The Shady Side Of Prince Harry

The following article includes brief mentions of mental health struggles.

Growing up, Prince Harry had a reputation for being a bad boy. He was a hard partier and a bit of a womanizer, whereas his brother, Prince William, was a straight-laced student with a serious girlfriend. Since meeting Meghan Markle though, Harry's reputation has seen a major comeback. In fact, by some standards, Harry has eclipsed William in terms of popularity — even though he will never be king and isn't technically a working royal anymore.

Since leaving the royal family in 2020, Harry has gotten more comfortable talking about his childhood and the institution he felt forced to flee. Harry has gushed about how the royals like to binge "The Crown" (Royalty! They're just like us!) and let some darker family secrets slip, like the bullying and racism he and Meghan allegedly faced inside the palace. He shared even more about his life and marriage in the 2022 Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan."

The next big move for Harry would be the release of his autobiography "Spare," which he sold for $20 million, per the Daily Mail. Fans are eager to delve more into palace secrets that came to light after excerpts from "Spare" were leaked ahead of its release. Sources say that Harry wants to paint a respectful picture of his family, but it looks like he'll be sharing a few drama-filled moments, as well. Below, we break down the shadiest things about Prince Harry — because who knows what he'll edit out of that memoir.

Prince Harry dressed up as a Nazi

If you keep up with the royal family even a little, the first item on our list won't come as a surprise. In fact, until he married Meghan Markle, Prince Harry was probably best known for his 2005 Halloween faux pas. That year, the prince attended a party dressed as a Nazi, and, as you can imagine, it did not go well, though Harry soon publicly apologized. "I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone," he said in a statement, per CNN. "It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize."

Though the world has moved on, the stunt is apparently still causing conflict within the royal family. Rumor has it that Harry and Prince William are still at odds over the incident. According to royal biographers, William allegedly knew of Harry's plan to wear the costume, thought it was hilarious, and even encouraged him to do so, per the Daily Mail. He then had a good laugh when Harry got in trouble. The younger prince also wrote about the incident in "Spare" (via Page Six). Sharing that he'd been debating between the Nazi costume and a pilot one, Harry claimed, "I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said."

As you can imagine, if the rumors are true, there was a lot of resentment on Harry's end after allegedly feeling set up by his brother. This reportedly led to a minor falling out, which was never fully resolved and likely played into their larger falling out years later.

He was a hard partier

Growing up, Prince William was under a lot more pressure than Prince Harry. After all, Wills is heir to the throne, and Harry is not. Given that Harry wasn't under the same amount of pressure or scrutiny, he developed a reputation as a bad boy prince. He was frequently spotted leaving trendy London nightclubs, getting in fights, and smoking cigarettes (not illegal but definitely gave him a bad boy vibe).

Then there were the times he was caught playing strip poker in Las Vegas and getting so drunk he fell into a pool fully clothed. Things reached a crescendo in 2002 when then-Prince Charles allegedly caught the teenager smoking weed and sent him to a rehab facility for a day to understand how the other half lives, per The Guardian. Harry later admitted to using cocaine as a teenager in his memoir "Spare," according to Page Six.

Before you start thinking that Harry is just a vapid partier, though, know that he's more recently opened up about how he used drugs and alcohol to cope with the trauma he suffered growing up in the spotlight, especially after his mother's death. "I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling," Harry said while being interviewed for "The Me You Can't See" in 2021, per The U.S. Sun. "And I would find myself drinking, not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something."

Prince Harry's been accused of racism

Following his disastrous Halloween costume, Prince Harry started straightening up ... for a time. Unlike his older brother, Harry didn't need to train to be king, so, with not much to do after graduation, he joined the army and started earning some respect. People were generally supportive of his endeavor; however, things came crashing down when audio of Harry using a racial slur to refer to a Pakistani soldier was leaked. The prince immediately apologized, and the palace released a statement claiming that — while definitely inappropriate — Harry had only referred to the soldier as "our little Paki friend" in an endearing way, per The Guardian.

However, that was not the only time Harry was caught using racist language while in the military. Soon after the audio of his remarks about his friend leaked, a video was released that showed him flying a plane and referring to someone as a "rag-head."

Although Harry didn't receive any formal punishment, the story left a bad taste in the mouths of many. "Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term can be, and is extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause," a palace spokesperson explained, via the Independent. "There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend." As for the other racial slur, the palace claimed that, too, was a misunderstanding and assured Harry was talking about an Iraqi insurgent, not a British citizen. As if that's a valid excuse.

He and Prince William had a falling out

Prince Harry's recent falling out with his brother, Prince William, has definitely raised some eyebrows. Though the only people who really know what happened are Harry and William, the list of fan theories about the falling out is long. Some posit it has everything to do with William not supporting Harry's marriage. Others think William encouraged the press to focus on Meghan Markle to avoid any negative press for himself or his own family. William reportedly thinks Harry threw their family under the bus by airing their dirty laundry, per Glamour.

"William feels that Harry has gotten too big for his boots since moving to California — that success and Hollywood have gone to his head," a source told Us Weekly after Harry's Oprah Winfrey interview. "He's already accused [Harry] of putting fame over family after the big interview." The brothers reportedly spoke after the interview, and it did not go well.

Over a year later, Harry and William still appear more distant than ever. They've been spotted together a few times since Harry left, though William has yet to meet Harry's daughter or visit Harry and Meghan in Los Angeles. That likely won't change any time soon. The news isn't all bad, though. Insiders think the brothers could work it out — it will just take time. "If they were in a room on their own, they would say they miss each other," a source told People. So maybe there's hope after all.

Prince Harry liked to fight

In his younger days, Prince Harry wasn't exactly Mr. World Peace. In fact, the troubled prince earned a reputation as a mean drunk, thanks to the fights with paparazzi and fellow pub patrons that peppered his teenage years.

In 2004, only months before the Nazi costume incident, Harry got into a physical fight with the paparazzi outside a trendy London night club. Harry's reps tried to get out in front of the altercation by claiming that Harry was attacked by the paps while trying to sneak out of the club unnoticed. "Prince Harry was hit in the face by a camera as photographers crowded around him as he was getting into a car," a representative for the prince said, per The Guardian. "In pushing the camera away, it's understood that a photographer's lip was cut." Unsurprisingly, the photographer in question remembered the incident differently. He claimed Harry knowingly and deliberately attacked him.

There were other occurrences, too, including a night of heavy drinking that led to Harry being banned from a bar for allegedly using a racial slur against the pub's owner, per Express. These days, Harry helms a therapy startup, advocates for better mental health practices, and does plenty of charity work — which is a far cry from his younger self and a testament to how much people can grow.

The Duke of Sussex can allegedly be a diva

You might recall that back in 2017 and 2018, leading up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's massive royal wedding, there were a slew of stories about Meghan being a total diva when it came to wedding prep, the most infamous being the story about her making Kate Middleton cry (though Meghan later claimed the opposite occurred). If you were super wrapped up in the spectacle surrounding Meghan, you might have missed the role Harry reportedly played in all the drama.

Rumor has it Harry had it out with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, over Meghan's wedding day demands. Meghan reportedly wanted a specific tiara for the big day, but the palace staff was reluctant to lend it to her, likely because they didn't have the queen's permission, per the Mirror. Robert Lacey claimed in his biography "Battle of the Brothers" that Harry completely lost his temper upon hearing no and screamed at a staffer that "what Meghan wants, Meghan gets."

Wedding planning is always stressful, and doubly so if it's a royal affair. Elizabeth, however, reportedly wasn't very sympathetic to any of the troubles facing the newlyweds. Upon witnessing Harry's supposed outburst at palace staff, the queen allegedly firmly put her foot down."She gets the tiara that she's given by me," she reportedly reminded him.

Prince Harry reportedly surprised the queen with 'Megxit'

Though Prince Harry isn't the first royal to step away from The Firm (Queen Elizabeth's uncle abdicated the throne), and his departure doesn't really mean anything for the line of succession, it was still a major surprise to those inside and outside of the palace.

The most shocking part of the decision, though, was the rumor that Harry and Meghan Markle didn't even give the queen a heads up before going rogue. Publications began claiming that neither then-Prince Charles nor the queen were consulted and were therefore blindsided by the couple's decision, per The Washington Post. The formerly working royal couple has adamantly denied this. In fact, Harry has gone so far as to claim that if he's been isolated from his grandmother, it was through no fault of his own, per Page Six.

Harry told Oprah Winfrey that the queen invited him over to discuss his and Meghan's desire to step away from the family months before it was announced, but that the appointment was canceled last minute. Harry alleged that when he called up his grandmother to reschedule, she was too busy to see him. Though they didn't get the chance to meet, Harry maintained that any notion Elizabeth didn't know about "Megxit" was ridiculous. We may never know the real story, but either way, it's clear that Harry's departure didn't exactly endear him to the rest of his family.

The prince can't get along with King Charles

It should come as little surprise that Prince Harry isn't exactly on the best terms with his family — especially his father. As any royal fanatic knows, King Charles III allegedly cut him off as soon as Harry publicly announced his plan to end his royal duties (in reality, it was much later), but you may not have known that the conflict between the two runs way deeper than his relationship with Meghan Markle.

In recent years, Harry has spoken at length about his complicated relationship with his dad. When discussing his mental health issues and his struggle with depression, Harry claimed that many of his problems stemmed from his childhood. "My father used to say to me when I was younger ... 'Well, it was like that for me, so it's going to be like that for you,'" Harry said of his tough childhood during his interview for "The Me You Don't See," per Page Six. Harry added that he had a "feeling of being trapped within the family."

The prince was also quick to point out that all that trauma came right back to Charles and the rest of the royal family. "It's incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life," he said. "Like the list is growing, and it all comes back to the same people, the same business model." Charles, as ever, has remained silent on the matter, though their relationship is reportedly still icy, per Vanity Fair.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Harry feared Camilla would be a 'wicked stepmother'

As you might have guessed, Prince Harry wasn't exactly thrilled about Camilla Parker Bowles joining the family. The Daily Mail reported that they obtained an early copy of the Spanish version of "Spare," and the book reveals how the prince really felt about King Charles and Camilla's relationship and their rumored affair. "I remember wondering ... if she would be cruel to me; if she would be like all the wicked stepmothers in the stories," Harry wrote of Camilla in "Spare." He also shared that meeting with Camilla was like an "injection" before he and Prince William later warmed up to her.

Harry even made a bold claim against the queen consort. He accused her of planting stories in the media that would help her secure a permanent spot in the royal family. "Shortly after our private meetings with her, she began to develop her long-term strategy, a campaign directed at marriage and with time, the Crown (with the blessing of our father, we supposed)," the prince penned in "Spare." "News stories started appearing in all the newspapers about her conversations with Willy, stories which recounted lots of small details, none of which came from my brother, of course." 

This isn't the first time we're hearing of tension between Harry and Camillia. In an interview with The Telegraph in April 2022, journalist Tina Brown alleged that Harry was upset about the possibility of the East Sussex native ever becoming queen.

His beef with British tabloids is seemingly never-ending

During the first episode of "Harry & Meghan," Prince Harry revealed that his beef with UK media outlets goes all the way back to the early days of his childhood. He even recalled paparazzi hiding in bushes during family vacations. Since the start of his relationship with Meghan Markle, Harry has made it clear that he isn't a fan of how the relationship is portrayed by a number of British tabloids. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have even filed lawsuits against a few outlets.

Harry took jabs at UK tabloids once again in "Harry & Meghan" when he claimed (via CNBC) that Buckingham Palace works with certain outlets to put out stories about those in the royal family. "There's leaking but there's also planting of stories," the prince shared. He also alleged that there is a list of tabloids that are part of the royal rota, meaning Buckingham Palace releases info to these outlets first. "If you're part of the royal rota, you have priority over the story over everybody else," Harry said during the third episode of "Harry & Meghan." "All royal news goes through the filter of all newspapers within the royal rota, most of which, apart from The Telegraph, happen to be tabloids." 

Prince Harry also shared, "It all comes down to control, it's like, 'This family is ours to exploit. Their trauma is our story and our story and our narrative to control.'"

Prince Harry's memoir exposed his tumultuous relationship with William

Prince Harry shocked the world after an excerpt from his memoir "Spare" was shared by The Guardian ahead of its release. The tell-all book reportedly includes intimate details about Harry's life as the spare of the British royal family. According to The Guardian, the second son who would take over the first-born's role if something ever happened to him is referred to as the spare, and Prince Harry discusses his discontent with this label in the book. The prince allegedly doesn't hold anything back in his memoir. He discusses his relationship with Meghan Markle, Princess Diana's death, tensions within the family, and more.

One of the most controversial excerpts from the book puts Harry's strained relationship with his brother, Prince William, on full display. The Duke of Sussex writes (via The Guardian) that a heated argument began after William called Meghan "difficult," "rude," and "abrasive." The disagreement allegedly led William to attack him. "He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor," Harry penned. "I landed on the dog's bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out." 

Harry also claimed that William asked him to refrain from telling Meghan about the altercation. According to the book excerpt, he eventually confessed to her — and now, the rest of the world.