Prince Harry spoke in Nigeria on Saturday of the tragic loss of the “brave souls” in the country’s military who had lost their lives in conflicts, and said he felt “goosebumps” after seeing plans for a new centre to rehabilitate injured troops.
Nigerian forces are fighting religious militants in the northeast of the country and armed kidnapping gangs in the northwest.
Harry, the 39-year-old Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan arrived in Africa’s most populous nation on Friday in a trip linked to the Invictus Games, an international sporting event that the Duke of Sussex started a decade ago for troops injured in action.
Nigeria first participated in the Games in 2023.
At a reception for military families in Abuja, Harry said he had on Friday met 50 wounded soldiers during a trip to northern Kaduna and could see that the injuries were defining their lives, but there were some who had smiles on their faces.
“What this proved to me, what this reminds me of, is the power of seeing what is possible post injury,” said Harry, adding that “seeing the plans for the new Invictus Centre gives me goosebumps”.
Harry, the youngest son of King Charles, lives in the United States with Meghan and their two children after he gave up working as a member of the royal family in 2020. He served as a military helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.
Abike Dabiri Erewa, chairperson of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, brought wide smiles and claps from Meghan when she exclaimed: “Princess Meghan is a Nigerian.”
She was referring to a podcast in which Meghan said she had Nigerian heritage.
Harry earlier played in a volleyball match as an animated Meghan clapped every point for both teams and broadly smiled and cheered when Harry’s first point was notched up.
The match at an officer’s mess complex in Abuja saw Harry’s team dressed in yellow playing off in an exhibition against a team led by Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, the country’s top commander.
With chants of “Team Harry, Team Harry” when they scored, the prince’s team took an early lead with players seated on foam mats, some missing legs.
However, they lost the match to the commander’s squad Team CDS.
Before Nigeria, Prince Harry was in London on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the games.
As with all his trips to the UK since he moved to the United States in 2020, his visit prompted renewed speculation over a reconciliation with his family.
However, he did not meet with his father Charles.
Harry was invited to visit by Nigeria’s military command.
Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Musa has praised the experience of Nigerian troops at the Invictus Games.
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