While most royals can live comfortably for much of their lives, Prince Harry once risked his safety in a war zone. He famously fought in Afghanistan during his stint in the military, and Harry was extremely close to death, according to a royal author.
Prince Harry was in the military for several years
Instead of going to university as a young adult, Harry decided to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He trained there for a year before joining the Blues and Royals regiment in the British Army.
Harry was adamant about joining his peers on the front line of conflicts. In 2007, he was secretly deployed to Afghanistan, where he helped fight Taliban insurgents as a forward air controller. After 10 weeks, he had to return to the United Kingdom because a news outlet leaked information about his work in Afghanistan.
Harry went back to the front line in 2012 as an Apache Helicopter pilot. Although the Taliban publicly threatened to harm him, Harry was able to be in Afghanistan for 20 weeks.
Prince Harry was ‘inches from death’ during his time in Afghanistan
While many people are aware that Harry spent time in a war zone, not a lot of folks know just how close he was to death. According to Captain Dickon Leigh-Wood, who worked alongside Harry in Afghanistan, there was one time when the prince almost set off an explosive device.
“We were driving to another village when we almost drove over an IED,” he told author Katie Nicholl in the book Harry: Life, Loss, and Love (per InStyle). “It was a much closer shave than the first time. One of the vehicles in the column suddenly noticed something flick underneath the tank in front and everyone was ordered to stop.”
Captain Leigh-Wood added, “We discovered that the pressure plate of an IED that the previous vehicles, including Harry’s, had missed by about six inches. If any of the tanks had gone over it, it would have been game over for Harry, for any one of us.”
Nicholl noted that she was “completely bowled over” by how much of a “huge risk” Harry took to be on the front line during his military career.
“This is a young man who has always been shadowed by protection officers, and he didn’t have any protection when he was out in the field of Afghanistan and fighting on the front line,” Nicholl said. “It was him and his men.”
Prince Harry looks back on his military days with fond memories
Harry often spoke positively about his time in the military. For example, he told The Guardian 2013 that he never felt he was different from his fellow soldiers.
“It’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army,” he said. “Everyone’s wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing.”
Harry left the military in 2015. Since then, he has done work to help veterans and their families. Most notably, he launched Invictus Games and is now working on a Netflix docu-series about the project.
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