It's easy to think that Meghan Markle is the most popular member of the royal family — and she might be, right now. But a lot of that has to do with her beau, who's been one of the most beloved royals for
years. He just celebrated his 35th birthday on Sept. 15 and these photos of Prince Harry over the years show how he's grown from his mother's sweet boy into a caring, devoted man who cares so much about others.
Like many, Prince Harry went through a time of struggle, during which he was not all that popular. He's even spoken about those years in interviews, explaining what was going on in his young life and heart that made him rebel against the stricture of royal life. The death of his mother, Princess Diana, at the age of just 12 hit him hard, and he
bottled up that grief and channeled it into mischievousness, according to Newsweek.
Eventually, though, he said he "
pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good. I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh," he told Newsweek in 2017.
That turnaround was one of the best things to see for fans, as Prince Harry seemed to take charge of his life and future. The life he's living now just showcases to the world what a great second act can follow heartbreak.
The official Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex celebrated a visit to Nepal from Prince Harry with a throwback photo to his first visit in the country. "The Duke of Sussex has had a longstanding connection to The Ghurkas and the people of Nepal beginning at a very young age," the image was captioned.
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Nothing was more tragic than watching Prince William and Prince Harry weather the storm that arose following their mother's death. Their grief was palpable during those few instances when they made public appearances, including the funeral procession that took place in September 1997.
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Both Prince William and Prince Harry took part in an
event to raise funds for BGC Partners. The company lost 658 employees in the 9/11 attacks and now hold an annual fundraiser on the date. On the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2013, the princes joined stock traders in making deals, according to ITV. Julian Herbert/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Family time became more important than ever after the death of Princess Diana. For instance, in 2002
Prince Charles took a ski trip with his sons, Prince Harry and Prince William. Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images
On their way to 2003's Trooping the Colour, the Queen's birthday celebration, the princes waved to their adoring fans.
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It's no secret that the young prince was a popular with girls. When his wax statue was unveiled at Madam Tussaud's, it gave more ladies than ever the chance to get up close and personal with the royal for a pic of their own.
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Prince Harry's 2018
visit to Australia with Meghan Markle wasn't his first time in the country. In 2003, he got up close and personal with a couple of koalas at the Taronga Zoo, according to INSIDER. Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Prince Harry's military career began early and seemed a natural fit for the wilder of the royal brothers. In the photo above, according to PopSugar, he drills with members of the Eton College Combined Cadet Force, a program sponsored by the Ministry of Defense. Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images
Back in 2004, the
prince visited a children's charity in Lesotho where he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. It was part of a two-month working trip he took with his charity, Sentebale, according to The Telegraph. On the trip, the newspaper reported, he met an orphan that he was later reunited with during his 2015 trip to the country. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Prince Harry shared a laugh with his father's brand-new wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, during Trooping the Colour in 2005.
Prince Charles and Camilla tied the knot in April that same year, according to Good Housekeeping. In Harry: A Biography Of A Prince, Prince Harry said there is no ill will between him and Camilla, according to the International Business Times. "She’s not a wicked stepmother. Look at the position she’s coming into. Don’t feel sorry for me and William, feel sorry for her,” he said. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The family stopped for a break and a photo-op during
their ski weekend in Klosters, Switzerland. There was a mild upset during the shoot as the prince was overheard muttering criticism of the press, according to Getty. Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images
Prince Harry's kind heart was already starting to show in 2008 as he met with patients at University Hospital in Cardiff. That smile indicates a love for this kind of work that just can't be faked.
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Long before he was a dad, or even a husband, people saw the kind of connection with children that made everyone know he'd
be a great dad. In the photo above, according to Marie Claire, he's seen at the WellChild awards in London. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Even when he's having fun he's doing it to benefit others. In this photo, Prince Harry is seen participating in a polo match on behalf of
his African charity, Sentebale. The group works to better the mental and physical health of children affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
A Prince For All Occasions
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Some confusion seemed to be taking place over one of the trophies at an event Prince Harry attended in 2011. No doubt he brought the situation quickly under control with his trademark humor.
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The Invictus Games are one of Prince Harry's biggest projects. In this photo above, he may have been scouting out some talent as he watched a rowing demonstration at the
River and Rowing Museum in London. He was visiting the Row2Recover team, which is comprised of wounded warriors, according to PopSugar.
Posing With Friends And Fans
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launch event for the Invictus Games held in Orlando in 2016, Prince Harry, NBC's Jenna Bush Hager asked him if he'd be interested in dating her sister, Barbara, according to The Mirror, to which he jokingly replied: "We can maybe talk off air." WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Nazhath Faheema, a
Muslim Youth Ambassador of Peace, was the lucky one chosen to sit by the prince during a Ramadan breaking fast meal on his trip to Singapore, Channel News Asia reported. She educated him on the tradition of breaking fast with dates and porridge. WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Back in May 2018, was Prince Harry feeling jitters on his
wedding day to Meghan Markle? He certainly didn't appear to be. Just awash with excitement for this step that would start his next phase of life as a husband and father in addition to heir to the throne. WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Nothing has been more endearing than watching Prince Harry become a father for the very first time. The new dad's
interview with reporters announcing the birth of his son, Archie, was a moment of unbridled joy we rarely get to see from a member of the royal family. And while introducing his baby boy to the world with Markle a few days later, Prince Harry adorably showed off his dad humor. "He's already got a little bit of facial hair as well, wonderful. It's in the family," he joked as he held Archie in his arms.
Never change, Harry. The world needs you just the way you are.