Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent Veterans’ Day on an army base in New Jersey, enjoying lunch with service members and sharing stories of the mental health challenges of being in the armed forces.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who on Wednesday night dazzled at a gala honoring the military in Manhattan, on the Intrepid aircraft carrier – on Thursday traveled from New York to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
The site is the Department of Defense’s only tri-service base and is home to over 46,000 members of the armed forces and their families.
The duke and duchess hosted a luncheon with service members from all six branches of the military, and were pictured laughing over lunch and listening intently to a discussion.
Harry – who spent a decade in the British army until retiring in 2015, and completed two tours of Afghanistan – discussed the isolation service members often feel when returning home, and stressed the importance of supporting veterans.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen on Thursday visiting Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to mark Veterans’ Day
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, are seen listening intently as military personnel discuss their experiences
The couple ate lunch with the service members, with Harry beaming as he shared his stories of a decade in the British army
The group discussed their families, community, and the value of service, according to a spokesman for the couple
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look around the Intrepid Museum at the Salute to Freedom Gala on Wednesday night
A photograph supplied via Archewell showing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Intrepid Museum on Wednesday night
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at the Intrepid Museum in New York City last night
The couple wear red poppies on their outfits as a symbol of remembrance at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum last night
‘My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were,’ he said.
‘But in war, you also see and experience things you hope no one else has to.
‘These stay with us, sometimes like a slideshow of images.’
A spokesman for their charitable foundation, Archewell, said: ‘Throughout their visit, they discuss mental health, the value of community and living a life of service.’
The spokesman said the couple have ‘committed themselves to remembering, reflecting and honoring service members, veterans, and military families from around the world’.
Last year, the couple marked Veterans’ Day with a solo trip to the Los Angeles National Cemetery, laying flowers on the military graves.
2020 — To mark Remembrance Sunday in 2020, Harry and Meghan visited the Los Angeles National Cemetery
2019 — Prince Harry with his brother Prince William and uncle Prince Andrew at a Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London on November 10, 2019
2018 — Harry and his brother on November 11 in 2018 at the annual Remembrance Sunday commemoration in London
The year before, while he was still a serving member of the royal family, he attended a ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, as per tradition. On Sunday his grandmother the Queen, 95, will preside over the ceremony, despite being unwell for several weeks and urged by her doctors to rest.
Harry and Meghan left the United Kingdom in January 2020 and now call California home, having resigned from their roles.
As a result of their resignation, he is now banned from wearing military uniform after he was stripped of his honorary military titles. He was, however, allowed to pin his medals on his black tie suit at Wednesday night’s event.
Despite his decade of army service, the duke lost his titles of Captain General Royal Marines; Honorary Air Commandant, RAF Honington; and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.
Harry received the Golden Jubilee medal in 2002, the Operational Service medal for Afghanistan in 2018 after his frontline service in Helmand province and the received the Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.
2008 — Prince Harry is pictured in January 2008 in Helmand province in Afghanistan while serving with the British Army
2008 — Prince Harry eats his boil-in-the-bag lunch in the desert during his military deployment in Helmand Province in 2008
2012 — Known as Captain Wales, Prince Harry is pictured in November 2012 serving in southern Afghanistan
The couple’s trip to the East Coast – their second in two months, after a September visit to the UN and 9/11 memorial – came after Meghan apologized to the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday for failing to remember she told a royal aide to brief the authors of the Finding Freedom biography.
The duchess, who previously insisted she and Harry did not co-operate with the two writers of the gushing book, said she had ‘forgotten’ providing the aide details of what to reveal ‘when you sit down with them’.
The Mail on Sunday is seeking to defend itself against Meghan’s claims that it unlawfully breached her privacy by publishing extracts of a letter to her father Thomas Markle.