Prince Harry Reflects on His Military Service as He Celebrates Remembrance Sunday

Prince Harry
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The former royal served in the military for 10 years.

Prince Harry is honoring the lives lost and those who fought for his country on Remembrance Sunday.

The Duke of Sussex reflected on his military service while on the Declassified podcast's "Remembrance Special - The Military Community" episode, which was released on Saturday. Remembrance Sunday is celebrated in the U.K. as a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. It takes place on the second Sunday in November.

"Remembrance Day for me is a moment for respect and for hope. Respect for those who came before us and hope for a safer world. The act of remembering, of remembrance, is a profound act of honor," Harry began. "It's how we preserve the legacies of entire generations and show our gratitude for the sacrifices they made in order for us to be able to live the lives we live today."

He continued by explaining that he wears the poppy to "remember the two world wars, what our nations endured and the lives that were lost" and "recognize all those who have served; the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn't. The soldiers who were by my side in Afghanistan, those who had their lives changed forever, and those that didn't come home."

Harry then expressed that being able to wear his uniform and serve his country were among the "greatest honors" of his life.

"To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it's symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values. These values are put in action through service, and service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos," he continued. "It's what happens in the darkness, it’s what happens when people aren't looking. It’s what happens on and off the battlefield. It's about carrying out our duty as soldiers. For me as a father, a husband and as a human being, it’s about how we uphold these values in every aspect of our lives."

"And I've been fortunate enough to meet the most incredible veterans over the years, the banter with Chelsea pensioners to the veterans in the field remembrance, all the D Day vets, they all hold a really special place in my heart," Harry shared. "And with any of these guys it's like meeting mate. We may not have served together, but we stand together with a shared understanding."

He added that after serving 10 years in the military and gets asked about that period of his time, he draws "from what I remember and who I remember."

Harry served in the Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertaking two tours of duty in Afghanistan. His dedication to the armed forces has been clear in much of his professional work. His most noteworthy achievement for the veteran community is the creation of the Invictus Games, an athletic competition for wounded service men and women.

When Harry, and wife Meghan Markle, stepped down as senior members of the royal family, he lost his honorary military appointments, including Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations.

In the 2020 tell-all book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of the Modern Royal Family, royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that losing the military titles hit Harry the hardest.

“That’s been a tough pill to swallow, and one that has been the most painful for Meghan to witness him go through,” a source close to the couple said in the book. “It’s the one that made Harry emotional.”

Harry is quoted in the book talking to a major at an event, saying, “I am devastated that I am having to step down."

“It was so unnecessary,” Meghan reportedly told a friend of the decision to strip Harry of his military titles. “And it’s not just taking something away from him; it’s also the entire military veteran community. You can see how much he means to them, too. So why? The powers [of the institution] are unfortunately greater than me.” 

As a retired serviceman, Harry is still allowed to wear his medals. For the latest on Harry and Meghan, watch below.