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Prince Harry describes seeing soldiers with “bodies in pieces”

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Prince Harry saw “three young British soldiers all wrapped in plastic and their bodies in pieces” as he flew home from his first tour of Afghanistan, he told his new Netflix documentary.

The film, by award-winning director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara, follows competitors in the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, which took place in the Netherlands two years late in 2022, because of COVID.

Prince Harry gave an interview for the docu-series, released on August 30, 2023, and described how he was recalled from the Afghanistan War in 2008 after his presence in Helmand Province was leaked, making him a prized target for the Taliban.

Prince Harry in Heart of Invictus
Prince Harry gives an interview as part of his “Heart of Invictus” Netflix docu-series which aired on August 30, 2023. The series is Harry’s third project from his multi-million dollar deal with the streaming platform.
Netflix

“To suddenly be on the way home, I was angry,” he said. “But it was important for everyone around me and they’re safety to remove me.

“My own experience in Afghanistan was really affected by that flight home and as we took off the curtain in front of me blew open.

“All you could see was the air hospital. Three young British soldiers all wrapped in plastic and their bodies in pieces. I saw what only people had talked about.

“That was the real trigger for…I’m now seeing the real cost of war. Not just those individuals but their families and how their lives would change forever.

“Stepping foot off the plane I was angry that this had happened to these guys, I was angry that the media weren’t covering it, I was angry that I’d been pulled out but at that point it wasn’t clear to me what needed to be done.”

Ultimately, the experience played a key role in his journey to creating the Invictus Games, to give wounded soldiers a sense of purpose in their recovery.

Harry and Meghan Markle are preparing to travel to Germany in September for the 2023 Invictus Games, in Düsseldorf.

At the 2022 tournament, Harry gave an interview to Hoda Kotb for NBC News’ Today show in which he swerved a question on whether he misses his brother and father: “I mean…at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys [at the Invictus Games] and these families and giving everything I can, 120 percent to them to make sure that they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here.

“And when I leave here, I go back, and my focus is my family, who I miss massively. Of course I do. They’re two little people [son Prince Archie and daughter Princess Lilibet].”

He also sparked controversy by suggesting he was protecting the queen, though he did not say who from: “Being with her, it was great. It was just so nice to see her. She’s on great form.

“She’s always got a great sense of humor with me and I’m just making sure that she’s, you know, protected and got the right people around her.”

He added: “Both Meghan and I had tea with her so it was really nice to catch up with her. You know, home—home for me, now, is, you know, for the time being, in the States.

“And it feels that way as well. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and we have such a great community up in Santa Barbara.”

Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.



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