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Why Prince Harry was the last senior royal to join the military

The Duke of Sussex served two tours in Afghanistan

william harry army
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
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Prince Harry wrote candidly about his time in the army in the pages of his memoir, Spare, even going so far as to say that the army gave him purpose.

His brother, Prince William, also served in the military as a search and rescue pilot but wasn't allowed into combat, while King Charles captained a minesweeper and his brother, Prince Andrew, served as a Sea King pilot in the Falklands conflict.

WATCH: Why Prince Harry was the last senior royal to serve in the army

However, despite the royal family's rich military background, Prince Harry was the last senior royal in active military service, leaving the army in 2015 - and it will be many years before the next generation of senior royals are even old enough to sign up.

By the time Prince George is 16, the age when you can join the army, the year will be 2030 – 15 years since a senior royal served in the army.

Prince Harry in an army tank© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry did two tours in Afghanistan

Prince William and Harry's cousin, James Viscount Severn, Prince Edward's son, turns 16 in December 2023, however, he is not a senior royal. His father, Prince Edward didn't complete his military training, instead choosing to undertake a career in theatre production, so the army might not appeal to him.

MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's future plans revealed ahead of King Charles's coronation

In a shocking passage of Spare, Harry revealed that he and Prince William often attended military training days ahead of joining the service, one of which left him badly injured.

Writing about an occasion in 2005 when he and Prince William spent a day training with the British Special Boat Service, Harry shared horrifying details about the injury that befell him during an unofficial training day.

Prince William and King Charles collecting Prince Harry from the army© Photo: Getty Images

Prince William was not permitted to enter combat

"In one exercise we scurried down a flight of metal stairs. Someone cut the lights, to make it more interesting, I suppose. In the pitch dark, four steps from the bottom, I fell, landed on my left knee, which was immediately impaled on a fixed bolt sticking out of the floor," the Duke of Sussex wrote.

READ: Prince Harry's 'debilitating' injury he pushed through

"Blinding pain washed over me. I managed to get up, keep going, finish the drill. But at the end of the exercise we jumped off the boat's helipad, into the water, and I found my knee wasn't working," Harry continued.

"My whole leg wasn't working. When I got out of the water and stripped off the dry suit, Willy looked down and turned pale. My knee was gushing blood. Paramedics were there within minutes. The palace announced some weeks later that my entry into the Army would be postponed. Indefinitely."

Find out more about Prince Harry's relationship with King Charles in our brand new podcast

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