Harry prepared for married life after military career, former army chief says

A military career may have helped prepare Prince Harry for married life, according to a former army chief.

General the Lord Dannatt, the British Army's former Chief of General Staff Army, notes that Harry, in contrast to his previous image of being a "playboy prince", is probably now a more organised person and joked "he certainly knows how to press a shirt if he puts his mind to it".

He told Forces TV: "I think the military has done a lot to help him grow up and that's made him a more mature person, which actually I think will make him a much rounder partner in the marriage that he's about to undertake."

His friend Dave Henson, a retired Army captain and Paralympic bronze 200m medallist, believes Harry will one day make a good father.

"I think he's like any other service man or woman, we are all big kids really and actually I think the joy of having kids is that you get to be a big kid again, and I think he'll love doing it," he told Forces TV.

Prince Harry standing in front of his Apache Helicopter (Clarence House/PA)
Prince Harry standing in front of his Apache Helicopter (Clarence House/PA) 

In a decade-long Army career which ended in 2015, Harry has had two frontline tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He was devastated in 2007 when plans for him to serve in Iraq fell through because of security threats.

Later that year, he achieved his dream of seeing frontline action, spending 10 weeks in Afghanistan as a forward air controller, co-ordinating air strikes on Taliban positions.

His tour was cut short when foreign websites broke a media blackout on reporting the details.

Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff, said the Army helped Prince Harry mature (PA)
Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff, said the Army helped Prince Harry mature (PA)

General the Lord Dannatt remembers Harry grappling with the balancing act of being both a prince and a young army officer.

In Tuesday's Harry and Meghan, Warrior Prince - a programme tracing Harry's move from junior officer to husband - General the Lord Dannatt said: "We discussed that day what other possibilities there might be for going back on operations and I said I really couldn't see us being able to replicate the media blackout that we had, and I thought that the only way he could possibly get back on operations was within the anonymity of a helicopter cockpit, so what about learning to fly?"

Harry retrained and qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot.

In September 2012 he made it back for a second tour of duty as an Apache co-pilot gunner.

His career took a different direction when it was announced he was to start a new Army staff officer role in London in 2014.

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