This afternoon, Prince Harry hosted his first garden party, with thousands associated with the Not Forgotten Association attending the event on the lawns of Buckingham Palace.
The party came just hours after Harry revealed the British Invictus Games team at the Tower of London.
More than 2,500 injured and ill service personnel and veterans spent the afternoon at Buckingham Palace, as beneficiaries or volunteers of the charity.
The Not Forgotten Association is a charity providing ‘entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and ex-service men and women with disabilities’ across all three armed forces branches.
A garden party for the organisation is held each year, alongside The Queen’s usual three London-based garden parties, plus one at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.
Harry shook hands of what seemed to be the vast majority of guests, and tried to speak with as many as possible, as the only Royal in attendance.
Prince Andrew and Princess Anne have often hosted this event in the past, but The Duke of York usually drafts in Beatrice and Eugenie to assist with the meet and greet aspect – 2,500 is a lot of people!
The former army captain met Martin Wilson, 44, who recently completed the gruelling Marathon Des Sables, widely considered to be the toughest race on earth – 251 km through the Sahara; the challenge comes just six years after he was shot in the head in Afghanistan and had to learn to walk, talk and speak again.
The plate in Wilson’s head, inserted following an injury from a large bullet, caused him problems in the heat of the desert, but he told Harry: “I really enjoyed it,” also reporting the Prince said he “would love to do the race too if his security were to allow it.”
Caroline Beazley, 46, was shot in the head while serving in Northern Ireland with the Royal Military Police in 1994; she was just 22. The NFA put her in touch with people ‘just like me.’
“After leaving the military I left the country for several years and when I came back felt quite lost. I felt a bit forgotten,” she explained. “It put me back in touch with people from the military and has been the most unbelievable source of support.”
Another guest, Jack Cummings, 28, had also been at the Invictus team gathering earlier that morning.
His family were told he was going to die after an IED exploded, costing him both his legs.
“Sarah and I had only been together a year when it happened and I wouldn’t have blamed her for walking away. It’s been hard on her. But here we are and we are going to get married in August,” the former soldier said.
“Prince Harry asked me if Invictus was going to be our honeymoon, but I’ve got to do better than that!”
Dr William Frankland, 105, served in the Army Medical Corps during WWII, just a short time after he had qualified; he was put in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Singapore for three and a half years in 1947. Dr Frankland was one of the world’s leading allergy specialists, and worked up until he was 103.
In his long life, he treated Saddam Hussein, flown out especially for the former Iraqi dictator’s hayfever.