Aside from the Duchess of Cambridge, no one has made a bigger impact on the royal family’s reputation than Prince Harry.
Captain Wales, as he was known in the armed forces, graduated from Sandhurst in 2006 and was deployed twice during his ten-year career to Afghanistan.
Since joining the army, Harry has been exposed to the casualties of war, and literally sat along side some who suffered life-altering injuries.
The exposure motivated Harry to bring awareness to his injured comrades. So, using his platform as a dashing royal bachelor, the prince joined forces with Walking With The Wounded, an organization that trains wounded vets for extreme treks.
In 2013, Harry joined a team to reach the South Pole; one of his mates even used his prosthetic leg as a champagne holder at the finish point.
“These people are role models and they need to be celebrated more among society,” Harry said. “Some of these guys should be dead.”
The inaugural games were held last September in London, and this year’s will take place from May 8th-12th in Orlando, Florida. The games have become so popular that 2017’s location (Toronto) has already been announced.
What inspired Harry to launch the games were the heartbreaking moments he witnessed on a plane back to England during his first tour of duty in 2009. A website had broken an embargo deal between the palace and the media while Harry was serving, for obvious safety reasons.
“I had done everything I could to get out there,” he told Roberts. “All I wanted to do was prove that I had a certain set of skills, let’s say, flying an Apache helicopter, for instance, rather than just being Prince Harry.”
As soon as his cover was blown, plans were in order to send Harry home.
“Literally being plucked out of my team, there was an element of me thinking ‘I’m an officer, I’m leaving my soldiers and it’s not my own decision.”
“I was broken. I didn’t know what was going to happen to them and then suddenly, I find myself on a plane that’s delayed because a Danish soldier’s coffin was being put onto the plane.”
While I’m sitting there, I look through the curtain in the front, and there’s three of our lads wrapped up in plastic, missing limbs,” Harry recalled.
“One of the guys clutching a little test tube or whatever it is of shrapnel that had been removed from his head and he was in a coma, clutching this thing.”
“And I suddenly thought to myself, ‘People don’t get to see this.’
“I never in those ten weeks, I never saw the injury part. I only heard about it. That’s how it all started for me.
Now, Harry has established himself as a champion for those who at one time felt helpless.
“Never before have we had so many amputees survive from such unbelievably traumatic injuries. I’m now lucky enough to watch someone who should be dead run the 100 meters.
“You want a definition of inspiration? That’s probably it.”