Prince Harry has revealed that he suffers from graphic flashbacks from his days serving on the front line as a soldier in the course of which he killed people, and that the “images I’ve been unfortunate to see” can pop up in his head at times of stress like “a slide show’”.
Harry, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, said, “I described it to someone ages ago as one of those slide shows that go through your mind.
“If you’ve got a good imagination as well, everything that you see, especially if it’s something that is quite powerful, then that slide is in there.”
“It’s always in there, and if you have dark moments in your life those slides will pop up.”
Referring to some of the wounded soldiers who are competing in the Invictus Games, Harry said, “You know there are images I’ve been lucky enough not to see, but there have been images that I’ve been unfortunate to see, nothing like some of these guys, but, yes, there is a percentage of me being able to relate to exactly what they go through.”
The Invictus Games begin in Orlando on 8 May.
Harry was speaking as he took part in a special edition of the Sky Sports children’s programme Game Changers, at Lambs Lane Primary School in Wokingham, with Invictus Games competitors.
Harry sought to highlight the importance of post-combat counselling for soldiers, saying: “The Army put you through a day, two-day course on the way back through Cyprus, which is crucial to everybody.”
Harry also spoke about how wounded veterans welcome the frank approach of children.
“Kids will ask whatever they want to ask, they have no inhibitions,” he said, “They have no problem with going up to someone and saying: ‘You’ve got no legs, why?’ and these guys are a little bit upset, a little bit bored of the parents pulling the kids away saying, ‘Leave the poor man alone!’ They would much rather tell their story.”
Children were invited to ask questions of Harry and one boy, nine-year-old Tristan, asked: “Are you ever going to be King?”
Harry replied: “That’s the question everybody wanted, let’s be honest!”
Laughter rang out followed by groans of dismay when the Prince answered: “You’ll be glad to know, probably not.”
When the boy looked disappointed at his answer, Harry said: “Oh look at the disappointment! I love that. I’m going to give you a high five.”