Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the eldest son of King Aerys II Targaryen and his sister-wife, Queen Rhaella. Born in 259AC, on the same day and location of the Tragedy of Summerhall, Rhaegar was always melancholic. Even though he was skilled in fighting and known to read obsessively, especially as a child, Rhaegar favoured playing his harp. Despite his private manner, Rhaegar was well loved by the smallfolk of Westeros.
Because Rhaegar had no sister when he reached the age of marriage, King Aerys arranged his wedding to Dornish Princess Elia Martell, a distant relative of House Targaryen. Rhaegar and Elia had two children during their marriage: Princess Rhaenys, born in 280AC, and Prince Aegon, born in 282AC.
In 281AC, the year of the false spring, Rhaegar caused a scandal at a Tourney at Harrenhal, where as the victor, he was allowed to chose the new Queen of Love and Beauty. Instead of crowning his own wife, who was present, he rode past her and crowned lady Lyanna Stark.
Tragedy struck his house again a year later, when shortly after the birth of Prince Aegon, Rhaegars heir, Rhaegar himself disappeared. Lady Lyanna Stark disappeared soon thereafter, and it was said that Prince Rhaegar had abducted her. Angered by the news, Lyanna's brother Brandon went to King's Landing, where he threatened Prince Rhaegars life. Though Rhaegar was not present, King Aerys ordered Brandons arrest, and had Brandon and his father killed, before demanding the heads of Lyanna's second brother and betrothed. This sparked Robert's Rebellion.
Though Rhaegar was missing for most of the war, he returned from the south to fight in the Battle of the Trident. He died there when Robert Baratheon defeated him in single combat.