Clarence House announced today (30th November 2004) that Prince Harry would be delaying his entry into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from January 2005 until May 2005 in order to ensure his knee has fully recovered from a recent injury.
An MRI scan on his left knee last week revealed that the bruising that had been troubling Harry for the past few months had completely cleared up. However, to allow time for the knee to regain full strength and to make sure that he is in the right physical shape for Sandhurst, Harry has decided – with the support of his medical advisers and his father – to delay starting his military career for four months until next May.
Prince Harry said: “The specialist has told me my knee has recovered, and with physiotherapy, and strength and conditioning work it should be back to normal soon.
“However, I want to make sure I am 100 per cent physically prepared for Sandhurst, so I have decided to wait until May just to be sure. While I am disappointed that I cannot start as planned in January, I am still very much looking forward to starting my Army career next year.”
Major General Andrew Ritchie, the Commandant at Sandhurst, said today: “Every young man or woman needs to be fully fit when they arrive at Sandhurst in order to succeed on the commissioning course. It is not unusual for officer cadets to delay their arrival for medical reasons, so I fully understand and support Prince Harry’s decision and we look forward to welcoming him here in May.”
Harry first hurt his knee this summer when he accidentally fell down some stairs during training. He subsequently re-injured it in October while coaching rugby to children with the Rugby Football Union.
Dr Rod Jacques, the sports physician who has been treating Harry, said: “Prince Harry developed a bone bruise inside the left kneecap. Following a reduction in his sporting activities this has completely settled, as was shown on the most recent MRI scan taken last week, which also showed no evidence of any other knee injury.
"This week he has started appropriate rehabilitation, under guidance, to build up the strength around the knee with the intention of returning him to full physical fitness. There are no anticipated long-term problems.”
Prince Harry will be spending the period up to Christmas privately. A programme is being put together for beyond the New Year, which will be confirmed in due course.