What Prince Harry Wants to Tell Archie and Lili About 'Finding Your Purpose'

The Duke of Sussex will pass down an important lesson he learned during his time in the military

Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Family Holiday Card
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's 2021 holiday card with Archie and Lilibet. Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

Prince Harry will pass down lessons from his military experience to his children, Archie and Lilibet.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE for this week's cover story, Prince Harry shares what he wants his kids to know about his 10 years of service in the British Army, including two tours in Afghanistan.

"That I am grateful for every experience I had in and out of my uniform," he says. "That I learned how to be in true service for others. That finding your purpose is one of the most gratifying experiences. And that working hard should be fulfilling and rewarding at the same time."

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 son Archie, who turns 3 on May 6, and daughter Lilibet, 10 months.

Prince Harry Cover Rollout

"Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it," the Duke of Sussex says. "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."

"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."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in The Netherlands in April 2022
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Samir Hussein/WireImage

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.

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.

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Harry and Meghan Invictus Games
Prince Harry. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

"I showed Archie a video of wheelchair basketball and rugby from the Invictus Games in Sydney, and he absolutely loved it," Harry says.

"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."

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