Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son
Shortly after his birth, he was dubbed "the spare" by his mother. His granny is the queen, his father is a prince, his older brother will be king someday. His late mother was the most photographed woman in the world. He is fourth in line to the throne after his father, older brother and toddler nephew. He has red hair, a keen wit, and a penchant for sometimes making the wrong kind of headlines.
We may think we know this young man --- soldier/helicopter pilot/eligible bachelor/prince --- whom we've watched grow up on the world stage. This book by Penny Junor, who also has penned tomes about Harry's parents, is once again giving us a good look behind the palace walls.
"Though Harry will probably never become king, it is quite apparent that this young prince will find his niche and continue to lead a most interesting life. And it is certain that royal watchers will continue keeping an eye on the world's most eligible bachelor."
Though he's known as Prince Harry, he was christened Henry Charles Albert David. He was born into the royal family at a time when the author suggests the royal marriage was going well. But those happy times were very short-lived. Imagine growing up in a famous dysfunctional family where every rumor, innuendo and snippet of truth was manipulated by the media to sell newspapers. Imagine being hounded by photographers each time you left the security and privacy of your home.
While the book dredges up a great deal of downright ugly family history, it does so in the context of explaining Harry's background. Early on Harry was the shy one, the well-behaved toddler who was eclipsed by his older brother's bad behaviors, until Granny put her foot down and insisted the obstreperous little William be reined in a bit. And he was. As the boys grew older, Harry became the royal scamp and William the quieter, more conservative son. William was born with a purpose, a destiny --- to one day become king. But Harry's future was often clouded and uncertain. His parents' marriage unraveled in front of the world, and the two boys could hardly escape the damage. And then the unthinkable happened, when William and Harry tragically lost their mother.
How could young Harry not be confused and angry? He lived in a goldfish bowl, and a rather wobbly one at that, and displayed some poor judgment in his youth. Fortunately, there were people in his inner circle who guided and advised him. He was never a scholar but possessed athletic ability, a quick wit and a genial nature. Above all, he wanted to be a soldier and worked hard at his goals. He did not want special treatment; rather, he just wanted to be "one of the lads," which is a pretty unrealistic goal when your granny is queen of the realm. Harry attended strenuous elite military training, completed rigorous helicopter pilot training, and eventually convinced Granny and others that he should be sent to Afghanistan with his men. The young prince did not want to sit on the sidelines; he distinguished himself as a soldier, pilot and leader, and recently accompanied wounded military personnel on a grueling walk to the South Pole.
Harry is developing into a charismatic, thoughtful young man who is well liked and respected by those who know him. He takes seriously the charities he sponsors, and has an enormous gift for connecting with children everywhere he goes. Currently, he is very involved with the upcoming Invictus Games, which is an international Paralympics-type event for wounded soldiers that will be held in London.
Though Harry will probably never become king, it is quite apparent that this young prince will find his niche and continue to lead a most interesting life. And it is certain that royal watchers will continue keeping an eye on the world's most eligible bachelor.
Reviewed by Carole Turner on September 12, 2014