A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the War Horse UK premiere

Published 08 January 2012

Hardly a family in the country went unscathed.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. What a fantastic film that was!

I know I join with everyone here in congratulating Dreamworks and Disney on a superb rendering of War Horse.

Michael Morpurgo’s classic story takes us back to a desperate time in our Island history. The Great War has left an indelible scar on our national consciousness. So many of those Servicemen who survived the carnage of that conflict were changed forever. The sacrifices they and their comrades made are almost too great for us to comprehend – even in this age of wars. Hardly a family in the country went unscathed.

But from this shared experience was born a general awareness of our veterans, and the debt we owe them. As a direct result, such great organisations as The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress came into being. They, and others like them, continue their work today, looking after our Servicemen and women, helping them come to terms with what they have experienced, enabling them to get on with their lives in a positive way.

To support this vital process of transition, Catherine, my brother Harry, and I are delighted that our Foundation will be working in partnership with the newly formed Forces in Mind Trust. Together, our aim is to provide a cohesive approach to tackling the many problems that some ex-service personnel and their families experience when making the move back into civilian life. Whether through finding new opportunities in employment, in mentoring and training, or in support to families, it is our intention that no Serviceman or woman - or their dependents - should fear a future out of uniform.

Giving them this confidence, and the opportunity to develop their extraordinary skills and talent for the benefit of wider society, is the very least our Country owes them.

I would like to thank the confederation of British service and ex-service organisations and the Big Lottery for making Forces in Mind become a reality.

On behalf of the Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen who attended the premiere, it just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Disney and Dreamworks, and tonight’s generous individual donors, for such a wonderful occasion.

Thank you and have a great evening.