Prince Harry tells veterans the military changed his view of ‘sacrifice and service’

The Duke of Sussex last night told veterans that his time in the Army meant he was "committed to a life of service"

He told a virtual Stand Up for Heroes gala in the US that it had changed his life "forever, and for the better,” making him who he is today.

The event was launched in 2007 by television reporter Bob Woodruff, who first met the Duke nearly a decade ago in Svalbard, Norway, ahead of a North Pole trek with wounded veterans.

In his video message, the Duke said that his experience with the military had altered how he viewed sacrifice and service.

“I was born into a life of duty, but it was during my decade in the army that I committed to a life of service,” he said.

“Once we join this team, we are always part of this team. Once we’ve served, we are always serving, and proudly so.”

Prince Harry at the Mountbatten Festival of Music in March

The Duke, 36, said he had created the Invictus Games to honour the legacy of those who had given up so much, “from time with family to birthdays missed and even births missed. Some lost their limbs and others lost their lives.”

He added: “My experience in the military made me who I am today – and it also connected me with some of the strongest, funniest, and most memorable people I’ve ever met.”

“For the whole world, this year has been and continues to be incredibly hard. But we’ve also seen incredible resilience and purpose. As far as I see it, service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos. It’s what happens when people aren’t looking and it’s about how we take care of each other every single day.”

The duke spent a decade in the forces and carried out two frontline tours to Afghanistan.

He lost his honorary military titles – including Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington – when he and the Duchess of Sussex stepped back from their roles as working royals.

Last week, the Duke spent time volunteering for a non-profit foundation providing Covid-19 support for veterans and their families in Compton, California.

Prince Harry volunteering in Compton, California

Credit: Walker Family Events Foundation

He joined volunteers to pack and distribute food parcels as part of an event organised by Compton Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Walker Family Events Foundation.

The Duke was left disappointed when his request to have a wreath placed on his behalf at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday was refused by Buckingham Palace.

He and the Duchess instead paid a visit to Los Angeles National Cemetery.

 

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