His mother died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Harry and William were staying with their father at Balmoral at the time, and the Prince of Wales told his sons about their mother's death.
In June 2003, Harry completed his education at Eton with two A-Levels.After school, Harry took a gap year, during which he spent time in Australia working (as his father had done in his youth) on a cattle station, and participating in the Young England vs Young Australia Polo Test match.
Harry entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 8 May 2005, where he was known as Officer Cadet Wales, and joined the Alamein Company.
In April 2006, Harry completed his officer training and was commissioned as a Cornet (second lieutenant) in the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the Household Cavalry in the British Army.
In 2006, it was announced that Harry's unit was scheduled to be deployed in Iraq the following year. A public debate ensued as to whether he should serve there. Defence Secretary John Reid said that he should be allowed to serve on the front line of battle zones. Harry agreed saying, "If they said 'no, you can't go front line' then I wouldn't drag my sorry ass through Sandhurst and I wouldn't be where I am now." The Ministry of Defence and Clarence House made a joint announcement on 22 February 2007 that Harry would be deployed with his regiment to Iraq, as part of the 1st Mechanised Brigade of the 3rd Mechanised Division – a move supported by Harry, who had stated that he would leave the army if he was told to remain in safety while his regiment went to war. He said: "There's no way I'm going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country."
Harry was scheduled for deployment in May or June 2007, to patrol the Maysan Governorate. By 16 May, however, Dannatt announced that Harry would not serve in Iraq; concerns included Harry being a high-value target (as several threats by various groups had already been made against him) and the dangers the soldiers around him would face should any attempt be made on his life or if he was captured. Clarence House made public Harry's disappointment with the decision, though he said he would abide by it.
In early June 2007, it was reported that Harry had arrived in Canada to train alongside soldiers of the Canadian Forces and British Army, at CFB Suffield, near Medicine Hat, Alberta. It was said that this was in preparation for a tour of duty in Afghanistan, where Canadian and British forces were participating in the NATO-led Afghan War. This was confirmed in February of the following year, when the British Ministry of Defense revealed that Harry had been secretly deployed as a Forward Air Controller to Helmand Province in Afghanistan for the previous ten weeks.
On 13 April 2008, when he reached two years' seniority, Harry was promoted to lieutenant.
On 6 January 2009, the Queen granted Harry and William their own royal household.
In September 2009, William and Harry set up The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to enable the princes to take forward their charitable ambitions.
Prince Charles presented him with his flying brevet (wings) on 7 May 2010 at a ceremony at the Army Air Corps Base (AAC), Middle Wallop. Harry had let it be known he intended to fly Apache attack helicopters if he was successful in passing the rigorous Apache training course. This would allow him to see active military service again on the frontline in Afghanistan.
On 10 March 2011, it was revealed that Harry had passed his Apache flying test and he was awarded his Apache Flying Badge on 14 April 2011.
On 16 April 2011, it was announced that Harry had been promoted to captain.
In March 2012, Harry led an official visit to Belize as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
While on holiday in Las Vegas in August 2012, Harry and an unknown young woman were photographed naked in a Wynn Las Vegas hotel room, reportedly during a game of strip billiards. The pictures were leaked by American celebrity website TMZ on 21 August 2012, in May 2019, Splash News issued a formal apology to Harry and his wife for sending photographers to their Cotswolds residence, which put their privacy at risk. The agency also agreed to pay a "substantial" sum of damages and legal costs associated with the case.
On 7 September 2012, Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan as part of the 100-strong 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps, to begin a four-month combat tour as a co-pilot and gunner for an Apache helicopter.
On 10 September, within days of arriving in Afghanistan, it was reported that the Taliban had threatened his life. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid spoke to Reuters and was quoted as saying: "We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping." He added, "We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him."
On 21 January 2013, it was announced that Harry was returning from a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan,where he served as an Apache co-pilot/gunner.
Between 9 and 15 May 2013, he made an official visit to the United States. The tour promoted the rehabilitation of injured American and UK troops, publicised his own charities and supported British interests. It included engagements in Washington, DC, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He met survivors of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.
On 8 July 2013, the Ministry of Defence announced that Harry had successfully qualified as an Apache aircraft commander.
In October 2013, he visited Australia for his first official visit to the country and attended the International Fleet Review at Sydney Harbour.
On 17 January 2014, the Ministry of Defence announced that Harry had completed his attachment to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, and would take up a staff officer role, SO3 (Defence Engagement), in HQ London District. His responsibilities would include helping to co-ordinate significant projects and commemorative events involving the Army in London. He was based at Horse Guards in central London.
On 6 March 2014, Harry launched Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women, which was held on 10–14 September 2014.
On 6 November 2014, he opened the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey, a task usually performed by Prince Philip.
In January 2015, it was reported that Harry would take a new role in supporting wounded service personnel by working alongside members of the London District's Personal Recovery Unit for the MOD's Defence Recovery Capability scheme to ensure that wounded personnel have adequate recovery plans. The palace confirmed weeks later that the scheme was established in partnership with Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
On 17 March 2015, Kensington Palace announced that Harry would leave the Armed Forces in June. Before then, he would spend four weeks throughout April and May at army barracks in Darwin, Perth and Sydney whilst seconded to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). After leaving the Army, while considering his future, he would return to work in a voluntary capacity with the Ministry of Defence, supporting Case Officers in the Ministry's Recovery Capability Programme. He would be working with both those who administer and receive physical and mental care within the London District area.
On 6 April 2015, Harry reported for duty to Australia's Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. Harry flew to Darwin later that day to begin his month-long secondment to the ADF's 1st Brigade. His visit included detachments to NORFORCE as well as to an aviation unit.
Harry's attachment with the ADF ended on 8 May 2015.
On 19 June 2015 he resigned his short service commission.
On 27 November 2017, Clarence House and Kensington Palace announced that Harry and The American actress Meghan Markle were engaged. The engagement announcement prompted much comment about the possible social significance of Meghan Markle becoming a mixed-race royal.
Since leaving active service with the army, Harry has been closely involved with the armed forces through the Invictus Games, honorary military appointments and other official engagements. On 19 December 2017 he succeeded his grandfather Prince Philip as the Captain General of the Royal Marines.
On 27 December 2017, Harry was officially appointed the new president of African Parks, a conservation NGO. He previously spent three weeks in Malawi with African Parks where he joined a team of volunteers and professionals to carry out one of the largest elephant translocations in history. The effort to repopulate areas decimated due to poaching and habitat loss moved 500 elephants from Liwonde and Majete National Parks to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Harry and Meghan Markle married at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 19 May 2018.
On 6 May 2019, the couple's first child Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was born, who is seventh in line to the throne.
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess announced that they were stepping back from their role as senior members of the royal family, and would balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
The couple also said that they would seek financial independence while continuing to support their charities and the Queen.
On 18 January 2020, Buckingham Palace announced that, following their decision to step back from royal duties, from 31 March 2020 Harry and his wife have agreed not to use their Royal Highness styles, but as a British prince he will not be stripped of his style and titles.