Prince Harry turns 30 with a beer – and millions


Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday Monday with a beer after the closing concert of his inaugural multi-sport event for wounded troops, and in the knowledge he will now receive a fortune from his late mother Diana's estate.

Harry, fourth in line to the British throne, can put his feet up after organising the four-day Invictus Games for injured veterans, which was deemed a success.

As the Games closed, 26 000 revellers chanted the prince's name.

As he enters his fourth decade, a beer for Harry these days is more likely the reward for a job well done rather than a prelude to the sort of high jinks that had senior royals cringing when he was in his early 20s.

'We're really looking forward to being 30, both feeling quite old about it'

But there is still an element of royal rebel about Prince Henry of Wales -- it is hard to imagine too many members of the House of Windsor appearing on stage at a rock concert in a fleece jacket and jeans, launching a Mexican wave and embracing long-haired rockers as Harry did Sunday.

An army captain who served two tours in Afghanistan, Harry has taken the cause of wounded service personnel to his heart and said a successful Games would be his birthday celebration.

The ginger-haired prince is still a bachelor after breaking up with girlfriend Cressida Bonas in April, though the society beauty was spotted in the crowd at the concert lending her support.

Anticipating the birthday milestone, Harry said: "On the birthday side of things, I'll be chuffed to bits when I'm having a beer with Dave Henson, captain of the Team GB team -- we turn 30 at exactly the same time, on Sunday night.

"We're really looking forward to being 30, both feeling quite old about it."

He said he would feel a sense of mission accomplished when the 400-plus competitors from 13 nations were taking their flights home Monday with smiles on their faces.

"It kept me out of the office, kept me off a desk job," he told BBC television.

After the strains of flying Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan in 2012-2013, Harry's job now is to organise commemorative army events in London.

The younger son of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and the late Diana, princess of Wales, Harry will be pushed further down the line of succession next year by the birth of his elder brother Prince William's second child.

Turning 30 means Harry is entitled to the inheritance left to him by his mother, who was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997. It is estimated to be worth £10.7 million ($17.4 million, R 191.7 million).

William and Harry also now inherit Diana's wedding dress and other personal items that have been held in trust by her brother Earl Charles Spencer.

The Invictus Games saw wounded warriors do battle across nine sports on the Olympic Park in London, scene of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The closing concert was headlined by the Foo Fighters, backed up by the Kaiser Chiefs, Bryan Adams and former army captain James Blunt.

Harry set off a Mexican wave, saying "Always wanted to do that," and read a message from "granny" -- Queen Elizabeth II -- praising the courage and determination of the competitors.

The prince has suggested the event could be staged again in Britain next year, before moving to the United States in 2016 and Canada the following year.

Glancing at his notes as the crowd chanted his name, he said: "It says here: crowd surf, question mark?" before shaking his head with a cheeky grin and introducing the Foo Fighters.

Lawrence Dallaglio, the World Cup-winning former England rugby union captain who presented the Games' peer-voted award for greatest effort, backed plans to keep the event going.

It's been an amazing few days. All credit to Prince Harry and all the team that got behind it," he told AFP.

"It's hopefully something that's here to stay.

- Robin Millard


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