A usually stoic Prince Harry became visibly moved when he told veterans at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games they "shouldn't feel lost without a uniform" – three years after he was stripped of his military titles.
He made the touching remarks during his emotional speech at the closing ceremony in Düsseldorf, Germany, watched by wife Meghan Markle in the audience.
The Duke of Sussex told the crowd – made up of veterans from the competing nations – that they had shown him that "joy can emerge from struggle", and offered them a words of comfort about their military uniforms.
"A week ago, I stood here and told you about the significance of being able to wear your nation's flag again," he began. "And so many of you have told me that that hit you right here [touching his heart]."
He continued, "For many of you, the uniform you've been wearing this past week will give you a new story to tell. And for others, it may give your old uniform new meaning.
"But I'm here to remind you that after all this, you don't need to rely on a uniform, nor should you ever feel lost without one."
The Duke, 39, was officially stripped of his own military titles when he and Meghan left the UK in 2020 to move to America, relinquishing their roles as active royals.
He was given special permission by King Charles III to wear his uniform again while he stood vigil beside the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth, his grandmother, last year.
However protocol dictated that he wasn't allowed to wear the ER (Elizabeth Regina) badge, something he was reportedly "heartbroken" about, as it's only permitted to be worn by Royal Family members "in service" of the reigning monarch.
Then at the late Queen's funeral service Harry was dressed in a plain suit and tie while his dad and big brother, Prince William, wore their full military uniforms.
Speaking to the veterans at the closing ceremony on Saturday, Prince Harry told them why they didn't need to rely on their military regalia.
"Because everything you need is already within you," he said. "Tomorrow you will each walk away with memories that are different and unique to you.
"But my hope is that every memory made, brings a smile to your face through a sense of belonging and an opportunity for you and your family to look forward with price and purpose. "
The father of two also discussed an emotional meeting with Master Corporal James Gendron during the games involving a pair of bagpipes – something he connects to his mother, the late Princess Diana.
He recalled: "Some of you may know what bagpipes mean to me, so I couldn't help but hope they'd be played.
"Little did I know that thirty minutes later, it would be James picking them up and offering to play – yet I had NO idea what they meant to him."
He went on to reveal that the Master Corporal had played them during 63 ramp ceremonies in Afghanistan, which is when a casket is prepared for a repatriation flight following a death in service.
"For four years after that last ceremony, he couldn't touch them," he continued. "This week he wasn't sure whether he could bring himself to PLAY them. But he did. What had once haunted him, dare I say it, may now be what helps heal him."
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