Prince Harry admits feeling a little bit dark in secret call to Army veterans

Prince Harry gave a rare hint towards his own struggles with mental health during a surprise chat with disabled army veterans on Friday.

The royal surprised the group veterans with a call to congratulate them for taking part in a gruelling walking challenge to raise money for those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The Duke of Sussex praised the six former soldiers, all of whom suffer with mental or physical ailments, after they walked 300km in stages across the UK as part of The Grenadier Walk of Oman.

Organised by Walking with the Wounded – of which Prince Harry is patron – the trek was initially supposed to be carried out across the Omani desert, but the ex-service personnel instead did the walk in the UK after being held back by the pandemic.

The Duke didn't hold back in ringing the team from his home in Santa Barbara, USA to offer his words of encouragement, as they neared the finish line before completing their walk on Thursday.

He said: "Guys just remember, you have got to hold on to this moment, you have got to hold on to this feeling.

"Because it doesn't matter where you walk, or what you are doing.

"When inevitably we all end up feeling down, a little bit dark, in the weeks, months and years to come, you will remember back to this. Lean on this experience to pick yourselves up."

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In September 2020, the 37-year-old prince showed his support to soldiers at the official launch of The Walk of Oman, referring to the organisation as "family" and praising the "resilience, courage and talent that exists within those who have served".

During Harry's ten years in the Army, he went on two operational tours of Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache helicopter commander.

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In 2012, his second tour of Helmand is believed to be one of the few times that the Duke was truly content, away from the restrictions of life as a Royal.

He told one fellow soldier: "I've got the best of both worlds. I get to do all this. I can fly helicopters. I can shine a spotlight on the work I want to do."

Prince Harry's career in the military came to an end in 2015, but he has remained a passionate supporter of the Armed Forces and has been awarded with a number of ceremonial military titles.

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In 2017, he was handed the title of Captain General of the Royal Marines by the Queen, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.

His two-year association compares with the 64-year term of his late grandfather.

However, the Duke was stripped of his military titles and patronages when he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior members of the Royal Family.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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