Prince Harry shared his pride in his career and his hopes for the future as he confirmed on Monday that he is leaving the British Army in June.
In a statement, the prince – known as Capt. Harry Wales in the army – said he’s gone from “learning the hard way,” in training to facing “challenging jobs,” that included two tours in Afghanistan, and how his career is now at a crossroads.
“After a decade of service, moving on from the army has been a really tough decision,” he said. “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 Colour Sergeant at [military academy] 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. Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career.”
The royal drew praise from Gen. Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, who noted how Harry “has insisted on being treated the same as his peers,” and says that it was in the last two years that he got the “most pleasure and fulfillment” as he brought about the “extraordinary Invictus Games.”
The statement, issued by the prince’s office at Kensington Palace, confirms PEOPLE’s story last month that he was set to leave.
Before he ends his active army career, Harry is set to spend four weeks in April and May seconded to the Australian Defense Force, and will join his father Prince Charles, 66, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign by Australian and New Zealand troops in Turkey on April 24. Then, in May, he will undertake an official royal tour of New Zealand.
Harry’s set to return to his beloved continent of Africa – where he cofounded Sentebale, a charity set in Lesotho – to take part in voluntary work alongside field-based conservation experts. He will focus his time learning how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are working to protect and conserve their natural resources and wildlife, his office says.
Then, he will return (in a voluntary capacity) to work with the British Ministry of Defense’s Recovery Capability Program, where he has been working since January.
The prince’s office says he hopes to continue developing his knowledge of the “entire recovery process, placing him in an informed position to further support wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women into the future.”
Sir Carter touched on this when he said, in a statement, 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.”
For his part, Harry said he wants to ensure “the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last,” which took place in September. He also and notes that he is considering his options for the future and other longer term employment opportunities.
“While I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it.”