Prince Harry Turns 39: His Bombshell Year in Pictures

Prince Harry turns 39 on Friday, drawing to a close a year of personal highs and public lows for the royal, who will mark the day with wife Meghan Markle in Germany, where they are attending the Invictus Games.

Harry's 38th birthday came at a time of great personal sadness. It occurred during a royal court mourning period in Britain, between the death of the prince's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and her state funeral.

In the months since, the prince has released three major docuseries projects for Netflix and a 410-page memoir, and he has given personal interviews that have brought him both praise and criticism.

Here, Newsweek looks at the prince's bombshell year in pictures.

Queen Elizabeth's State Funeral

Prince Harry Attends Queen's State Funeral
Prince Harry attends Queen Elizabeth's state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022. OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Four days after his 38th birthday, Harry attended the funeral of his grandmother at Westminster Abbey in London.

The prince was visiting Britain with Meghan at the time of the queen's death and attended events connected with the mourning period up to the day of the funeral.

The period was not an easy one for Harry. Besides mourning his much-loved grandmother, he was the subject of intense media focus on whether he would be permitted to wear a military uniform for the events.

Harry forfeited his right to wear a ceremonial uniform when he stepped down as a working royal in 2020. The prince did wear the uniform of the Blues and Royals Household Cavalry regiment for a special lying-in-state vigil at the request of King Charles, but he wore civilian dress for the funeral itself.

The Drama Over the Netflix Docuseries

"Harry & Meghan" Netflix Docuseries
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen in promotional images for 2022's "Harry & Meghan" docuseries on Netflix. NETFLIX

Just three months after the death of Elizabeth, Harry and Meghan launched their biggest media project to date in the form of a six-part tell-all docuseries charting the course of their relationship with and dramatic split from the monarchy.

The series debuted in two installments, on December 8 and December 15, 2022, and became one of Netflix's biggest documentary hits.

The series also brought a certain amount of controversy. Meghan's recollection of her first curtsy to the queen was described by critics as disrespectful, while Harry's revelations of behind-palace-walls intrigue and allegations of media leaks from his family were not well received in Britain.

The show, however, provided fans with never-before-seen insights into Harry's and Meghan's personal lives, including touching home movies and photos of their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

A Record-Breaking Memoir

Prince Harry "Spare" Memoir
Copies of Prince Harry's "Spare" memoir are pictured on publication day, January 10. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Perhaps the project that earned Harry the greatest amount of backlash and commercial success was his memoir, Spare, released on January 10.

The book became the fastest-selling nonfiction book in history, despite being leaked to the press a week before its official release.

Working with ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer, the prince provided a full and frank account of his life story to date, including the painful memory of Princess Diana's death, his career in the army and the events leading to his decision to split from the royal family with his wife.

The prince's criticism of family members, including Prince William and Queen Camilla, were repeated in the press. Media spoofs were made on some of the more personal revelations, such as an account of his frostbitten penis following a trek to the North Pole at the time of his brother's wedding.

Hard-Hitting Interviews

Prince Harry "Spare" Interviews
Prince Harry is interviewed by Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes" after the publication of his memoir in January. CNN

To promote his memoir, Harry undertook a series of solo interviews with major news outlets, including CNN in the U.S. and ITV in Britain.

In the interviews, Harry elaborated on what he had written, including incidents he didn't reference in his book, notably an alleged racially insensitive conversation with a royal family member over the color of his unborn son's skin, which he revealed in 2021 to Oprah Winfrey.

Speaking to broadcaster Tom Bradby, Harry said neither he nor Meghan accused the other royals of being "racist." He said that was a press narrative and that he believed the incident was an example of "unconscious bias."

Attending the King's Coronation

Prince Harry Coronation Appearance
Prince Harry is seen on the day of King Charles' coronation at Westminster Abbey on May 6. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace and individual members of the royal family did not respond to Harry's Netflix show or memoir, but tensions between the U.S.- and U.K.-based royals were reportedly high following their release.

At the time of Spare's release, Harry said he was unsure whether he would attend King Charles' coronation on May 6.

In the end, the prince came to Westminster Abbey for the historic occasion but unaccompanied by Meghan, who decided to stay in California with their children.

The prince did not sit with his brother for the ceremony and did not take part in the celebratory events. He was seen arriving at a London airport just hours after the service ended and returned to California.

New York City Paparazzi Car Chase

Prince Harry Meghan Markle New York City
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Women of Vision Awards in New York City on May 16. James Devaney/GC Images/Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women

In another major public outing for Harry in the past year, he attended the Women of Vision Awards in midtown Manhattan, where Meghan was being honored.

The couple came to the ceremony with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, and afterward they were pursued in their vehicle through the city by paparazzi.

After the incident, the couple's spokesperson issued a statement describing it as a "near catastrophic car chase" lasting over two hours.

Sources, including the New York Police Department, later disputed the severity of the spokesperson's claims.

Setting High Court History

Prince Harry Royal Courts of Justice
Prince Harry is seen at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on June 7 during a trial against a British tabloid publisher. Carl Court/Getty Images

Perhaps the biggest personal event in Harry's year was his June appearance on the witness stand at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where he became the first senior royal in over 100 years to give evidence at a trial.

Over two days, Harry gave testimony in a High Court trial regarding his lawsuit against a tabloid publisher, Mirror Group Newspapers. He is still awaiting a judgment.

The prince is suing the publisher over allegations of unlawful information-gathering against him, which he claims informed stories about his private life in the publisher's newspapers from the 1990s to the 2010s.

Mirror Group has denied a number of the prince's allegations.

2023 Invictus Games

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Invictus Games
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Invictus Games in Germany on Thursday. Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Harry's 39th year has had a happy note. He has been reunited with his beloved Invictus veterans community at the 2023 Invictus Games in Düsseldorf, Germany. He co-founded the games in 2014 to provide a platform for injured, sick and wounded veterans to showcase their mental and physical recoveries in a sporting arena.

Harry was joined at this year's games by Meghan, and the couple have attended a number of the events, receiving a warm reception from the community.

Meghan and Harry have not been joined in Germany by their children, though Meghan told event attendees upon her arrival that she is looking forward to the day they can make the tournament a family affair.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek's royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We'd love to hear from you.

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