Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle shows journey from party boy
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on Nov. 27, 2017 in London, England.Chris Jackson / Getty Images
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LONDON — When Prince Harry and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle stepped out on the grounds of Kensington Palace on Monday, it was a mellow, romantic royal moment that was a far cry from Harry’s troubled past.
"When did I know she was the one? Very first time we met," the suited prince told reporters.
Unlike his more earnest older brother, William, Harry seemed at one time to be on a path to misadventure. The 16-year-old prince was confronted by his father, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and taken to a detox center for drug addicts in London.
Then, in between spilling out of west London nightclubs, he attended a friend’s “colonial and native” fancy dress party wearing a German army uniform and Nazi swastika armband — an error of judgment for which he had to issue an unprecedented apology. Five years ago, he was pictured naked in Las Vegas after a late night game of strip billiards.
Yet Harry, now 33, enjoys a more favorable poll rating among the British public than many other royals.
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“Harry has done things that would end the career of most public people,” said Duncan Larcombe, author of "Prince Harry: The Inside Story." “Yet he seems to be able to walk on water. Harry has the ability to put people at ease, just like his mother. He is very self-deprecating. When he talks to people he makes them feel for a moment like they’re the most important person in the world."
Larcombe added, “His vulnerabilities endear him to people and he wears his heart on his sleeve, unlike his older brother who seems to be taking life far too seriously."