Prince Harry has spoken out about his sense of duty learned during the military, days after a row about pictures taken on Remembrance Sunday.
The Duke of Sussex was disappointed when he was denied his wish for a wreath to be left on his behalf at the Cenotaph.
Instead he and his wife Meghan Markle were pictured paying their respects at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, but found themselves accused of staging “a publicity stunt”.
Now he has talked about how he “committed to a life of service” during his time in the Army, at a virtual Stand Up For Heroes event in the US.
In a recorded message he outlined the importance he placed on his 10 years in the military, which included two frontline tours to Afghanistan.
Harry said: “(My military) experience changed my life forever and for the better.
“It changed how I viewed sacrifice and service. I was born into a life of duty, but it was during my decade in the army that I committed to a life of service.”
He said he would always be part of the military team, and paid tribute to those he met while serving.
“My experience in the military made me who I am today – and it also connected me with some of the strongest, funniest and most memorable people I’ve ever met,” he said.
“Once we join this team, we are always part of this team. Once we’ve served, we are always serving, and proudly so.”
Harry and Meghan quit royal duties nearly nine months ago to pursue a life of personal and financial freedom in the US.
This meant his honorary military titles – 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 Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving – were put on hold following “Megxit”.
Harry is not allowed to take any particular role using those titles at present, but they have not yet been handed to other members of the royal family.
His role will be examined in March as part of the monarchy’s 12-month review of the Sussexes’ departure arrangements.
The Stand Up For Heroes comedy event helps raise money for military veterans in the US.
Hosted by Jon Stewart, the annual fundraiser is presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, and celebrities taking part include Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow and actor Ray Romano.
Harry, who set up the Invictus Games competition for injured servicemen and women in 2014, added: “I wanted to honour the legacy of these men and women who have given up so much – from time with family to birthdays missed and even births missed.
“Some lost their limbs and others lost their lives. It’s for that reason that I created the Invictus Games – to give injured servicemen and women a platform to excel and reaffirm their values of resilience, of community and strength, which are inherent in each and every one of us.”
He also spoke of the challenges people have faced during the global pandemic.
“For the whole world, this year has been and continues to be incredibly hard,” he said.
“But we’ve also seen incredible resilience and purpose. As far as I see it, service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos. It’s what happens when people aren’t looking and it’s about how we take care of each other every single day.”
The pictures at the LA memorial were taken by Lee Morgan, who specialises in fashion and celebrity portraits.
But those close to Harry said he was not the sort of person to make a stunt out of a Remembrance event, particularly having known fellow service personnel who died.
Last week, he also volunteered by helping to pack and distribute food parcels to military veterans and their families.