The Year Prince Harry Shook the Royal Family–and What’s Next for Him and Meghan Markle

“Oh God, it’s a boy! And he’s even got red hair.”

So Prince Harry, one of the most famous gingers of our time, was welcomed into the world by his father, Prince Charleswho, according to the late Princess Diana, was hoping that their second child would be a girl. (Meanwhile, “rusty hair” is how dad is quoted in Sally Bedell Smith’s Prince Charles.)

Father and son have happily put their initial awkward meeting behind them, becoming quite close over the years. But Harry wasn’t finished startling the royal family just yet.

Harry, who celebrates his 34th birthday today, did end up being the more troublesome of Charles and Diana’s two sons. Perhaps he knew from an early age that not as much was required of the “spare heir” as was required of an almost certain future king, such as his older brother, Prince William. Decorum is always preferred under the queen’s roof—her roof being all of the United Kingdom—but hey, boys will be boys.

But while being an undistinguished student and carousing naked in Vegas proved how “normal” he was, only in recent years did Harry feel ready to wear his heart on his sleeve—and thereby re-elevate himself to a lofty level in the country that has always loved him, and loved to pick on him (with good reason at times).