Prince Harry thanked the medics who had saved US soldier Sergeant Elizabeth Marks' life as he handed over her Invictus Games gold medal on Wednesday. The 31-year-old fulfilled his promise to Elizabeth by donating the medal she recently won in Orlando to staff from Papworth Hospital, where she was treated for a serious lung condition in 2014.
Harry invited the medical team who had treated Elizabeth to Kensington Palace on Wednesday. The Prince greeted the medics in the audience room and quizzed them about Elizabeth's condition and the work they did to save her, adding that the soldier was "very excited" about having her medal handed over.
Prince Harry invited the medics who had saved Elizabeth's life to Kensington Palace
Elizabeth expressed her gratitude to Prince Harry for doing what she had asked, and tweeted following the meeting: "So grateful. Thank you Prince Harry #Invictus #grateful."
The gold medal will be put on the wall of Papworth Hospital near the unit where Elizabeth was treated in 2014, and the hospital hopes to eventually start a new fund in her name to fundraise for patients and equipment.
Elizabeth, 25, handed the medal back to the Prince shortly after he presented it to her during the Invictus Games in Orlando.
Elizabeth had asked the Prince to hand over her gold medal from the Invictus Games
"Please, give it to them," she said. "Are you sure?" asked Harry, before accepting the medal.
The Paralympic swimming champion, from Arizona, explained: "They absolutely saved my life and I can't thank the UK enough for having that kind of medical support and taking such good care of me. So I gave Prince Harry one of my medals and hope it will find its way back to Papworth."
Fighting back tears she paid tribute to the hospital, saying: "Thank you, I'll never be able to repay you, but what you're doing is wonderful.
The US soldier won the 100m freestyle swimming event in Orlando
"It's just an honour to be here and stand next to all the other soldiers, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."
When the hospital first heard that Elizabeth had donated her medal, they issued a statement thanking their former patient. Dr Roger Hall, medical director at Papworth Hospital, said it was "extremely generous and unexpected" while Claire Tripp, interim chief executive, said they would like to meet with Elizabeth to thank her in person.
Elizabeth joined the US army aged 17. She suffered a serious hip injury in 2010, which left her with no sensation in her left leg, but she has since come back fighting and still serves in the military.