Prince Harry Returns from Romantic Wedding Weekend to Join Granny, Will and Kate at Memorial Dedication
Prince Harry is back from his romantic trip to Jamaica, where he attended one of his best friend’s weddings alongside girlfriend Meghan Markle
On Thursday, the prince joined his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, brother Prince William and sister-in-law Princess Kate at a special dedication for a new monument honoring those who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Harry served two tours in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot with the British Royal Army, retired in June 2015 after 10 years of service.
The prince sat next to Boris Johnson, the controversial U.K. Foreign Secretary and former mayor of London who helped lead the campaign for Britons to leave the European Union.
Before the memorial was unveiled, Harry, William and Kate, along with senior royals like Prince Charles and Camilla, took part in a “drumhead” service — a religious ceremony held in the battle field which uses drums as an altar — on Horse Guards Parade.
There, Harry — wearing his service medals and the insignia of the Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order — read from the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, beginning, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven . . . A time to love and a time to hate, A time for war and a time for peace.”
The Queen then made her way from Horse Guards to the spot on the Victoria Embankment to reveal the monument to armed forces members and civilians who served in both wars.
The memorial, which was erected in the Victoria Embankment Gardens near Westminster, was created by sculptor Paul Day and honors the theme of “duty and service.”
The monument features two large stones, one representing Iraq and the other Afghanistan. The stones are united by a double-sided copper medallion. The front honors troops, while the back pays tribute to civilian heroes.
Harry recalled his time in the service, continuing in his statement: “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.”
FROM COINAGE: How To Spend The Night In the Fanciest Homes Around the World
The event comes shortly after Harry took to Jamaica with 35-year-old Markle to attend the wedding of one of his best friends in Montego Bay.
Although Markle has already met most of Harry’s closest friends in London during restaurant and theater dates over several months of dating, the nuptials are thought to be the first time she has accompanied Harry to a wedding.
“Harry and Meghan seem very much in love,” an onlooker at the wedding told PEOPLE, noting that Harry even once got up and “did a little dance” for his girlfriend.