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c. 1986

The royal photocall: Harry and William as toddlers at play

Including their mother and the appearance of a helicopter

Not exactly Buckingham Palace.

The birth of a new member of the British Royal Family approaches fast, eagerly anticipated by editors everywhere. Soon-to-be new parents Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have said they wish to spend time privately with their child before the family of three encounters the world’s media for the first time.

But waiting the world’s media will indeed be, as it has been at every Royal event for which a photo opportunity could reasonably be held. And yet these opportunities exist in a strange half-world, one neither real nor unreal. The paradox is that in an attempt to capture the Royals at their most relaxed, they are placed in the most staged of environments surrounded by dozens, if not hundreds, of cameras.

However, the young Royals seem assertive about maintaining their own boundaries under scrutiny. Facing cameras is something with which Meghan is highly familiar, and for Harry’s part, the artificial photocall is something he has had to participate in since he himself was born—as these shots, taken in 1986 when he was almost two, testify.

Here, at the family’s Highgrove estate, on July 18, 1986, Harry and his brother William, then four, frolic in military uniform.  More precisely, they are wearing the uniforms of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment of which their father is the Colonel-in-Chief.

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Later, they anticipate the arrival of, and are whisked away in, a helicopter, accompanied by their mother, Princess Diana, then 25. Prince Charles puts in a brief appearance, in shirt and tie.

Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images
Tim Graham / Getty Images

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