LONDON – After nearly a decade with the British military, he has announced in a statement that he is leaving the armed forces.
“Moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision,” he said in a statement released Tuesday. “I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process. …[T]he experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Prince Harry was deployed to Afghanistan in his role as an Army helicopter pilot, the UK military announced on September 7, 2012.
“Captain Harry Wales,” as he is known, from his official title and name of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, began his formal military duties in 2005 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana seemed to thrive in a military setting. He managed to curb his wild ways (for the most part), served two tours in Afghanistan and achieved the rank of captain in 2011. He has also qualified as an Apache Aircraft commander.
Prince Harry does have a few more responsibilities before he returns to civilian life. He’ll spend the last two months of his operational service attached to Australian Defence Force units in Darwin, Perth and Sydney.
“We have prepared a challenging program that will see Captain Wales deploy on urban and field training exercises, domestic deployments, as well as participate in Indigenous engagement activities,” said Air Chief Marshal Mark Binski of the Australian Defence Force. “While all our units are highly capable, we have selected those units that best utilise Captain Wales’ skill sets and give him some experience of the diverse range of capability we have within the ADF.”
Work with wounded soldiers will prepare the prince for the position he will take up in August. He will work in a volunteer capacity with the Ministry of Defence’s Recovery Capability Programme and the London District Personnel Recovery Unit. Both groups assist wounded or sick soldiers either return to duty or transition to civilian life.
“Wounded warriors” are a special interest for Prince Harry. He helped spearhead and continues to champion the Invictus Games, a competition for former military personnel who have been wounded in the line of duty.
Prince Harry will still have royal duties to attend to while he is finishing his military service. He will accompany his brother, William, on a trip to Turkey at the end of April, for commemorations marking the battle of Gallipoli. And he will undertake an official Royal tour of New Zealand in May, after his service with the Australian Defence Force is complete.
“This is a big, bold step for Prince Harry,” said CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster. “The military provided him with an escape from public life. He thrived being ‘just one of the guys.’ But, as I understand it, he feels he’s reached a natural crossroads in his career. The next steps would be staff college and desk jobs and that’s not for him. He’s passionate about the military, though, and I don’t think will ever lose that connection.” – CNN