LONDON – Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, is revealed as an artistic and sporty teenager in a series of intimate photographs released Sunday to mark his departure from high school this week.
The photographs include shots of Harry, 18, relaxing in his study, posing in front of his own artwork, playing rugby and parading with his fellow military cadets at the exclusive Eton College at Windsor (search).
A snap of his desk shows a framed black and white photograph of his mother, the late Princess Diana (search), along with bikini-clad pinups, music posters and an Indian artwork hanging on the wall behind.
Another picture of the prince -- wearing a paint-spattered apron over his school uniform of white bow tie, black tailcoat and pinstripe trousers -- highlights two works of art by the teenager.
The abstract, Aboriginal-style paintings featuring lizard-like creatures have already been acclaimed by some critics as better than the watercolor efforts of his father, Prince Charles.
Harry's elder brother, Prince William (search), paid tribute to his sibling's artistic talent in a recent interview to mark his own 21st birthday.
"Harry can paint, but I can't," William said. "He has our father's talent while I, on the other hand, am about the biggest idiot on a piece of canvas."
Waldemar Januszczak, the Sunday Times art critic, said the paintings were "far more progressive, individualistic and interesting than his father's watercolors ... They are good examples of an adolescent imagination looking for meaning."
Other shots show the prince shining his military parade boots and joking around with a statue of a gorgon, a frightening female Greek spirit like Medusa, in the gardens of the college.
The photographs, splashed over Britain's newspapers Sunday, were released by the royal family on the eve of Harry's departure from Eton College.
The British media came to an informal agreement with Charles' office at St. James Palace following Diana's death in 1997 that both boys would be allowed to have as normal an education as possible.
But some tabloid newspapers have threatened to use snatched paparazzi photographs of both Harry and William if they are not given more access to the brothers.
Harry is expected to take a year off after completing his schooling, following the example of William who is now studying art history at Scotland's St. Andrew's University.
Press reports suggest that Harry will then follow the traditional royal route of serving time in the armed forces. He is reportedly considering joining the army and training at the prestigious Sandhurst academy.