Prince Harry wearing green beret
Prince Harry wearing the green beret in 2019 (Picture: MOD).
Prince Harry

Prince Harry: His military career and connections

The Duke of Sussex has strong connections to the military community and founded the Invictus Games in 2014.

Prince Harry wearing green beret
Prince Harry wearing the green beret in 2019 (Picture: MOD).

Prince Harry has a close connection to the Armed Forces and the veteran community. 

He served in the Army for 10 years, undertaking two tours of Afghanistan and rising to the rank of captain.

The Prince also founded the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.

Former military titles and patronages

After the decision taken by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to stand down as senior members of the Royal Family, Prince Harry returned Royal patronages and honorary military appointments to the Queen.

In February 2021, it was confirmed Prince Harry had returned the following military appointments to the Queen:

  • Captain General Royal Marines
  • Honorary Air Commandant, RAF Honington
  • Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command

Prince Harry received promotions in all three services, in June 2018, becoming a major in the British Army, lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.

However, Harry has now lost the honorary Navy and RAF ranks.

The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General Royal Marines in December 2017, succeeding his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in the role.

That role was one of the three military appointments he returned to the Queen. 

Prince Harry during Spartan armoured vehicle training at Bovington
Prince Harry during Spartan armoured vehicle training in 2006 (Picture: MOD).

Prince Harry's military career

During Prince Harry's 10 years in the Army, he undertook two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander.

Passing his Regular Commissions Board (RCB), the qualification necessary to train at Sandhurst, in September 2004, Prince Harry entered RMAS in May 2005 to begin 44 weeks of Officer Cadet training.

In January 2006, Clarence House announced he was to join the Blues and Royals, after which he was commissioned as an Army officer on 12 April that year.

In 2007, the Prince was deployed to Afghanistan for 10 weeks, working as a forward air controller, co-ordinating airstrikes on Taliban positions.

However, his tour ended early following reports in the international media of his whereabouts.

On 25 February 2008, it was made known Prince Harry had been serving with the Army in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, for more than two months.

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant with the Household Cavalry on 13 April 2008.

The Duke of Sussex then retrained as an Apache pilot in the Army Air Corps and returned to Afghanistan in 2012 as a helicopter co-pilot and gunner.

His decision to leave the Army was confirmed in March 2015.

Prince Harry ended his military career at the rank of Captain in June 2015, following a secondment to the Australian military.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, the then-Chief of the General Staff, said that Prince Harry had "achieved much in his 10 years as a soldier".

"He has been at the forefront throughout his service," he said.

Prince Harry at the closing ceremony in The Hague
The Duke of Sussex during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in The Hague in April 2022 (Picture: DPPA/Sipa USA/Alamy Stock Photo).

The Invictus Games 

Prince Harry is also the founder of the Invictus Games – the competition for injured, sick and wounded Armed Forces personnel and veterans which he established in 2014.

It was also the setting for the Duke and Duchess' first public appearance together as a couple when they attended the 2017 competition in Toronto. The couple married the following year – on 19 May 2018.

Harry continues in his role as patron of the Invictus Games Foundation.