“Royal rebel” Prince Harry reportedly displayed his wild side early on, partying heavily and experimenting with drinking and drugs instead of cramming for his A-level exams, according to the Channel 5 documentary “Prince Harry: The Troubled Prince”.
As the younger brother of the heir to the throne of England, Prince Harry is portrayed as having struggled to find his place in the royal family while navigating the “royal rifts” that reportedly existed in the palace, writes the Mirror with reference to the documentary.
"On paper Prince Harry's start in life was incredibly privileged and lucky, but in reality being born as the younger brother of the future king of England is a very difficult position to be born into,” said broadcaster Daisy McAndrew.
Rebelling against the role thrust upon him, the young prince was involved in pub lock-ins and seen smoking cannabis, according to the documentary.
"The first time I ever met Prince Harry he was at a nightclub. It was the years of his A-levels and he was meant to be revising... He was at the Kensington Roof Gardens knocking back vodka shots smoking Marlboro Lights surrounded by a group of gorgeous blondes. That was Prince Harry," says Katie Nicholl, royal correspondent at Vanity Fair.
According to royal experts cited in the documentary, as a royal Prince Harry had to deal with unique challenges, different from those his older brother William faced.
"…In reality being born as the younger brother of the future king of England is a very difficult position to be born into. They are known rather unkindly as the spare," says Daisy McAndrew.
Royal biographers claim that the Prince must have felt like an outsider, with no younger sibling to relate to inside the inner circle of the royal family.
"Prince William's role has always been defined. What he’s going to do has always been clearly outlined. Harry, like spares historically in the royal family, has had to find a role for himself," underscored Katie Nicholl.
According to Daisy McAndrew, the “lonely, privileged unhappy Prince” sought to fill his hours with wild parties and using cannabis to escape the pressures of his position, handing out with people he believed liked him for who he truly was.
Fed up with his son’s wild ways, Prince Charles reportedly forced his son at the age of 16 to visit a drug rehabilitation clinic to show him how addictions started with what seemed like innocent partying with booze and marijuana.
Prince Harry was taken to Featherstone Lodge, Peckham, a residential centre for drug users, to listen to stories shared by recovering drug addicts.
Nevertheless, the Prince continued his rebellious ways, and by 18 was often photographed leaving nightclubs in the early hours surrounded by a bevy of girls.
"Harry’s naughtiness was sometimes just boyish but other times was really a symptom of his deep grief. It was an outlet for his despair I think," royal biographer Angela Lewin is portrayed as saying.
Prince Harry's inner turmoil, the relationship with his brother Prince William, claim royal experts and insiders, is what led him to his present path.
It was also further complicated by Prince Harry’s engagement and later marriage to Meghan Markle, as the older sibling had apparently expressed doubts to Harry as to whether he was “too quick getting engaged to Meghan".
"There was a brotherly discussion which I think was voiced out of concern for William but was misinterpreted as a lack of support. Things were said and done in the run up to the wedding that both sides regret but had caused irreparable damage," royal expert Camilla Tominey says.
Nevertheless, according to the expert, “people love a royal rebel at the end of the day."
Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle in 2018 and she gave birth to their son, Archie, in May last year.
In January 2020 the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked the world by declaring they intend to "step back" from the Royal Family and want to divide their time between UK and North America.