It's hard to imagine the British monarchy sans Prince Harry, but the 32-year-old reveals that he was once ready to give up the perks and responsibilities of royalty for a commoner's life.
"I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn't want to grow up," the young royal admitted in an interview with Mail on Sunday about the years of fast partying following his stint in the army. After calling his brief 2007 tour in Afghanistan the "best escape I've ever had," the prince elaborated on how the idea of life as a civilian became very appealing once he returned home.
"I wasn't a prince, I was just Harry," he explained of his 10 months in the Middle East. "I felt as though I was really achieving something. I have a deep understanding of all sorts of people from different backgrounds and felt I was part of a team."
After he was discharged due to security reasons, the royal revealed that his life took a tailspin. He initially turned to partying, and then, after some soul searching, seriously considered renouncing his duties to the crown—except for his allegiance to the royal family.
Prince Harry cites his loyalty to his grandmother Queen Elizabeth as the reason for his decision to stay. "I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself," he admitted.
His role as a modern royal includes an emphasis on charity, which he says was inspired by his late mom, Princess Diana's, work: "We don't want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good."
"We are incredibly passionate with our charities and they have been chosen because they are on the path shown to me by our mother," he continued. "I love charity stuff and meeting people."