Prince Harry paid tribute to Estonian defence forces who served alongside British soldiers in Afghanistan today as he began his two-day tour of Estonia.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of the capital Tallinn, waving Union Jacks, as Harry, wearing the unusual uniform of Number 1 Tropical Dress of the Blues and Royals, marched to the capital’s central Freedom Square accompanied by soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment.
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 16, 2014
Prince Harry laid a wreath at Freedom Square, with a signed handwritten note which read ‘In memory of all those who gave their lives for their country’. The wreath was laid at a monument honouring those killed during the Baltic nation’s 1918-20 war of independence.
Tonight, Prince Harry is due to attend a reception at the Estonian Parliament where he will meet MP’s and wounded veterans from Estonia’s Army units, which served primarily under British command during their 11 year deployment in Afghanistan. The last Estonian infantry company left the country last week.
Prince Harry served two tours in Afghanistan, partly as a helicopter pilot. Some of the veterans that the Prince is to meet are due to take part in the upcoming Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded servicemen and women that will take place in London in September.
On Saturday, Prince Harry’s final day in Estonia, he will observe NATO’s Spring Storm exercise. He will also meet military leaders and Estonian President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves before he departs for Estonia.
In Italy, Prince Harry will attend a number of events commemorating the Allied campaign in Italy during World War 2, focusing on the 70th anniversary of the Battles of Monte Cassino, laying a wreath to honour the fallen soldiers of Poland, New Zealand and Great Britain.
During the Italian trip, Prince Harry will also visit the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the original sixth century Benedictine monastery was destroyed during the battles in 1944, being rebuilt a decade later. Again Harry is scheduled to meet wounded soldiers due to take part in the Invictus Games.
The Italian leg of the tour will also take Prince Harry to Rome. Here he will attend an event at the Maxxi National Museum of Contemporary Arts and unveil the winning design for the UK pavilion at Milan Expo 2015.
This visit comes just a few days before Prince Harry’s father, The Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall embark on their 2014 Canadian tour.