Prince Harry leaving army in June to focus on royal duties

Prince Harry leaving army in June to focus on royal duties
Prince Harry will end his active military service in June. The British royal is shown on May 16, 2014, saluting the guards during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument to the War of Independence in Freedom Square in Tallinn, Estonia. (Valda Kalnina / EPA)

Prince Harry will wrap up his military service in June after 10 years of active duty. 

The fourth in line to the British throne has undertaken two operational tours in Afghanistan, became a qualified Apache aircraft commander and spearheaded last fall's Invictus Games for wounded soldiers during his army career.


"After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision," the 30-year-old said in a statement released on Tuesday by Kensington Palace. "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 Color Sergeant at 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. For that I will always be hugely grateful.

"Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career," he continued. "Luckily for me, I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life, helping where I can, and making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last."

The prince, who became Capt. Wales during his service, said he's excited about the possibilities the future holds.

"So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it," he said.

His highness will take on more royal duties at home and overseas on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and the royal family. He'll also continue his charitable work alongside his older brother, Prince William, and Wills' wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The prince carried out his lineage's tradition of military service. His paternal grandfather, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, enlisted in the Royal Navy and served in World War II. Harry's father, Prince Charles, served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and also did time in the navy. William left the military in September 2013 after seven-and-a-half-years of service, most of it spent as a rescue pilot based in Wales.  

The captain started off as an officer cadet at Sandhurst in 2005 and moved on to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in 2006. In July 2008, he was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time as a forward air controller. He was promoted to the rank of captain in April 2011 and was awarded his Apache badge after completing an eight-month training course. Then he was deployed to Afghanistan again as an Apache pilot between September 2012 and January 2013.

Harry is currently carrying out engagements with the military, including working with wounded personnel in London. He'll later spend some time with the Australian Defense Force in the summer. He'll also head to Africa to work alongside conservation experts aiming to protect and conserve natural resources and wildlife in the sub-Saharan region of the continent.

In the fall, Harry will do some volunteer work with the Ministry of Defense's Recovery Capability Program.

In other royal news, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the 1st Battalion Irish Guards on Tuesday to take part in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade at Mons Barracks.

Twitter: @NardineSaad