While Duchess Meghan was celebrating the impending arrival of her and Prince Harry’s first child on Feb. 20, the dad-to-be paid a visit to a marine base in Bickleigh, England. Dressed in army fatigues, the Duke of Sussex and Captain General of the Royal Marines – a title he took over from his grandfather Prince Philip in 2017 – congratulated recruits on completing their marine training and a grueling mandatory 30-mile hike.
Kensington Palace took to Twitter to share some imagery of the event, showing the prince saluting recruits as they neared the end of their journey. Upon completion of their march, each marine was handed a green beret by the prince – a hat which symbolizes their shift from recruit to marine. “This is an enormous privilege for yourselves to get the green beret,” Harry told the troops. “I am fully aware how lucky I am to be wearing the green beret without doing what you’ve done.”
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 20, 2019
While at the base, Harry also watched a Joint Personnel Recovery demonstration where “Royal Marines disembark from a Merlin helicopter and simulate the rescue of an F35 pilot from the new HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier,” Peoplenoted.
Harry has long been a supporter of those who serve their country, having himself served in the Army for 10 years. During his time he completed two tours of Afghanistan and rose to the rank of Captain. He went on to create the Invictus Games, which “harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.”
At the 2017 launch of the event in Toronto – where his then-girlfriend Duchess Meghan joined him in public for the first time – he spoke passionately about supporting those in the military.
"I have long believed that individuals who wear the uniform are role models for society. Their families understand the true meaning of teamwork, respect, discipline and leadership," he said. "And in a world where this is often lacking, I bet the values by which service families live their lives and the example they set for others through these games, is having a profound effect on their communities and far beyond."
At the opening ceremonies, he went on to say: "Invictus is about the families and friends who faced the shock of learning that their loved ones had been injured or fallen ill – and then rallied to support them on their journey of recovery. And above all, Invictus is about the example to the world that all service men and women – injured or not – provide about the importance of service and duty."