Diana wanted Harry and William to have a broader range of experiences than previous royal children and took them to venues that ranged from Disney World and McDonald’s to AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. Harry began to accompany his parents on official visits at an early age; his first overseas tour was with his parents to Italy in 1985.
Harry’s parents divorced in 1996, and his mother died following a car accident in Paris the following year. Harry and William were staying with their father at Balmoral at the time, and the Prince of Wales told his sons about their mother’s death. At his mother’s funeral, Harry, then 12, accompanied his father, brother, paternal grandfather, and maternal uncle, Earl Spencer, in walking behind the funeral cortège from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey.
Like his father and brother, Harry was educated at independent schools. He started at Jane Mynors’ nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School, both in London. Following this, he attended Ludgrove School, and, after passing the entrance exams, was admitted to Eton College. The decision to place Harry at Eton went against the Windsor family convention of sending children to Gordonstoun (Harry’s grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins all attended); it did, however, see Harry follow in the Spencer family footsteps, as both Diana’s father and brother attended Eton.
In June 2003, Harry completed his education at Eton with two A-Levels, (achieving a grade B in art and D in geography) having decided to drop history of art after AS level. He excelled in sports, particularly polo and rugby union. Passing two A-levels, Harry was eligible to apply for an officer commission in the British Army. One of Harry’s former teachers, Sarah Forsyth, has assessed that Harry was a “weak student” and that staff at Eton conspired to help Harry cheat on examinations. Both Eton and Harry denied the claims. While a tribunal made no ruling on the cheating claim, it “accepted the prince had received help in preparing his A-level ‘expressive’ project, which he needed to pass to secure his place at Sandhurst”.
After school, Harry took a gap year, during which he spent time in Australia, working (as his father had done in his youth) on a cattle station and participating in the Young England vs Young Australia Polo Test match. He also travelled to Lesotho, where he worked with orphaned children and produced the documentary film The Forgotten Kingdom.