Prince Harry ended his army career this week, after a decade of service.
It was announced that Captain Wales would be leaving the army in March, and it was a decision that Harry called ‘really tough’.
Kensington Palace released a statement:
‘The Prince has had a fulfilling military career and considers it a huge honour to have served his country in the armed forces, during which time he has undertaken two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan, qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander, spearheaded the Invictus Games and – most recently – undertaken an attachment with the Australian Defence Force.’
A few weeks ago, the 30-year-old said he supported the idea to bring back national service, because of the good that army-life has done for him, and described his decade with the Blues and Royals as ‘epic’.
‘I did it [joined the army] because since I was a kid I enjoyed wearing the combats, I enjoyed running around with a rifle, jumping in a ditch and living in the rain, and stuff.
‘But then when I grew up, it became more than that, it became an opportunity for me to escape the limelight.
‘I’ve had an epic 10 years, I’ve had great fun. The Army keep giving me great jobs, and I can never thank them enough for that,’ Harry said.
During his time with his grandmother’s armed forces, the Prince served on two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Beginning in 2007, Harry was a Forward Air Controller, but his cover was blown by foreign media, and for safety reasons, he was flown home; in September 2012, Captain Wales served as an Apache Pilot, leaving in January 2013.
The next step for Prince Harry is working in southern Africa on front-line conservation programmes; he is expected to fly out next week, and will spend time in Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana.
Harry’s work programme was developed in conjunction with conservation experts, including Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who lead London Zoo.
The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry supports conservation work, like that of Tusk Trust and the WWF.
The Prince’s time in Africa will also entail being ‘at the sharp end of wildlife protection’, joining rangers who respond to reports of poaching attacks on elephants and rhino, and spending time with vets and their cases, often trying to save animals after attacks.
Jonathan Baillie, director of conservation programmes at ZSL, said: ‘After this period, Prince Harry will be one of the best-informed ambassadors for the conservation community on what is really happening on the ground in Africa. His experience will be of great value.’
From the autumn, Harry will return to London, to work as a volunteer with a Personnel Recovery Unit, where he will help wounded soldiers with their rehabilitation. Such work has been important to the Prince, having spearheaded the Invictus Games in the UK, and having partaken in two ‘Walking with the Wounded’ challenges, to the North Pole in 2011, and to South Pole in November 2013. The fifth-in-line also plans to be part of ‘Walk of Britain’ for WWTW, a 1000-mile trek from Scotland to London in August.