Prince Harry Once Had a Brush with Death That Left the Duke of Sussex ‘Shaken’

Prince Harry experienced a “brush with death” during his time in Afghanistan in the Army. The Duke of Sussex served in the military for ten years before retiring in 2015. Although he has a lot of fond memories from his time in service, his encounter with death reportedly shook him to the core. Here’s a look at exactly what transpired while Prince Harry was serving his country in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry | Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Inside Prince Harry’s Army tour

The royal family worried about Prince Harry’s safety throughout his career in the Army. His grandfather, Prince Philip, even tried to convince him to enlist in the Navy as this would have been much safer.

But Harry was determined to go into the Army at all costs. He also wanted to be a soldier on the front lines, which only worried the royal family even more.

Considering how Prince Harry was third in line to the throne when he enlisted, the royal family could not risk putting his life in jeopardy.

With that in mind, they pulled him from duty prior to his deployment in 2007, which only angered Prince Harry, who had spent years in training. Harry eventually convinced his family to allow him to serve in Afghanistan, a move that led to his close encounter with death.

Harry was left shaken after a brush with death

Prince Harry was deployed to Afghanistan when he was only 23 years old. According to Express, his brush with death was detailed by Sergeant Tom Pal in his book, Coldstream Guard, 10 Years in Afghanistan, Guardsmen’s Stories.

Pal served with Harry on the front lines as part of the anti-tank platoon. The group was stationed in a town called Dwyer, which was only a mere six miles from the action.

In his 2016 book, Pal wrote about how he was visiting with Prince Harry and another man in their platoon, Captain Russell, when their base camp was struck by a rocket. The rocket landed only 50 meters from where the men were seated, leaving all three men scared for their lives.

“I remember one afternoon before evening scoff or a gurkha curry was on I was sitting chatting with both Captain Russell and Prince Harry about random stuff when the camp was hit by a Chinese 107mm rocket … whoosh, bang, wallop,” Pal wrote. “We had been attacked and we just looked at each other and Captain Russell mentioned we’d better put our body armour and helmet on. Bit late, but we did.”

Pal noted that it was very active in the area they were stationed, with checkpoints all around them being attacked on a daily basis. He also wrote that Harry looked visibly “shaken” after the event and that he couldn’t believe a member of the royal family was so close to the action.

Prince Harry doesn’t back down from duty

While the royal family later pulled Prince Harry from the front, he always took his army duties very seriously.

In his book, Pal shared that Harry never used his rank to get out of his duties and was a brave soldier – though his bravery sometimes bordered on foolhardiness.

Harry may have been shaken up by the close encounter with death, but he did not let the experience get him down. He also encouraged his fellow soldiers to stay positive and know that they would someday return home.

The royal family took Prince Harry off the front line around ten weeks into his tour. They decided to bring him home after his location in Afghanistan was leaked to media sources in England.

The leak seriously jeopardized Harry’s safety, as the enemy could have easily targeted his position in a bid to take out a high-profile target.

Why did Harry join the Army?

It is fairly normal for members of the royal family to join the military, though Harry’s insistence to be on the front line is fairly unique. The royals go to great lengths to keep the line of succession intact, so putting Prince Harry in danger is pretty much the opposite of that goal.

For Harry, however, enlisting in the Army and being stationed in Afghanistan enabled him to get away from the royal life and live a normal existence.

Inside sources believe this is exactly why Prince Harry decided to join the Army and was angry when he was forced to return home.

“Harry may have accepted he was a royal, but as far as he was concerned, his military career had nothing whatsoever to do with his accident of birth,” Duncan Larcombe, a royal biographer, stated. “As an officer, he could be normal… He was a soldier first, and a royal second.”

Luckily, Prince Harry was able to fulfill his dreams of being a soldier, even if it was for a short period of time.