0382/Prince Harry meets the Queen of Denmark on first official visit
Prince Harry was welcomed to Amalienborg Palace to meet Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to mark the start of a two-day official visit to Copenhagen.
0381/Prince Harry meets sporty veterans on official Denmark visit
Prince Harry met some of the veterans who competed in the Invictus Games during the second day of his official visit to Denmark. The prince watched ‘rolling floorball’ and ‘sitting volleyball’ and spoke to competitors.
0375/Prince Harry to help tackle mental health in the Armed Forces
The Armed Forces and their families will be given new mental health training to deal with military life under an initiative between the Ministry of Defence and the young Royals. The venture will see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry expand their campaigning against the stigma of mental illness to provide advice and information for the Forces. Soldiers, sailors and airmen will be encouraged to take their mental health as seriously as their physical fitness. New training and support will also be rolled out across defence to reservists, veterans and civil servants. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, will say that the military must be “as serious about improving mental health as we are our combat skills and cutting-edge technology”. The MOD earlier this year said it would shake up mental health policy amid accusations its is failing a generation of troops and veterans scarred by the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. Last year, the military mental health charity Combat Stress reported a surge in referrals of veterans with problems such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The charity said the number of veterans needing help for mental health problems had jumped by 71 per cent in the previous five years. The MoD said the scheme would see troops “encouraged to use psychology and well-being in the same way as athletes do to maximise performance”. The plan will also emphasise “the idea that mental fitness is as important as physical fitness when working as part of the Armed Forces”. In a speech marking World Mental Health Day, Sir Michael is expected to say: “By looking after our mental health we are building a more effective armed forces that helps keep this country safe.” Under the scheme, the Royal Foundation will help the MoD improve training, education and information sharing for the entire Armed Forces. The work will include annual briefings, websites and specialist support to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health. The new training will be built into staff training courses and briefing from the middle of next year and will be online. A government source said: “Often mental health is seen as about picking up the pieces after something terrible has happened, rather than being proactive about it.
“Equipping our soldiers isn’t just about saying here’s the body armour, here’s the physical fitness and if something goes wrong here’s someone to talk to, it’s about active engagement. Prince Harry revealed earlier this year that he had sought counselling to help come to terms with his mother’s death. The Duke has praised high-profile figures who have opened up about their mental health struggles and said “There may be a time and a place for the ‘stiff upper lip’, but not at the expense of your health.” Sir Keith Mills, chairman of the Royal Foundation, said: “We are delighted that this new partnership with the Ministry of Defence will see the UK leading the way internationally in prioritising the mental fitness of its entire defence community.” “Mental health also is something which needs to be for active troops not just veterans.” The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry have been praised for their calls to remove taboos over mental illness and for their work with injured military veterans at the Invictus Games.
0368/Prince Harry cheers on competitors at the Invictus Games
Prince Harry got back to business at the Invictus Games today, dedicating his day to cheering on to competitors after making his public debut with girlfriend Meghan Markle. The Prince spent the morning giving pep talks to athletes behind the scenes at the cycling event, telling them they were tougher than him for completing the gruelling course in the Toronto heat. Modestly waving away shouted “thank yous” from the crowd, he told cyclists: “You’re all amazing. This is what it’s all about. “The atmosphere has been incredible all week. For me, it’s always going to be about the atmosphere. “Everyone’s really excited, they’re all here for you.” Posing for dozens of photographs with every athlete who asked him, he said he was in awe of their stamina in the 27C heat. “Four miles, up and down,” he told one. “I just couldn’t deal with it.” Among the competitors he met was Veteran Royal Navy Aircraft Engineer Jamie Weller, who was training on a stationary bike in the team ten and a large central blind spot in both eyes. Marvelling at his adapted mobile phone, which has a special voice app to describe his location, the Prince insisted on turning the tables to stage an impromptu photoshoot. After days of posing for the world’s media, the Prince revelled in instructing Mr Weller to lean into his bike as he snapped away on the phone’s camera. He went on to catch up with old friends including Invictus superstars Jaco van Gass and RAF pilot Nathan Jones, former medal winners who are back this year. The Prince made his way around a large tent, surrounded by athletes of all nations preparing for their next race. Quizzing other competitors about whether it was their first Games and how they had found it so far, he consistently deflected attention from himself back to the sportsmen and women. Yesterday, photographs of the Prince and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were seen around the world, as they made an unexpected appearance at the wheelchair tennis. The Prince, however, appeared keen to focus attention back on the Games themselves, attending the cycling solo as an enthusiastic spectator. He will later attend the golf and indoor rowing as well as a reception for Invictus competitors and family. In an interview with the BBC, he said: “Invictus Games when it comes around once a year is my fix just as much as anyone else’s. “Being here with all the competitors, being here with friends and families, meeting new faces and seeing some of the old faces as well – not old as in age but the old-timers – is amazing. “I get a buzz out of it, everybody gets a buzz out of it. “You’ve got all of these civvies walking around sucking up the atmosphere and hopefully they can walk away and it means something to them as well.” He added: “It’s an amazing team to be proud of, so many new faces, new stories, some fantastic experiences for them to have going forward. “Its a joy for me to constantly meet so many new people and friends and family.”
0325/Queen smiles warmly during traditional Holyrood ceremony
0293/HRH Margriet and Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven
Princess Margriet and her husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven, attended the National Military Death Recall on Thursday evening in Rhenen. Prince Pieter-Christiaan accompanied his parents at the commemoration of the military event on the Grebbeberg. They commemorated all occupational pilots and officers who have fallen for the kingdom since 1940. Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven usually go to the Grebbeberg on 4 May, where German invasion in the Netherlands was fiercely resisted. Prince Pieter-Christiaan has been attending the commemoration for years. On the occasion, over eight hundred people have been buried.
Next week, Margriet and Pieter will also travel Canada. During the world war II the Dutch liberation was partly caused by the efforts of Canadian soldiers.