Royals Why Prince Harry 'Promised' Himself He'd Be Out of the Army 'Before Having a Wife and Kids' "I couldn't imagine the heartache of being apart for so long during deployment," the Duke of Sussex tells PEOPLE By Michelle Tauber Michelle Tauber Twitter Michelle Tauber is the Senior Editor overseeing Royals coverage at PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines and Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 20, 2022 07:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Prince Harry recognizes the sacrifices made by service members — as well as their families. The current Invictus Games in The Netherlands, mark the first time the Duke of Sussex is attending as both a husband to Meghan Markle as well as a father to Archie, who turns 3 on May 6, and Lilibet, 10 months. "Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it," the Duke of Sussex tells PEOPLE in this week's exclusive cover story. "When I was in the Army, I promised myself I would be out before having a wife and kids, because I couldn't imagine the heartache of being apart for so long during deployment, the risk of possibly getting injured and the reality that my family's lives could be changed forever if that happened." For more on PEOPLE's cover story with Prince Harry, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. "Every member of the Invictus community has experienced varying degrees of these things. I have tremendous respect for what they and their families sacrifice in the name of service," he adds. "For the dads and mums who have served, and have been wounded or injured or fallen ill, there's nothing that compares to seeing them rediscover their ability to do whatever they put their minds to. There's nothing like seeing their kids watch proudly from the stands. It's a true inspiration and a deeply touching experience." The Prince Harry Interview — On Meghan, Fatherhood and How the Invictus Games Changed His Life Meghan Markle and Prince Harry hug Invictus Games athlete Lisa Johnston. Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Josh Smith, the Team U.S.A. cocaptain who first met Harry and Meghan at the 2018 Australia Games, shared time with them again in the Netherlands. "Being a father, there's an immediate connection that we share," Smith tells PEOPLE. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images Prince Harry's role as a fellow combat veteran — he served in the British Army for 10 years, including two tours in Afghanistan — also plays a big part in relating to the athletes competing in the adaptive sports competition. "The Duke came over to me, shook my hand, gave me five. He said, 'It's great to see you again, Josh. Thanks for being here.' That's something that's really special coming from the creator of the Games," Smith says. Josh Smith of Team USA. Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Invictus Games The Hague 2020 When it comes to bringing Archie and Lili to the Invictus Games someday, Harry says, "We can't wait!" — and he's already introduced the competition to his son. Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! "I showed Archie a video of wheelchair basketball and rugby from the Invictus Games in Sydney, and he absolutely loved it," Harry says. Prince Harry 'Can't Wait' to Take His Kids to Invictus — and Reveals Lili 'Just Took Her First Step!' "I showed him how some were missing legs and explained that some had invisible injuries, too," he continued. "Not because he asked, but because I wanted to tell him. Kids understand so much, and to see it through his eyes was amazing because it's so unfiltered and honest."