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The Duke of Sussex has told friends he “cannot believe” what has happened in recent months and that he misses the Army, The Telegraph has learned.
Prince Harry has confided in pals that he “misses the camaraderie” of life in the Armed Forces, where he was affectionately known as ‘Captain Wales’, having been stripped of his military appointments following the Sussexes’ split from the Royal Family on March 31.
After Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping down as senior royals in January, the Duke was forced to relinquish his roles as Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant, RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.
In a sharply-worded statement reflecting on what had been agreed with the Queen, the couple pointed out that Harry retained “the rank of Major”, insisting he would “continue his unwavering support to the military community in a non-official capacity.”
They are now living in Los Angeles with their son, Archie, who turns one next Wednesday.
A well-placed source revealed: “Harry has told friends he is really missing the Army as well his military appointments. He misses the camaraderie of being in the forces.
“He has been telling friends that he still can't believe this has happened. He can't believe his life has been turned upside down.
“He was in a happy place when he was serving in the Army, then he met Meghan and since then life has been great. But I don’t think he foresaw things turning out quite as they did.”
Stressing that Harry, 35, does not blame his wife for wanting to return to her native America, the source added: “Of course he doesn’t blame Meghan. There is just a sense that he might have been better protected if he was still in the Army.”
In March 2015, Kensington Palace announced that Harry would leave the Armed Forces in June after his 10-year military career saw him serve two tours of Afghanistan.
In the statement announcing he was looking forward to a “new chapter” in his life, the prince admitted that he was at a “crossroads” and quitting the Army had been a “really tough decision”.
He had previously spoken about Army life being “as normal as it's going to get”, adding: “I'm one of the guys. I don't get treated any differently.”
The decision came after he launched the Invictus Games in 2014 to huge acclaim, giving wounded or sick armed forces personnel the opportunity to take part in a Paralympic Games-style tournament.
Reflecting on his Army career, Harry said: “From learning the hard way to stay onside with my Colour 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.”
Described as an “exemplary soldier” by his military superiors, Harry saw action in Afghanistan twice, most recently in 2012 as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner. Gen Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, praised his skill, judgment and professionalism in “selflessly” supporting troops on the ground.
Having started full-time military duties as an officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in May 2005, he was commissioned as an Army officer in April 2006, joining the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals).
In late 2007, he spent 10 weeks in Helmand province in Afghanistan but was pulled out after the media reported his secret deployment.
He began training as an Army Air Corps pilot in January 2009, becoming a fully operational Apache attack helicopter pilot in February 2012.
In 2014, he took up a staff officer role helping to coordinate significant projects and commemorative events but insiders said he was unsuited to the desk job, based at Horse Guards in London, much preferring to be more visible promoting veterans through initiatives like Invictus.
A spokesman for the prince declined to comment.