Harry and Meghan shocked by stories from veterans at garrison, prince reveals

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were left "shocked" to their core by the stories they heard from military veterans during a private fact-finding visit to Colchester Garrison, the royal has revealed.

Giving a keynote speech to a conference about veterans' mental health, Harry, who served as an army officer for 10 years, also said he witnessed the suffering of those around him "struggling to seek out the help they desperately need".

Harry and fiancee Meghan recently visited the garrison to learn more about the North Essex Veterans Mental Health Network, a collaboration between the NHS, Ministry of Defence and Third Sector, and met veterans, health professionals and other staff.

Prince Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan, speaks at the Veterans' Mental Health Conference (Steve Parsons/PA)
Prince Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan, speaks at the Veterans' Mental Health Conference (Steve Parsons/PA)

The prince, who arrived an hour before he was due to speak to hear experts address the delegates at King's College London's Strand Campus, said: "I have seen those I have served with suffer, struggling to seek out the help they desperately need. And we
know there are more just like them who continue to suffer in silence.

"And when the individual doesn't or can't reach out for help, it is also their families who suffer; especially their spouses and children, who are left feeling desperate and confused as they try to seek appropriate help for the ones they love."

Harry served two tours of Afghanistan - first as a forward air controller, then as an Apache pilot - and went on to support the rehabilitation of wounded veterans and serving personnel most notably through his Invictus Games, an international Paralympic style sporting championship for those who have served.

He added: "Some of the stories Meghan and I heard when we visited Colchester Garrison a few weeks ago shocked us to our core. But despite meeting these people and others who are in the darkest of places, I am continually surrounded and inspired by amazingly
positive outcomes."

Ahead of her May 19 wedding, Meghan has been making a series of private visits to organisations and charities to understand better some of the issues in the UK.

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