Prince Harry to leave the British Army: 10 facts about him you may not know

LONDON - Prince Harry announced on Tuesday that he will leave the British army after serving for 10 years, a period that included being on the front line in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old said it had been a "really tough decision" to end his military service in June, but added that he was looking forward to the next chapter in his life, AFP reported.

His decision will come as a surprise to many royal-watchers as the prince was living out his boyhood dream and seemed quite content with the army life.

Prince Harry, who will be pushed down to fifth in line to the throne by his brother Prince William's second child, due in April, will end his military service after a four-week secondment to the Australian Defence Force in April and May. Here are 10 facts about Prince Harry you may not know.

1) Harry is a nickname

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He was named Henry Charles Albert David, and was later given the nickname Harry. He was born at 4.20pm on September 15, 1984 at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, in central London. He weighed about 3kg.

2) He was brought up like anyone else

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His late mother Princess Diana reportedly wanted her children to have the same kind of experiences as everybody else. This meant that Prince Harry had trips to McDonalds, and had to wait in line to visit Santa Claus at a department store. To bring the point home, Prince Harry still gets his hair cut by a local woman in his hometown of Tetbury. She has been cutting it since he was a child.

3) Prince Harry was a huge fan of girl band Spice Girls as a teen

In 1997, at the age of 13, Prince Harry met the members of British girl group Spice Girls when he accompanied his father Prince Charles to Johannesburg, South Africa, during an official visit. Prince Harry also got to meet late South Africa president Nelson Mandela at his residence. The three of them attended a a charity concert where the group were performing.

4) He likes his football

He is a fan of English club Arsenal, and has been spotted frequently at their matches.

5) Prince Harry has been known to be a great pilot

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Prince Harry entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in May 2005. He currently holds the rank of Captain. Prince Harry spent three and a half years in training and operational service with the Apache Force during his attachment to the Army Air Corps. It is considered a great honour to be chosen to fly Apache helicopters, and of the 20 in his training course, he was awarded the best co-pilot gunner trophy.

6) "Captain Wales" is his name in the Army

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In the army he is known as "Captain Harry Wales". He is not referred to by his surname because he is a prince, and therefore uses the name of the area over which his father holds title.

7) He founded the Invictus Games

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In 2014, he founded the Invictus Games, an international Paralympics-style athletic event for wounded, injured, and sick armed service personnel. The games feature nine sports such as wheelchair rugby, archery and wheelchair basketball.

8) He is actively involved in charity work

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Pince Harry set up the Sentebale charity to help orphans suffering from AIDS in South Africa. He is also involved with charities such as WellChild and MapAction. He maintains the Diana - Princess of Wales Memorial fund in memory of his late mother, a charity he set up when he was 21 years old.

9) He has gone to the South Pole

He was the first member of the Royal Family to go to the South Pole. In 2013, Prince Harry took part in the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge, traveling with injured servicemen and women from across the globe on a successful trek to the South Pole. He reportedly brought along with him chocolate and a giant ice cream cake to share.

10) When Harry met Cressida

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His most recent public relationship was with Ms Cressida Bonas. Ms Bonas, 26, is a graduate of Leeds University, and the daughter of Sixties model Lady Mary-Gaye Curzonthrough. They got to know each other through Prince Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie in 2012, and started dating a year later. However, their relationship came to an end in 2014, reportedly because Ms Bonas could not handle the pressure of being under so much public scrutiny. Before that, for over six years, he had an on-and-off relationship with Zimbabwe-born Chelsy Davy, 28. It ended in 2011.

Sources: invictusgames.org, glamour.com, parade.com, The Telegraph, official website of the British Monarchy

jalmsab@sph.com.sg