‘He was the real deal’: US soldier recalls serving alongside Prince Harry

The royal pictured in Helmand province in 2008. Source: Getty.

It is a well known fact that Prince Harry spent time in the British Army, like many members of the royal family before him, with the Duke of Sussex even deploying on two active combat tours of Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.

South Carolina National Guardsman Colonel William Connor opened up to the news outlet about sharing meals with the prince, as well as completing dangerous missions and working out together, in full body armour, in the make-shift gym on camp.

Connor reminisced about the moment a helicopter transporting a VIP landed on their base on Christmas Eve in 2007, which was when he met the British royal for the first time.

“We knew a VIP was coming in,” Connor told the Daily Mail. “The first thing I saw was some of the Ghurkas taking pictures with Prince Harry. He had no security. He really expected no special treatment.”

He added: “I told them, just keep your mouths shut on the Harry thing. We spent the next week or so eating meals with Prince Harry.”

Connor also spilled the beans on what the prince was really like, admitting that the 34-year-old – who celebrates his birthday on Saturday – who is sixth-in-line to the throne is “the real deal” when it comes to his army career.

“He was in the thick of things,” he said. “He was in the thick of the fighting. He was the real deal. He cast aside, came down range, got shot at, put his life on the line and led by example.”

Last week, the mother of a British soldier who committed suicide following a battle with PTSD revealed what happened when she met the prince, who served alongside her son in Afghanistan, recently, along with his new wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Maria, the mother of hero Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt, 39, recalled the emotional moment she met Harry recently at the 100 Days To Peace concert, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail. She revealed she was initially worried about how to act with the prince, but was immediately put at ease when he rushed straight over and gave her a “bear hug”.

Prince Harry struggled to contain his emotions and reportedly shed a tear as he embraced the mother of a soldier who helped protect him in Afghanistan, but tragically later took his own life after battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Harry gave me a bear hug as soon as he saw me, just like Nathan used to do,” Maria told the publication. “I’d spent a week practising a little bow for when I met Harry, but he didn’t give me the chance. He just pulled me into his arms.

“When I looked up, Harry had a tear on his cheek. It was very emotional because he knew my son well. They went through a lot together. He is so warm and caring and so was Meghan.”

Did you realise Prince Harry completed active tours of combat? Do you have a message for the Duke of Sussex on his 34th birthday, today?

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