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The real Harry: Profile of a prince

Prince Henry of Wales has been casting that magic spell ever since leaving the hospital in his mother Diana's arms 33 years ago, winning hearts and laughs with his many derring-do exploits.

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Prince Harry in the arms of Diana at an 1988 event at Buckingham Palace

AP

The puckish prince would often cajole Protection Officer Ken Wharfe into playing war. One time, Wharfe gave him a radio and sent him on a secret mission to an area just outside the palace gates, but still within a security network.

"I said to the police, 'Have you seen Harry?' 'No, we haven't," they said. So I called him up on the radio. And I said, 'Harry, it's Ken here.' I said, 'Where are you?'" Wharfe recalled. "And he sort of fumbled around. And then he said, 'I'm outside Tower Records in Kensington High Street.'

"I literally sort of ran all the way down to Tower Records and there's this small boy in his camouflaged Army uniform … completely oblivious to all that's around him … But this was Harry," said Wharfe.

But it wasn't all fun and make-believe. There was Prince Charles and Diana's very public, very ugly divorce, followed by the crushing blow that would shatter her young sons: the sudden death of their mother after a car crash in a Paris tunnel. William was 15. Harry only 12.

"Harry walked behind his mother's cortege … And it was the most heartbreaking sight," said Royal Biographer Penny Junor. "He walked with such dignity and such composure and such a terribly sad little face … the courage of that little boy, is quite extraordinary."

Through the years, Harry put up a good front -- finding comfort in his close relationships with his brother and father. But Harry later admitted he suffered serious emotional problems from not dealing with his grief over his mother's death. 

"I think it probably defined his life, really," Journalist Tom Bradby explained, "and I think it's been churning around inside him. And I think it messed with his head for a long time."

Harry, along with William and Kate, would later launch "Heads Together" -- a campaign to smash the stigma surrounding mental illness. The prince opened up about his own struggles, unheard of among royals.

"I really regret not ever talking about it for the first 28 years of my life. Never talked about it," Harry said in a TV interview.

"… he had a very, very difficult time, when he had a lot of aggression and a lot of buried emotion that he had to work through," Tina Brown,  author of "The Diana Chronicles" and "The Vanity Fair Diaries," told  "CBS This Morning" Co-Host Gayle King.

The emotions came out in less than flattering of ways.

"There was a period … where he was … getting into scrapes in front of – [a] London discothèque and punching out -- a photographer," said Vanity Fair's Sam Kashner.

"…and then there was the infamous -- costume party where he was dressed … complete with brown shirt … and Nazi—armband," Kashner continued. "He really had … gone out on a limb … and was sawing it off."

"Harry was a reluctant Royal," says Junor. "And I think there was a real danger at one time that Harry might turn his back … on his royal life and his royal responsibilities, and go and live somewhere … quietly.

In the end, he stayed a royal -- reportedly for the queen. And she, like the rest of us, forgave him.  

"What is it that people find so appealing about him, do you think?" King asked Brown.

"People love Harry 'cause he's so authentic," she replied. "He's a young man who's had scrapes. People love that about him. He's not pretentious –"

"People love scrapes?"

"I think they do. I mean, [laughs] I think that -- you know, he's -- he's not pretentious. He doesn't pretend to be something that he isn't," says Brown. "…he's an adorable young man. He really is. And now, a very impressive man.

After graduating Eton, Prince Harry did something that would change his life and his reputation. He went to Africa, and eventually – along with Prince Seesio -- started Sentebale, or Forget-me-not – a charity that helps orphans in the AIDS ravaged Kingdom of Lesotho.

"A lot of people never'd heard of Lesotho before. …And Harry brought this huge attention to these orphaned kids, and that's exactly the sort of thing that Diana would have done," said

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine.

"I believe I got a lot of my mother in me, basically," Harry said in a TV interview.

 
"The children, he is just magical with them. Absolutely magical. He has this real connection with damaged people," said Junor, "and has huge empathy with-- anyone-- who has suffered. Particularly suffered loss."

After Africa, Harry took another life-altering step. He began his officer training at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

"The Army just seemed right for me, I mean, since -- since I was about that high I've been dressing up in camouflage gear and all that sort of stuff," said Harry.

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Prince Harry or just plain Captain Wales as he was known in the British Army, is shown after returning from a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan, where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps.

AP Photo/ John Stillwel

But a lot of people in high places were adamant that the prince should not go to the frontlines. He was equally adamant that he should. 

"I wouldn't have joined the Army unless I thought that I wasn't going to, simple as that," the prince continued.

Harry got his wish. Not only did he become a highly skilled Apache helicopter pilot," Bradby said. "He was generally considered to be the best Apache pilot in his class."

He did two tours of duty on the frontlines of Afghanistan

"This was a man who put his life on -- on the line in these -- theatres of war, really," said Kashner.

In 2015, Harry made the tough decision to leave the Army after 10 years and devote himself full time to his royal duties and charities

But, while his public life was soaring, his private life was hurting.

"I think Harry has probably been quite lonely over the years," says Junor. "Harry has needed someone by his side. And I think he's wanted somebody by his side for a long time. And I think it's been very difficult for him to find the right person."

But all that was about to change with one blind date.