A speech by Prince Harry at The Sun Military Awards, 2011

Published 19 December 2011

You are inspirational role models to all young Britons. Your Country is immensely proud of you.

The Duke of Sussex

My Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen and fellow comrades, good evening,‪

It is daunting to stand here before you – and not just because of the number of guns and generals that seem to be pointing at me out of the gloom… ‪I am a young Army officer, a serving soldier. Like my brother, I share many of the same hopes, the same aspirations to go on operations, and the same fears, as all those who serve our Queen and Country. By an accident of birth, though, it falls to 564673 Captain Wales humbly to express - on behalf of my comrades-in-arms and people up and down the country – the admiration we feel for the extraordinary men and women we honour here tonight.

It’s often said of our Armed Forces that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Well, I don’t entirely buy that. Ordinary people don’t run out under withering enemy rocket and heavy machine gun fire to rescue a wounded comrade. Ordinary people – a private soldier in this case - aren't described by their platoon as being 'the rock' who held them together. Ordinary people don't brave monsoon conditions dangling on a winch line to rescue 13 people, each in turn. For that matter, ordinary people don’t put their lives on the line for distant folk, such as the Afghans, who need our help and are now turning their country round because of it. ‪

No. You, the Millies nominees and winners, may feel ordinary - most extraordinary people I've met do. But you're not. Even if you were once, you aren't now.‪There is another group, though, just as extraordinary in their own way as our Award winners - that's our families. I want to make special mention of them tonight. Of course, when deployed on operations, we miss our loved ones dreadfully. In idle moments, they are never out of our thoughts. But, the truth is that there aren't that many idle moments. We're busy. We can focus entirely on what we are doing, on the job at hand. ‪Those we leave behind often have no such luxury. The strength and courage it must take to see your husband or your wife, your father or mother, son or daughter, head off into the unknown – and to support them doing it – I can hardly even imagine. So, to our amazing, brave families, I know I join every single service man and woman in saying from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.‪

It just leaves me also to thank the Imperial War Museum for providing this wonderful venue, and to all those involved in laying on this marvellous evening. ‪Congratulations, Millies Award Winners and Nominees.

You are inspirational role models to all young Britons. Your Country is immensely proud of you.

‪And now it gives me more pleasure than I can possibly express to introduce three hoods and two old has-beens who epitomise everything I’ve been talking about.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Award for Support to the Armed Forces goes to Walking with the Wounded.