Prince Harry at Sandhurst

Prince Harry Makes A Triumphant Return To Sandhurst

He made the visit 11 years after graduating as an officer from the prestigious military academy...

Prince Harry at Sandhurst

Prince Harry has returned to his former Army training academy, Sandhurst, to inspect the newest batch of officer recruits.

He made the visit 11 years after graduating as an officer from the prestigious institution.

The Prince is representing the Queen at the historic Sovereign's Parade and had the key role of handing out awards to the four top officer cadets.

Ahead of the inspection, he attended the commissioning service at the Royal Memorial Chapel.

The Sovereign's Parade takes place at the end of each term for those who have completed the year-long commissioning course.

Prince Harry saw 201 commissioning officers pass out at the parade ground in Camberley, Surrey.

He joked that his mind then had been focussed on the challenges of the military parade rather than his achievement in becoming an officer.

He said: "It is not the first time that I have been a part of this parade but it is certainly my first one facing in this direction - and with facial hair!

"A little over 11 years ago, I was stood where you are today.

"Although I confess, I don't remember any deep thoughts of duty, responsibility and leadership at that point.

"My head was filled with much more immediate concerns: numb feet, the buckle of my braces digging into my collarbone, a burning in my arm from the weight of the rifle; and above all, desperate attempts to remember what the next words of command were, to avoid drawing the attention from the Academy sergeant major one last time!"

Prince Harry at Sandhurst

Following the traditional inspection, Harry presented the Sword of Honour to Senior Under Officer Charles Rex, from Dorset, and the Queen's Medal to Officer Cadet George Harrison from Wiltshire.

The International Award was presented to Officer Cadet Mingdong Tang from China, and the International Sword to Officer Cadet Milosh Trendevski from Macedonia.

Senior Under Officer Rex said it had been "amazing" to have Harry, who left the army in 2015, present him with the top award.

The 23-year-old, who will now join The Rifles, said:

"I can't really describe it. To get the Sword of Honour and to have Prince Harry here today is amazing.

"He knows what it is like to be here at Sandhurst."

Harry appeared impressed by a painting of himself and other members of the royal family at his own passing out, which hangs just inside the entrance of the Old College building.

The Prince was inspected by his grandmother the Queen, during his own commissioning in April 2006 and was pictured grinning as she smiled at him.

Sandhurst, where the Army's officers are trained, has hosted many famous graduates including Sir Winston Churchill, fascist Sir Oswald Mosley and James Bond author Ian Fleming.

Of course, it has also seen many members of the Royal Family pass through its gates, including the Duke of Cambridge.

Harry has previously described his decade-long Army career as "epic", saying that while it had started as a boyhood dream of his it eventually became a way for him to "escape the limelight".

During his 10 years in the military, Harry went on two tours of duty to Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache aircraft commander.

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