They say the measure of a man is ‘calculated’ by his actions throughout life. Prince Harry is proving, his measure as a man whether it is as soldier or son, patron or brother.
In 2005, Prince Harry entered the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. A year later, Officer Cadet Wales wash commissioned as a Cornet (second lieutenant) in the Blues and Royals, the British Army’s Household Cavalry regiment. Two years later, Harry was promoted to lieutenant.
In February 2007 it was announced by Clarence House and The Ministry of Defence that Harry would deploy with his regiment to Iraq. It is well-known that Lt Wales made it clear: “There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country.”
Unfortunately, Harry would not see his deployment come to fruition. He was considered a target as numerous threats were made on his life. It was decided this would not only put the Prince in harm’s way, but those around him would be placed in a possible perilous situation as well. It was well known that Harry was gutted not to have a chance to be part of the fight.
In June 2007, Harry was off to Canada to train with the British Army and Canadian Forces in Alberta. It was this training that allowed Harry to fulfill his wish to fight alongside his fellow soldiers. He secretly was deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan as a Forward Air Controller.
The tour had Harry become the first Royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle; Prince Andrew flew helicopters during the Falkland’s War. In 2008, Princess Anne presented Harry with an Operational Service Medal in at Combermere Barracks for his service.
In October 2008, it was revealed that Harry would follow his father, uncle and brother in learning to fly military helicopters. After passing the initial requirements, he went on to join William at Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury.
In May 2010 Harry was awarded his flying brevet (his wings) by Prince Charles at Army Air Corps Base (AAC), Middle Wallop. Harry was keen to fly the Apache and began training to achieve his dream of an Apache pilot.
In March 2011, Harry reached his goal and passed the Apache flying test and was conferred the Apache Flying Badge on 14 April 2011. Two days later, he was promoted to captain.
2011 would also see Harry begin his association with Walking With The Wounded. In 2011, Harry was the patron of the WWTW North Pole journey and participated for a few days with the team on their journey. He was unable to go on the full expedition as he was needed back home for the wedding of his brother and non sister-in-law Kate.
Clarence House announced in June 2011 that Harry was now available for deployment. In October, he went to California to complete his training in a helicopter gunship. Captain Wales took part in live fire exercise in California and Arizona during this time. In November, he returned to complete his training at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk.
Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan on 7 September 2012. He would be part of the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps where he would be a co-pilot and gunner on an Apache helicopter.
His time in Afghanistan saw numerous reports that the Taliban threatened to either kill or kidnap Harry.
After a 20-week deployment, an announcement was made on 21 January 2013 that Harry would be returning home.
Harry would return on a second expedition with WWTW in November 2013. Three teams raised money and were representatives for their respective charities. The United Kingdom for WWTW, Australia for Soldier On, the United States for Soldiers to Summits and Canada for Soldier on. Harry would led the UK team.
The Walking With the Wounded teams arrived at the South Pole on 13 December 2013 at 13:25 GMT after three grueling weeks of walking and sled pulling.
Temperatures on the 200-mile journey dropped to -45C along with blustery and sometimes rather dangerous wind conditions.
In January 2014, the MOD stated that Harry completed his attachments to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps and he would take on a staff officer role at the position of SO3 (Defence Engagement) in HQ London District.
This role would allow Harry the chance to create what has been the successful Invictus Games.
Based at Horse Guards Parade in London, Harry would be responsible for coordinating critical projects and events that involved the Army in London.
On 6 March 2014, Harry launched The Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women. The event was held from 10-14 September and was a resounding success.
The Invictus Games were organised with the backing and patronage of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. The event used the power of sport to encourage recovery and rehabilitation, as well as create a broader appreciation and respect of those who serve their country.
There is the line from the 1975 William Ernest Henley poem ‘Invictus’ that was part of the ‘I AM’ campaign during the games, but truly exemplifies who Prince Harry has become. ‘I am the captain of my soul; I am the master of my fate.’ You certainly are Prince Henry of Wales. Here’s to seeing what the next chapter brings.