Prince Harry and Meghan Markle paid a secret visit to Colchester a few weeks ago, the royal has just revealed. The couple had a private meeting with war veterans at Colchester Garrison, with Harry admitting that some of the stories "shocked us to our core". The Prince, who was a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan, has continued to support the army since leaving the forces in 2015, and during their private visit, he showed Meghan an issue close to his heart.
Harry made the revelation during the Veterans Mental Health Conference at Kings College London on Thursday, when he gave a speech encouraging men and women to speak about their mental health. "My time in the Army gave me the strongest respect for everyone who wears the uniform. It is a community I am proud to belong to, and I will always seek out any way that I can to support it," he said.
Meghan and Harry met war veterans at Colchester Garrison
"I have seen those I have served with suffer, struggling to seek out the help they desperately need. And we know there are more just like them who continue to suffer in silence. And when the individual doesn't or can't reach out for help, it is also their families who suffer; especially their spouses and children, who are left feeling desperate and confused as they try to seek appropriate help for the ones they love."
Harry then revealed: "Some of the stories Meghan and I heard when we visited Colchester Garrison a few weeks ago shocked us to our core. But despite meeting these people and others who are in the darkest of places, I am continually surrounded and inspired by amazingly positive outcomes."
The couple are marrying in May
The Prince later reiterated: "Meghan and I recently visited The North Essex Veterans Mental Health Network and we got to see the amazing work they are doing in Colchester. They have produced a seamless journey for veterans, with centrally held case management that results in transitional, not transactional movement across care services. This style of service has been adopted by NHS England and is now in operation across a number of health trusts across the country."
Meghan has been making private visits and holding meetings with charities, in a bid to understand the issues the UK charity sector face. The former actress has also been carrying out engagements with Harry and touring the UK before her royal wedding in May.