Prince Charles, 32, marries Lady Diana Spencer, 20, in a lavish wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral with 750 million people tuning in worldwide. On June 21, 1982, the royals welcome their first son, Prince William. Two years later, on September 15, they welcome Prince Henry Charles Albert David, better known as Harry.
Weeks before Harry, 8, and William, 10, return to boarding school at Ludgrove, Charles and Diana announce their separation. The boys split the remainder of their Christmas holiday between their feuding parents. Charles tells the BBC in 1994 that he never loved his princess bride, and Diana tells journalist Martin Bashir, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," referring to Charles' longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles. Throughout the marriage, Diana battled bulimia and depression, which she blames on Charles and the Royal Family's coldness.
Diana tries to give her sons as normal an upbringing as possible. She rejects Charles' alma mater, a boarding school in Scotland, for Eton College, a prestigious public boarding school near London, where Diana's father and brother both attended. The Royal Family and the British press strike a deal: the royals will provide information on the young princes once every term in exchange for their privacy. While William begins his studies at Eton in 1995, Harry continues at Ludgrove before joining him in 1998.
William and Harry hunt, fish, and go riding with their father. In their mother's company, they go to McDonald's and Disneyland, but also to AIDS clinics and homeless shelters. "I want them to have an understanding of people's emotions, of people's insecurities, of people's distress, of their hopes and dreams," she tells ABC's Martin Bashir in an interview.
After nearly 15 years of marriage, Charles and Diana's divorce is finalized. The royal exes agree to share custody of their sons, William, 14, and Harry, 11. In addition, the AP reports that Charles, 47, will pay Diana, 35, a lump sum of $26.35 million, and about $620,000 a year to run her private office. But the Princess loses the battle of keeping her title 'HRH' (Her Royal Highness), which The Queen strips from her. She will officially be known simply as Diana, Princess of Wales.
Diana, 36, dies in a fatal car accident in Paris with her companion Dodi Fayed. The crash in the Place de l'Alma tunnel was the result of a 60-mph paparazzi car chase. Following her death, Charles flies to Paris to bring her body to London for burial. During this time Queen Elizabeth's silence is interpreted by the British press as indifferent and aloof. After a week of seclusion, the Queen returns with her grandsons from Balmoral Castle in Scotland to address the public.
The Queen breaks precedent to give Diana a royal funeral because she is the mother of the future king. William, 15, and Harry, 12, walk behind their mother's coffin, while more than a million people line the route. Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, uses his eulogy to criticize the media's hounding of his sister, while Elton John sings a reworked version of his hit "Candle in the Wind."
After turning 18, the British media ramps up its coverage of Harry, who graduates from Eton. During his gap year, Harry parties in London, ranches in Australia and, for two months, works with AIDS orphans in Africa. While there, he makes the documentary, The Forgotten Kingdom. "I want to carry on the things that she (Princess Diana) didn't quite finish. I have always wanted to, but was too young," Harry tells the British Press Association.
Harry, 19, begins dating Zimbabwe-born Chelsy Davy, 18, whose parents manage private wildlife reserves in Zimbabwe. Although Harry refuses to comment on their relationship, he does tell Britain's Press Association in 2005 that Davy is "special" and "amazing."
The young prince has racked up a string of scandals, including scuffling with the paparazzi, being accused of cheating and getting caught with marijuana, but they pale when compared to his latest controversy. Harry, 20, attends a friend's costume party with William, 22, and dons a Nazi uniform complete with a Swastika armband. (His brother wears an animal costume.) British tabloid The Sun publishes the photo of Harry as a Nazi on its front page and public outcry ensues. "I am sorry if I caused any offense," Harry says in a statement. "It was a poor choice of costume."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Tim Graham/Getty; Tim Graham/AP; Kim Knott/Retna; Lionel Cherruault/Sipa; John Stillwell/AP; Richard Gillard/Camera Press/Retna; AP