Meghan and Harry show support for US veterans

Anything William can do: Harry shows support for US veterans while Meghan dons a cardigan emblazoned with poppies after his brother vowed to be ‘a force for real change’ – amid fresh war of words with his family over the King’s 75th birthday celebrations

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle both wore Royal British Legion poppies as they visited United States Navy SEALs in San Diego last night and helped cut the ribbon on a new fitness centre for veterans.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Navy SEAL Foundation for the official opening of a new training facility, known as the ‘West Coast warrior fitness programme facility’, ahead of Veterans Day on November 11.

Earlier in the day the Duchess of Sussex also wore a $1,490 Carolina Herrera cardigan, embroidered with poppies – the symbol of remembrance for all those who lost their lives on active service, from the beginning of the First World War right up to present day.

The couple were meeting veterans, servicemen and women and and their loved-ones at Camp Pendleton.

It came as across the Atlantic, tensions continued to simmer with Harry’s family with experts claiming ‘the rift in the Royal Family could not be wider’. The Duke of Sussex’s spokesman slammed reports Harry had snubbed his father’s 75th birthday party next week, claiming he was never invited.

Prince Harry did a stand-up comedy video for a charity event in New York on Monday night, with a video released in the UK just before his father set off to give his first King’s Speech to Parliament. 

And then yesterday in Singapore Prince William delivered a pitch to be King as he insisted he wants to ‘go a step further’ than his family and bring real change to the causes he supports, after his Earthshot Awards were held.

Earlier in the day, the Duchess of Sussex also wore a $1,490 Carolina Herrera cardigan embroidered with poppies – the symbol of remembrance – at Camp Pendleton in San Diego yesterday

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex then went on to an event for injured United States Navy SEALs in San Diego

The royal couple went to two events yesterday ahead of Veterans Day in the US

Meghan and Harry have helped cut the ribbon on a new military 

Meghan then waved to the small crowd and media who had gathered to watch the ribbon cutting

Harry was speaking to organisers of the event where he visited United States Navy SEALs in San Diego last night

The Prince of Wales praised the work of other Royal Family members ‘spotlighting’ important causes, but insisted he wanted to do more than ‘just being’ a patron.

READ MORE: William makes his sales pitch for King: Prince vows to ‘go a step further’ than his family and ‘actually bring change’ 

William’s remarks as his visit to Singapore comes to a close will likely raise eyebrows at Buckingham Palace as he continues to set out a vision for the monarchy’s future.

The pair’s visit to the Marine base at Pendleton was announced on Wednesday by the website of their foundation, Archewell.

Archewell said that they ‘spent the morning with veteran and activeduty service members and their loved-ones at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California.’

The pair were pictured with around a dozen people at a discussion table, and according to Archewell learned about the work of Operation Bigs, a mentoring program set up in 2004.

The scheme connects military children and families with others who have gone through similar experiences.

Pioneered by Camp Pendleton, it has in the last nine years served more than 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps children, according to Archewell, and has expanded to over 30 affiliates across the country.

Harry, wearing a red Remembrance Day poppy in his lapel, and Meghan in a $1,490 navy Carolina Herrera cardigan, embroidered with red poppies, were photographed speaking to people on the base and being told about the work on site.

Meghan paired her wool cardigan with a black pencil skirt.

The prince, 39, spent a decade in the British Army, serving two tours of Afghanistan.

He and his wife, 42, have spent previous Veterans’ Days on military sites: in 2021, they were at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, and in 2020 visited a military cemetery in Los Angeles.

The Duchess of Sussex, wearing a $1,490 Carolina Herrera poppy cardigan, is seen on Wednesday at Camp Pendleton in California

Prince Harry, with a Remembrance Day poppy in his lapel, is pictured talking to a guest at Wednesday’s event

The pair heard about the work of Operation Big, which launched at Pendleton in 2004 and aims to pair military children with mentors to help guide them through the challenges of life

Last year Harry visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

After visiting Camp Pendleton, Meghan and Harry then traveled to downtown San Diego to open up a new gym for Navy SEALs and veterans wounded in combat.

The 20,000-square-foot Warrior Fitness Program West Coast Facility is the second site to open, after a Virginia Beach facility launched in 2017.

The foundation already has helped more than 800 active-duty and veteran SEALs and surface warfare combatant crewman.

Both sites now have advanced technology, equipment and personnel, The Times of San Diego reported, designed to help with physical and mental recovery.

‘We’re thrilled that the Duke and Duchess are here,’ said Tony Duynstee, a former SEAL who spoke for the SEAL Foundation.

‘It’s quite an honor for them to be here for the commissioning.’

Prince Harry gives a video speech on Monday, joking about being ginger and media scrutiny, to a comedy event for US veterans. He wore four medals. The first was an Afghanistan campaign medal, then a 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, a 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and a 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal (numbered left to right on his chest)

William walks along a trail during a TreeTop Walk at Central Catchment Nature Reserve in Singapore yesterday

Harry’s speech was shared just before his father King Charles and Queen Camilla set off in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament in London this morning (pictured)

Duynstee said that they aimed to provide holistic recovery programmes.

‘It’s not just physical,’ he said on Wednesday, showing the media around the site.

‘It’s not just shoulders and knees and back. It’s so much more than that.

‘It’s mental health, it’s emotional health. It’s bringing people back into community, teaching the right habits starting with the basics like nutrition and sleep.’

Duynstee pointed out that SEALs have had ‘very heavy sustained combat engagement’ for 20 years or more.

Those using the site will have access to conditioning coaches, performance dietitians, speech pathologists, chiropractors, and myofascial release and breathing experts, the paper reported.

The experts will address issues like chronic pain, cognitive decline, proper nutrition, sleep disruption and societal reconnection.

It will also help SEALs return to civilian life

‘It’s so hard when you transition,’ Duynstee said.

King Charles III led other members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal, out to attend the Cenotaph service in London on Remembrance Day last year

‘I transitioned about 15 years ago and you have to re-find your purpose. And so that is a major.

‘So when they come back here, they re-engage with their fellows in the gym — and that spirit, the morale, is a big booster beyond just learning how to repair themselves physically — so much more around emotional health and mental health.’

He said the knock-on effects were huge.

If you can stop chronic pain, ‘that makes the marriage better and that makes that parent a better father. And so there are direct impacts to the family and wellness,’ he said.

And Duynstee praised the pair for their work on mental health.

He said they have ‘really destigmatized mental health issues for those who have gone through military service, and they’ve done that with courage and it just great validation to have them here.’

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