THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY

Radar magazine investigates the louche life of England’s skirt-chasing, hard-partying royal pain

Radar’s September cover story, an insider account of the turbulent life of England’s 22-year-old pin-up prince, reveals the details of Harry’s rowdy lifestyle and his military career. As a second lieutenant in Britain’s elite Blues and Royals unit, the prince was so desperate to join his regiment in Iraq that he threatened to quit the military if he wasn’t allowed to serve. When it was revealed that Al Qaeda had put a $500,000 bounty on his head, he even drew up a will dispersing his multi-million-dollar estate. But days before Harry was to ship out to Iraq, Sir Richard Dannatt, who heads up the British Army, personally phoned the prince to inform him that his six-month deployment had been canceled. On the night his regiment flew to Iraq, a dejected Harry partied at the Syndicate, a Bristol club renowned for its Ecstasy-fueled fetes. In the following excerpt, Radar examines Harry’s party-boy antics.

Spend any time near Prince Harry in a social setting and it’s easy to see where his “wild child” reputation comes from. He annually attends the nightclub Chinawhite’s Rock the Polo tent party—held for 3,000 revelers in late July after the Cartier International Polo event at Windsor Park—looking like Jeff Spicoli in an Evelyn Waugh novel. Three years ago, dressed in his Maxim-approved attire of jeans and a baseball cap, he chucked Red Bull cans at his friends, screamed along to the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right,” then mounted a platform to kiss a girl who was celebrating her bachelorette party. And Harry was so exhausted at the end of another event that he wound up slumped on a 20-foot pile of water bottles in the VIP area.

A close friend of Harry’s says the prince was ordered to clean up his act earlier in the year by senior royal courtiers and army superiors in his Blues and Royals regiment. “They got fed up at the number of late-night confrontations he was having with photographers outside Boujis,” the friend says, recalling a particularly bad night in March when a ruddy-faced Harry lashed out at a cameraman before stumbling into a gutter outside the nightclub.

Indeed, according to a source with contacts in the royal protection forces, Harry’s bodyguards spend much of their time intercepting bar patrons they suspect of trying to push ecstasy on the prince. In an attempt to prevent embarrassing incidents from turning up in the papers, the boys’ minders have been instructed not to inform police of drug use among the princes’ friends. But more than just image is at stake. Harry’s behavior “poses a security nightmare, frankly,” a former head of the Royal Protection Squad told the Express in April. “We already know that people plotting bombs have singled out nightclubs.” This last statement was thrown into high relief with the discovery of car bombs in a London nightclub district in July.

Harry’s response to the scolding seems to have been to choose his nightspots more carefully. Boujis, a grimy basement venue opposite the South Kensington tube station, is out of favor. These days the royal posse is likely to be found at Mahiki, a kitschy watering hole where one of the princes’ most loyal friends, Guy Pelly, serves as marketing manager. Mahiki’s trademark drink, the Treasure Chest, is a $200 concoction of brandy, peach liqueur, and champagne meant for a party of eight; Harry has been known to down one by himself in a single sitting. He has also become a regular at Azteca, where the royal party usually occupies a special box right under the DJ booth.

In a typical night out, reports a source, the princes start with dinner at a friend’s, then hit Mahiki, entering through the back door Goodfellas-style, backed by a fleet of bodyguards. Their friends have to make do with the front entrance, though a special password allows them to bypass the assembled plebeians and avoid the cover charge. (On a recent evening, the magic word was “mole.”)

Last spring, Harry mostly socialized with the Gloucestershire polo set he met during stays at Highgrove. “One night in March,” says a friend, “he partied so late he missed his class reunion at Eton the next day.”