Why Prince Harry's been wearing the same bracelet for decades

  • Prince Harry is rarely seen without his signature bracelets, as proven in his and Meghan Markle’s documentary

  • The Duke of Sussex has been wearing a silver bangle and a form of beaded bracelet for over 20 years

  • The first three episodes of their series, Harry & Meghan, dropped on Thursday

  • Keep reading to find out the sentimental history behind Harry’s jewellery choices

Prince Harry sentimental bracelets
Prince Harry wearing the bracelet during his wedding in 2018 and at a charity polo match in 2001. (Getty Images)

Whilst his style may have moved with the times over the past two decades, one accessory hasn’t changed at all for Prince Harry; he is rarely seen without the same two bracelets on his right wrist.

One bracelet, a silver bangle which features dark engraving, was first photographed on Harry in 2001. Both him and his older brother Prince William were seen cheering on their team members wearing almost-matching pieces of jewellery at a charity polo match.

Since, the silver bracelet Harry has been wearing on his wrist since he was a teen has barely left his side, and reportedly has sentimental value behind it.

Prince Harry (L) and Prince William applauding their opponents at a charity polo match in 2001
Prince Harry (L) and Prince William wearing similar bracelets at a charity polo match in 2001. (Getty Images)

It’s thought Harry first got the bracelet on a trip to Africa in 1997, shortly after the devastating death of his mother Princess Diana.

“I first came in 1997, straight after my mum died,” the prince revealed in a 2021 cover interview for Town & Country magazine. “My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags — we were going to Africa to get away from it all.”

Read more: The 12 biggest revelations from Harry and Meghan's tell-all Netflix documentary

Harry went on to explain that the trip to the continent, like many that followed, made him realise that Africa is where he feels more like himself “than anywhere in the world.”

“I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here,” the prince told the publication. “To not get recognised, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth people on the planet.”

Prince Harry sits in his room at Eton College
Prince Harry in his room at Eton College wearing the bracelets in 2003, with a picture of his mother, Diana, on his desk. (Getty Images)

It is on that trip that it is thought Harry and William both got the similar-looking bracelets. As his late mother Diana had made several humanitarian trips to the continent herself, it served as a reminder of her, and her work.

At 18 years old, Harry later took a trip to Lesotho in Southern Africa, which is featured in the Harry & Meghan documentary. It was there that he met Prince Seeiso, who hadn't long lost his own mother, and they quickly “became like brothers.”

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The ‘brothers’ founded Sentebale, which means ‘forget-me-not’ in the Sesotho language, in 2006 as a not-for-profit organisation helping meet the basic needs of children and young people with a strong focus on HIV and AIDS but like the late Princess Diana.

Prince Harry with Prince Charles during his visit to Africa in 1997 shortly after his mother died. (Getty Images)
Prince Harry with Prince Charles during his visit to Africa in 1997 shortly after his mother died. (Getty Images)

Harry revealed in the Netflix docuseries that he would visit Prince Seeiso annually and sometimes spent up to three months at a time away in the south African country.

“Lesotho gave me the space and the freedom to breathe, to live and to grow,” he reflects. “I've got a second family out there and a group of friends that literally brought me up.”

Read more: Meghan reveals why she didn't wear colour as a royal: 'I don’t want to embarrass the family'

In the 20 years since, Harry seems to have continued to wear the bracelet all the time, from public engagements, and even his May 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle, to most recently the personal interviews in the highly anticipated Netflix series which dropped on Thursday.

Harry’s other bracelet, however, does sometimes change. Nonetheless, it is always a beaded-style bracelet, often in different brown shades for more formal events, but can be in brighter colours when he’s ‘off-duty’.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the way to their wedding reception in 2018
Prince Harry wearing the bangle on the way to his wedding reception in 2018. (Getty Images)

During the start of his relationship with Meghan, when the pair were dating in secret, they fuelled rumours of a romance when they were both spotted wearing matching blue, beaded bracelets.

It wasn’t long after he whisked his now-wife to Botswana whereby they fell in love “under the stars”, as recalled in the six-part docuseries.

Perhaps each beaded bracelet is representative of a different trip, or time in his life? Despite recent intimate revelations about Prince Harry, I suspect this is one thing we’ll just never know.

Watch: New episodes of Harry and Meghan will explore conflict between 'a family and a family business'