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Prince Harry was determined to reconnect with his old military pals.
The Duke of Sussex, who had to give up his military titles after stepping back as a senior royal, secretly met with some friends who are stationed at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, The Sun reported on Sunday.
“Harry has just been himself with them, larking around and enjoying a joke or two, like they used to,” a source claimed.
According to the outlet, it is believed the friends are Americans whom the 36-year-old met years ago while undergoing military training. Harry reportedly took part in a helicopter gunship training at a US military base in California in 2011, followed by a live-fire exercise in Arizona.
A photograph made available on February 28, 2008, shows Britain’s Prince Harry on patrol through the deserted town of Garmisir close to FOB Delhi (forward operating base), in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, on January 02, 2008.
(JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
“Harry has kept in touch with them so when they knew he was moving to the States they invited him to come and see them,” a source alleged to the outlet. “He’s made informal visits to the air base where they are and they’ve been out for drinks in their ‘down time.’”
Harry served in the British army for a decade, including on the front line in Afghanistan, and retains a close bond with the military. He founded the Invictus Games competition for wounded troops, which was first held in 2014 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In February, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will not be returning to royal duties.
The palace said Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups would revert to Queen Elizabeth II before being distributed to other members of the family.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watches an anti-poaching demonstration exercise conducted jointly by local rangers and UK military deployed on Operation CORDED at the Liwonde National Park during the royal tour of Africa on September 30, 2019, in Malawi.
(Photo by Dominic Lipinski – Pool /Getty Images)
“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the palace statement read.
The Invictus Games Foundation said Harry would remain its patron.
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Harry in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former “Suits” star, 39. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, Calif.
The Duke of Sussex served in the British army for a decade, including on the front line in Afghanistan.
(Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
In the wake of quitting royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Oprah Winfrey in March, in which the couple described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.
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On June 4, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The child is eighth in line to the British throne.
The name pays tribute to both Harry’s grandmother the queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet, as well as his late mother, Princess Diana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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