Sunday 14 September 2014

Prince Harry At 30

There are three Prince Harrys. There is the army one: Captain Wales of the Blues and Royals, the Apache helicopter pilot with two tours of Afghanistan under his belt. There is the royal: a balcony-waving ambassador and walkabout veteran, currently fourth in line and "spare to the heir". Then there's the social Harry: pretty rich, very posh and immensely privileged.

At times the personas have got mixed up with calamitous results. "Too much army and not enough prince," he wryly acknowledged after camera phone pictures of him naked at a private booze-fuelled strip billiards party in Las Vegas, surfaced.

The Harry we have seen instead is the champion of wounded service personnel and energy behind the forthcoming Invictus Games for those physically and mentally scarred while serving Queen and country.

The role, which draws on his personal military experience and royal pulling power, is among the biggest challenges he has faced.

For the past seven months, while on sabbatical from his army desk job, the Invictus Games has been his main focus. "He is on top of all the detail," said Sir Keith Mills, chairman of the games, which are being held at the Olympic Park from 10-14 September. He has attended meetings, or taken calls, on an almost daily basis over seven months of games planning. "He has opened his contacts book," said Mills, describing him as "a terrific team member".

But what he has really been able to bring to the table is to remind the team, few of whom have experience of the military or the wounded, why they are doing this, and who they are doing it for.

"I can't imagine what it is like coming out of Afghanistan with your legs blown off. When you have experienced it close up as Prince Harry has, it has had a profound effect on him, no question," said Mills.

Read more: theguardian

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