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Prince Harry to leave the Armed Forces

Published on 17th March 2015

Prince Harry is to leave the Armed Forces in June after ten years of full-time military service. 

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 and spearheaded the Invictus Games.

Before leaving operational service, Prince Harry will spend four weeks in April and May seconded to the Australian Defence Force, where he will be attached to various units to gain an appreciation of the Australian Army's domestic operating environment and capabilities. He is expected to spend time at Army Barracks in Darwin, Perth and Sydney where he will take part in a range of unit-based activities, training exercises and domestic deployments. 

During his attachment to the Australian Defence Force, Prince Harry will accompany The Prince of Wales in attending the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey on 24th and 25th April, travelling from Australia. Additionally, His Royal Highness will undertake an official Royal tour to New Zealand in May, at the invitation of the New Zealand Government. This will immediately follow his attachment to the Australian Defence Force. 

After completing his operational service with the Armed Forces in June, Prince Harry will spend a period of summer carrying out a programme of voluntary work alongside field-based conservation experts in Africa. He will focus his time learning how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are working to protect and conserve their natural resources and wildlife.

In Autumn, Prince Harry will return to work in a voluntary capacity with the Ministry of Defence's Recovery Capability Programme, while actively considering other longer term employment opportunities. Prince Harry will continue to support Case Officers at London District's Personnel Recovery Unit, working with both those who are administering and receiving physical and mental care within the London District area. This will enable him to continue developing his knowledge of the entire recovery process, placing him in an informed position to further support wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women into the future. 

His Royal Highness will continue to support the work of The Queen and the Royal Family through a programme of official engagements, both at home and overseas, in addition to his existing charitable responsibilities. 


In an open statement, Prince Harry explained his decision to leave the Armed Forces: 

"After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision.  I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process. From learning the hard way to stay onside with my Colour Sergeant at Sandhurst, to the incredible people I served with during two tours in Afghanistan - the experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful.

Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career. Luckily for me, I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life, helping where I can, and making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last.

I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities. Spending time with the Australian Defence Force will be incredible and I know I will learn a lot. I am also looking forward to coming back to London this summer to continue working at the Personnel Recovery Unit.

So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it."


General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, paid tribute to Prince Harry's military 

"Captain Harry Wales, as he is known affectionately in the Army, has achieved much in his ten years as a soldier. He has been at the forefront throughout his service. He has insisted on being treated the same as his peers. His first deployment with his Regiment, The Household Cavalry, to Helmand in 2008 was as a Forward Air Controller. This was a job that demanded skill, judgment and professionalism. Qualities he showed still further when he decided to transfer to the Army Air Corps. 

This led to his second tour in Helmand as an Apache helicopter pilot, where once again he was at the forefront of the operation, selflessly supporting those on the ground. 

However, it is probably his work during the past two years, which has brought him the most pleasure and fulfilment - the highlight being the extraordinary Invictus Games last year. And I am very pleased that his first taste of civilian life later this year will involve a new role in support of our injured servicemen and women. He has raised their profile through the care he has shown them and they admire him hugely.

In the meantime he is deploying to Australia to spend time on exchange with the Australian Army.  

These are important programmes with our allies and partners, which help build understanding and knowledge of each other’s capabilities, and further strengthen the close bonds between our armies.

We wish him the very best for the future, we thank him for his service, and we look forward to his continuing involvement with his regiments and with our wounded."


Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin also welcomed Prince Harry's attachment: 

"We have prepared a challenging program that will see Captain Wales deploy on urban and field training exercises, domestic deployments, as well as participate in Indigenous engagement activities. 

The attachment will also provide Captain Wales with an opportunity to gain greater insight into our Army’s domestic operating environment and capabilities.

While all our units are highly capable, we have selected those units that best utilise Captain Wales' skill sets and give him some experience of the diverse range of capability we have within the ADF. 

Importantly, we are pleased that Captain Wales will be able to see first hand the work the ADF is doing to support wounded, injured and ill members.

The British and Australian armies have a shared military history as well as a long and enduring association. Secondments, exchanges, bilateral training and professional development opportunities between our two armies are routine practice. Captain Wales’ embed with the Australian Army is an extension of his regular British Army duties. It will build on his previous experience with coalition forces along with his advocacy work with wounded, injured and ill service personnel.

It is also an opportunity for Australian Army personnel to learn from their British counterpart and I know our Diggers will welcome Captain Wales into the ranks when he arrives in Australia next month"


Notes to Editors


Prince Harry's Military Career

Prince Harry started his full-time military duties as an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Army Officer in April 2006, joining the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals), before undertaking his Troop Leaders Course.  

In late 2007/ early 2008 he deployed to Afghanistan as a Forward Air Controller.

In April 2008, Prince Harry was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with The Household Cavalry. 

Prince Harry began training as an Army Air Corps Pilot in January 2009. Following the completion of his Army Pilot's Course he was selected to train as an Apache Pilot. In July 2010, he began the 18-month Apache training course, during which he was awarded the prize for best Co-Pilot Gunner. He became a fully operational Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot in February 2012.

Prince Harry undertook an operational tour of Afghanistan as an Apache Pilot between September 2012 and January 2013.

In July 2013, he qualified as Apache Aircraft Commander.

In January 2014, Prince Harry completed his attachment to the Army Air Corps and transferred to a Staff Officer role in HQ London District, where he helped organise the Invictus Games and is currently working alongside Case Officers in the Personal Recovery Unit. 

The British and Australian Armies have a long association and a well-established programme of secondments, exchanges and bilateral training opportunities. Prince Harry's secondment will allow him to further develop his links with the Australian Army, in the same way he has with other nations' Armed Forces on previous training expeditions, through serving alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan and through the Invictus Games.  

Prince has been to Australia on two previous occasions: in 2013 to attend the International Fleet Review in Sydney and in 2003 as part of his gap year after completing his A-Levels. 

This will be Prince Harry's first visit to New Zealand.