Prince Harry has shared a video message to offer his support to military veterans taking part in a gruelling challenge for the armed forces charity Walking With The Wounded.
The charity has launched its latest expedition, The Walk of Oman, which will see a team of ex-service personnel trek 400km across the country, including part of the world’s largest sand desert.
Trekking around 20km to 22km per day, the team will endure temperatures as high as 95°F as they pull their custom-built cart, weighing in excess of 300kg, across the unforgiving Omani desert.
The tanned Duke of Sussex, 35, appears to have filmed the video from Tyler Perry’s mansion in Los Angeles – where he is currently residing with wife Meghan Markle, 38, and son Archie – at the same time he recorded an emotional virtual message for England Rugby fans this week, as he is wearing the same white polo shirt and black necklace.
He said: ‘At the end of this year, a year that has seen unprecedented global challenges, a group of veterans will be tackling a challenge unlike anything they’ve faced before.
Harry has been involved with Walking With The Wounded for several years. He previously joined military veterans for a 1,000-mile walk of Britain in 2015 (above)
‘Facing searing temperatures and pulling a cart that weighs more than three times their own bodyweight, these veterans will need to summon incredible physical and mental strength.
‘I am proud to once again support them and support the veterans whose courage, determination and resilience is a credit to all of us who have served. To the men and women selected for this team, good luck! I know people all over the world will be cheering you on.’
The Duke has previously supported the charity by going on an expedition to the North Pole in 2011 and trekking across the South Pole with 12 injured servicemen in 2013.
He also joined wounded veterans for a 1,000-mile walk of Britain in 2015.
The tanned Duke of Sussex, 35, appears to have filmed the video from Tyler Perry’s mansion in Los Angeles – where he is currently residing with wife Meghan Markle, 38, and son Archie – at the same time he recorded an emotional virtual message for England Rugby fans this week, as he is wearing the same white polo shirt and black necklace
In partnership with the Omani Armed Forces and with support from the Royal Office of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, the ambitious trek pays homage to the legendary travels Wilfred Thesiger took across the Arabian Peninsula in the 1940s.
Starting on November 20 this year and ending December 11, the walk will also take the team across part of the Empty Quarter— the world’s largest sand desert, before bringing the arduous trek to a close on Oman’s Armed Forces Day.
Dominic Reid OBE, CEO of The Invictus Games Foundation, commented: ‘The Invictus Games Foundation is proud to lend its support to Walking with the Wounded and the Walk of Oman.
‘This walk not only shares a patron with the foundation, it shares its goals in supporting those injured in service. We look forward to helping establish further international endeavours in the future.’
Prince Harry joins six former military soldiers as they undertake The Walk of Britain covering over 1000 miles from John O’Groats to Buckingham Palace in 2015
Harry also joined a Walking With The Wounded team on an expedition to the North Pole in 2011
Ed Parker, CEO of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW), added: ‘The charity has tackled the North and South Poles, walked the length of Britain and crossed the USA.
‘The Oman expedition creates a new challenge and sense of adventure. We are honoured to be walking across the Omani desert, a country so closely aligned in many areas with the UK, particularly with our military.
‘The desert and intense heat of the Middle East is one environment we have not yet faced.
‘Oman was chosen because of the very close ties between our two nations. The UK supported His Majesty Sultan Qaboos during the Dhofar Conflict in 1972 and the UK and Omani military continue to train closely with one another today.
‘Our aims, as before, are to raise and maintain awareness of the challenges many face in the wider military community. The funds raised will support WWTW’s existing programmes – supporting those ex-service men and women who have struggled since they left the Armed Forces.’
To mark the charity’s tenth birthday earlier this year, Prince Harry shared a series of photographs of him supporting them on the now defunct SussexRoyal Instagram
The team of ex-service personnel, all of whom have physical or cognitive injuries, will endure hunger, thirst and extreme temperatures to highlight the extraordinary courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded while serving their countries and to draw attention to the support needed in their transition to civilian life.
Due to the hostile conditions and the nature of the injuries involved, the expedition teams will be followed by a support team, who will be on hand in case of emergencies.
Before the final team is revealed, they will undergo a rigorous selection process in July to test both their physical and mental strength before preparing for this extraordinary challenge in the Middle East. Details of the selection process and expedition team will be revealed in the next couple of months.
To mark the charity’s tenth birthday earlier this year, Prince Harry shared a series of photographs of him supporting them on the now defunct SussexRoyal Instagram.
The post read: ‘Wishing a very happy 10th birthday to Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity, staff and everyone who has played their part in supporting injured British Armed Forces servicemen and women over the last decade!
After training at Sandhurst, Harry was commissioned as an officer in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals in April 2006. Pictured: Harry visits West Point Military Academy in New York in June 2010 (left) and with his regiment The Blue and Royals at a Remembrance Sunday parade in Windsor in November 2007 (right)
‘The Duke of Sussex, who has played a significant part in the impact made by WWTW, has been able to see first-hand the resilience and strength of those men and women who were injured in service to their country.
‘The Duke has worked hard to raise awareness over the years, including an expedition to the North Pole in 2011, trekking across the South Pole with 12 injured servicemen from the UK, the US and the Commonwealth in 2013, and joining wounded veterans for their incredible 1,000-mile walk of Britain in 2015!
‘Established in 2010, @SupportTheWalk has created pathways for vulnerable veterans to re-integrate back into society and keep their independence – focusing on those facing the toughest challenges since leaving the military.
Prince Harry’s latest video message in full
At the end of this year, a year that has seen unprecedented global challenges, a group of veterans will be tackling a challenge unlike anything that they’ve done before. In just 21 days they will be trekking 400km across Oman, including part of the world’s largest sand desert.
Facing searing temperatures and pulling a cart that weighs more than three times their own body weight, these veterans will need to summon incredible physical and mental strength.
For more than a decade, Walking With The Wounded has supported veterans who have faced physical and mental injuries, all who have been socially disadvantaged because of their service.
I am proud to once again support them and support the veterans whose determination, courage and resilience is a credit to all of us who have served.
To the men and women selected for this team, good luck, I know people all over the world will be cheering you on.
‘Offering assistance through programmes to those who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assist them through new sustainable careers.
‘The outcome of the remarkable work over the past 10 years? Sustainable employment, and independence for thousands of veterans and their families.’
After training at Sandhurst, Harry was commissioned as an officer in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals in April 2006.
During his ten years in the Army, he undertook two operational tours of Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache helicopter commander.
His second tour of Helmand, in 2012, is believed to be one of the few times in his life that the Prince truly found contentment away from the restrictions and pressures of Royal life.
Known as ‘Captain Wales’ by his comrades, he proudly told one fellow soldier: ‘I’ve got the best of both worlds. I get to do all this. I can fly helicopters. I can shine a spotlight on the work I want to do.’
It was the Army which offered Harry his first taste of life away from being a royal.
Harry’s military career ended in June 2015 but he has remained a passionate supporter of the Armed Forces and was handed a number of ceremonial military titles.
He said at the time: ‘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.’
His highest profile military title is as Captain General of the Royal Marines, a role he was handed by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.
As the ceremonial head of the elite unit, Harry is entitled to wear the uniform and insignia equivalent to a Field Marshal.
His two-year association compares with the 64-year term of his grandfather.
Earlier this year Harry was stripped of his military titles and patronages when he and former actress Meghan stepped down as a senior members of the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently signed a deal with New York-based Harry Walker which describes itself as ‘the world’s leading speaker’s bureau’ and counts the Obamas, Jane Goodall and Oprah Winfrey among the A-list talent on its roster.