Prince Harry, 28, is expected to confirm that he will join a group of wounded war veterans on a charity trek to the South Pole. The royal's patronage, Walking With The Wounded, will this week launch the record-breaking challenge, and the third-in-line is hotly tipped to be named when details are announced on Friday.
"Walking With The Wounded continues to champion our extraordinary wounded service personnel and highlight their determination and courage to face future challenges following injury on the battlefield, whether physical or cognitive" the Prince said in a statement released ahead of Friday's launch. "Their inspirational expeditions have already impacted so many and I hope they will continue to impact many more." If he joins, it would be the second adventure for Harry, who teamed up with disabled servicemen to trek to the North Pole in April 2011. "We'd be absolutely delighted if he came along," Captain Guy Disney, the Prince's friend from the previous trip, told The Telegraph.
In January, Prince Harry returned home after a four month tour of duty in Afghanistan. His first deployment as a forward air controller in 2008 was interrupted – much to his disappointment – after his location was revealed by the US media. The royal's support for the military continues even when he isn't on the front line. In 2011, he joined Captain Disney and three other amputees on their arctic expedition to the North Pole. The group dragged their sleds 300 miles across the frozen Arctic Ocean on foot in some of the most hostile conditions on earth. Harry was an active fundraiser for the expedition, which he took part in for three days.
Walking With The Wounded's co-founder Ed Parker set up the charity after his nephew was seriously injured in Helmand province, where Harry undertook his most recent deployment. He explains the Prince's emotional history with the organisation. "When Harry flew back from Afghanistan, he was on an aircraft with several wounded soldiers," Ed says. "That had a real, lasting impact on him. He spent 12 hours with these men on the plane and realised how much their lives have changed, and I think that's part of his motivation in supporting the charity's work."