Prince Harry in Washington D.C.: Handsome Royal Is All Smiles With Michelle …

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Ladies, Prince Harry Is Here!’ Declares First Lady Michelle Obama.

FORT BELVOIR, Va. As Prince Harry embarks this week upon his latest trip to the United States, the fact remains that the American public generally perceive him as the Playboy Prince, a rampaging royal party animal with a lifestyle that dreams are made of.

— Britain’s Prince Harry is checking out the art and music therapy programs at a Virginia military base, where he is helping to draw attention to programs that help injured service members. Jill Biden and scores of veterans. “I am in no doubt that my two deployments to Afghanistan changed the direction of my life,” he said, noting that he had flown home from the war zone with the bodies of his fallen comrades. “Returning to the UK after my first deployment, I shared the flight home with three critically injured British soldiers, all in induced comas, and the body of a Danish soldier, killed in action.

Now 31, Harry, fifth in line to the British throne and dropping fast after the arrival of his brother Prince William’s two children, is very much a sportsman, and not just because he had the stamina to party with swimming star Ryan Lochte a couple of years ago and counts Usain Bolt among his pals. The prince was so impressed with the jazz and blues coming from a drums-and-keyboard duo that he joked, “If I played an instrument, I’d join the band.” Harry was accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president.

It hit me then that this flight was one of many, carrying home men and women whose lives would be changed forever, and some who had made the ultimate sacrifice. “From that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to help all veterans, who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries, to lead healthy and dignified lives after service,” he said. Harry’s first stop, though, is Fort Belvoir in suburban Virginia, where his visit will include stopping by art therapy and music rooms for the troops, and observing wheelchair basketball. No, it is because the formerly roguish royal has used the sheer power of his personality and connections to put together the Invictus Games, an Olympics-style event for wounded members of the armed forces.

Prince Harry caused a stir when he visited the US in 2013 – screaming staffers at the White House made for a memorable spectacle – and Harry is back in USA today, for one day only, to promote the 2016 Invictus Games for wounded servicemen. The appearance came two days after he joined brother Prince William and sister-in-law Princess Kate at the glittery premiere of the new James Bond film, Spectre, in London on Monday. The former British Army captain, who completed two tours in Afghanistan, is in the U.S. for a whirlwind visit to promote his Invictus Games, which are set to take place next May in Orlando.

After his brief remarks, Harry is expected to meet with wounded warriors at Fort Belvoir, followed by a reception in his honor at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. But it means more when the commitment is personal and all-encompassing. “It was almost surreal at the last Games,” Mickaela Richards, 27, told USA TODAY Sports. “The events were at the Olympic Park and there was Harry, racing around on a bicycle, going from event to event. Organizing committee chief Ken Fisher is confident the competition will become a regular part of the international sports calendar, while providing a vital opportunity for wounded soldiers. “Harry really has a passion for improving the lives of these men and women,” Fisher said. “He knows the power of sports to heal and we strive to make this all about the competitors, their families and their journey.” There is little doubt America can expect a different Harry this time around. With William the future king of his nation, married these past four years and shouldering all the responsibility of a monarch in waiting, Harry was largely free to live it up.

Since his late teens, the English tabloids hungrily captured every snippet of his laddish lifestyle, portraying a roller-coaster ride of rubbing shoulders with famous faces and beautiful women. Participating in a 17-mile stretch of Walking with the Wounded’s Walk of Britain in September, Harry spoke with PEOPLE about his commitment to veterans. “What’s important is to recognize that the mental health support for these guys, former servicemen and women, is there,” he told PEOPLE. “They have served their country. On that 2012 trip he even raced against Lochte in a Vegas pool, both clad in designer jeans, at the end of the kind of night in Sin City that, let’s face it, you wish you were a part of. They have put their lives on the line for their country.” “Prince Harry actually helped me place my dog tag,” Ennis, who leaves memorial tags for her fallen comrades at stops along the walk, told PEOPLE. “He’s so understanding and really appreciated what I was doing. He still, by all accounts, enjoys a good time as much as anyone, but his greater passion now seems to be in making a difference, with sports as his vehicle for good.

They help bridge the gap that our injuries have created between us and society in many ways – which also brings people with disabilities closer to be able to solve their problems as a team instead of individually.

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