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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / TELEGRAPH.CO.UK) — Proudly sporting an England rugby tie, the 26-year-old arrived at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday in glorious autumnal sunshine ahead of the match with New Zealand.
Inside the stadium he met members of the armed forces injured in Afghanistan, exchanging banter about the upcoming game whilst enquiring about their recovery.
The prince, vice patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and patron of the RFU Injured Player’s Foundation, posed for pictures with servicemen who had lost limbs as a result of bomb blasts in Afghanistan.
Some of those he met had only recently returned from battle and are currently undergoing treatment at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham.
Others are patients at the Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Epsom.
Headley Court has recently undergone refurbishment, and the prince appeared keen on seeing the improvements.
“There is a nice pool down there,” he told injured soldiers and their carers. “The facilities down there, I can’t wait to see them.”
Warrant Officer Bob Toomey, the Royal Marine liaison at Headley Court, explained the high esteem in which the prince is held within the armed forces.
He said: “It is utter respect. But you can also feel very relaxed with him. The lads were bantering with him, he was bantering back.
“The lift that this gives the lads, it means so much to them. It is part of their rehabilitation.
“He was talking about their injuries and he couldn’t believe how upbeat they were. He was also talking about England winning.”
After meeting the wounded serviceman, Prince Harry headed off to a pre-match lunch with rugby officials and dignitaries. (*)