"You just have to chat to these guys for five minutes to appreciate what they can still contribute," Prince Harry tells PEOPLE
“The support has been amazing,” he told PEOPLE. “People come out to give money, and then when they hear what it’s for they put another 20 in.”
For Harry – who is bringing his Invictus Games for wounded warriors to Orlando in May – spending time with the veterans on the march was a perfect day. “You just have to chat to these guys for five minutes to appreciate what they can still contribute,” he says.
A key aspect of his mission is to highlight the unseen injuries that can affect returning and serving members of the armed forces. “What’s important is to recognize that the mental health support for these guys, former servicemen and women, is there,” he says. “They have served their country. They have put their lives on the line for their country.”
As Harry made his way out of a small wood near Craven Arms, about 154 miles northwest of London, he talked about the number of empty homes that can be used in part for homeless veterans.
“That’s why I was so happy we did the DIY: SOS building, getting together to help house veterans,” he says.
And in a new interview with Britain’s ITV, the 31-year-old royal says he is deeply committed to veterans’ causes for the long haul.
“The main focus for the rest of my life is to make sure these guys get the best support possible,” says the former Army captain.
“I love spending time with these guys,” he adds. “I like to think I know roughly what they’re going through as well. It’s hard to say that, because everyone is unique, but the main focus, from my point of view, for the rest of my life anyway is to make sure they get the best support possible because I know, and more people are starting to see, how valuable they are within society. Whether it’s in this country, or the U.S.A., they are the best people on this planet to bring people together, to improve communities. I think it’s something people need to take notice of.”
Asked if he misses military life since his retirement in June, he says, “I miss parts of it. That’s another reason why I will be involved with these guys for the rest of my life. Because that military banter never goes, that dark sense of humor will always be there. We’ll get into trouble together.”
As for his personal life, when asked if he was “anywhere near” settling down (as he previously said he hoped to do at some point), he said, “No. There are a lot of things to get done before settling down. Another seven miles to walk now, which I’m not looking forward to 8! Everyone looks forward to settling down, but in the meantime it’s work as usual so let’s crack on.”
“The beauty about rugby is you can sit next to a brother or friend or complete stranger, both supporting different teams, give each other a high five and hug at the end,” he says, “and move on.”
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