Prince Harry’s service to injured troops would have made his mother proud

Monday 2 November 2015

Picture Credit: Twitter/@Daily_Express

It is somehow reassuring and deeply satisfying to see Prince Harry finding his niche in life. Not long ago he was being heavily criticised for leading a “pointless” existence after leaving the Army.

He was, predicted the carpers, going to “faff about” on sundry meaningless projects.

I thought at the time that this was deeply unfair. For starters, Harry had just completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and it is well known that he refused to be mollycoddled there and wished to be placed in harm’s way.

It’s not his fault he is the brother of our future king and the Queen’s grandson. Of course he had to be shielded and it’s to his credit that this reportedly genuinely frustrated him.

Since returning to civvy street Harry has thrown himself into working heart and soul for injured soldiers. This week he made a whirlwind visit to Washington to launch the 2016 Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for wounded servicemen and women.

It was Harry who got the whole thing going last year in the UK and already 15 countries have signed up for it.

By the time the event kicks off in Florida next May, 500 competitors from around the world will be scheduled to compete.

That’s quite an achievement for any 31-year-old to pull off. Some “faffing about”, eh? Harry met First Lady Michelle Obama this week at a US centre for soldiers being treated for physical and psychological issues.

Michelle was positively beaming as the Prince chatted to her while they watched a game of wheelchair basketball.

At one point it looked as if he’d talked her into throwing some hoops. It was impossible not to think of his late mother. Harry has clearly inherited Diana’s gift for drawing people out of themselves.

He went on to make a powerful and moving speech, concentrating on the need to talk openly about the terrible mental scars caused by experiencing the brutality and sheer terror of war.

Harry directly attacked the stigma that still hovers over the condition, it was as if he were going round a dark and stuffy room pulling back the curtains and throwing the windows open to let in the light and fresh air.

We met Harry this summer at a friend’s birthday party and he was funny, open and very quick on the draw.

Good-looking too. His mother would have been so proud of him.

Read Richard and Judy's Express column in full here.
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