Prince Harry Leaving the Armed Forces After 10 Years of Military Service: What’s Next?

Prince Harry
Prince Harry, affectionately known as "Captain Harry Wales" by his fellow servicemen and women, is leaving the Armed Forces after 10 years of service -- find out what's up next. Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images

Over and out — and onward! After 10 years of full-time service with the Armed Forces, Prince Harry and Kensington Palace announced to Us Weekly on Monday, Mar. 16, that he is leaving.

"After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision," Prince Harry, 30, said in the release to Us. "I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process. From learning the hard way to stay onside with my Color Sergeant at Sandhurst, to the incredible people I served with during two tours in Afghanistan — the experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful."

Prince Harry started his military duties in 2005, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he was an Officer Cadet. One year later in April 2006, Prince Harry joined the Household Cavalry as an Army Officer. In 2007 to 2008, Harry was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as a Forward Air Controller. During that time, Princess Diana's youngest son proved himself and was promoted in April 2008 to the rank of Lieutenant.

In 2009, he trained with the air corps division, where he was picked to train as an Apache Pilot. Harry ultimately completed his training for the program and became an Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot in early 2012. He then went on his second tour of Afghanistan from September 2012 to January 2013.

Despite his many accomplishments, Prince Harry noted that it was time for him to move on. "Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career," Harry explained. "Luckily for me, I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life, helping where I can, and making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last."

According to Kensington Palace, Prince William's younger brother will spend April with the Australian Defense Force in Darwin, Perth, and Sydney, and is scheduled to join his father, Prince Charles, at the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey from April 24 to 25. Prince Harry will then complete the rest of his time with the Armed Forces by going on an official Royal tour to New Zealand in May.

After completing his tour, Harry will utilize part of his summer volunteering and working with field-based conservation experts in Africa. Kensington Palace noted that Prince Harry will focus on learning how sub-Sahara African communities are working to protect natural resources and wildlife.

Come fall, Prince Harry will continue volunteering, only this time back in London. The royal will help out at the Ministry of Defense's Recovery Capability Program in London, which works with those receiving physical and mental care. This will allow Harry to learn more about wounded and sick servicemen and women, which has weighed heavily on his heart and agenda, especially with the launch of the Invictus Games in the UK just one year ago. During this time, the handsome royal will consider "other longer term employment opportunities," the statement revealed.

The statement from Kensington Palace on Monday included a sweet message from his commander. "Captain Harry Wales, as he is known affectionately in the Army, has achieved much in his ten years as a soldier," General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Chief of the General Staff, said in Kensington Palace's release. "He has been at the forefront throughout his service. He has insisted on being treated the same as his peers."

"However, it is probably his work during the past two years, which has brought him the most pleasure and fulfilment — the highlight being the extraordinary Invictus Games last year," General Carter noted. "And I am very pleased that his first taste of civilian life later this year will involve a new role in support of our injured servicemen and women. He has raised their profile through the care he has shown them and they admire him hugely."

Harry concluded in his statement that he was looking forward to the unknown. "I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities," he said in the release. "Spending time with the Australian Defense Force will be incredible and I know I will learn a lot. I am also looking forward to coming back to London this summer to continue working at the Personal Recovery Unit. So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it."

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