IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Prince Harry to vets in Virginia: 'Afghanistan changed the direction of my life'

Prince Harry has long been passionate about supporting injured servicemen and women. He's the patron of the Invictus Games, a multisport event for wounded veterans that he launched in 2014, and just last month, he helped build homes for U.K. vets in need.

But on Wednesday, Harry brought his passion across the pond.

The royal, who retired from the British Army in June, joined First Lady Michelle Obama to visit wounded members of the military at Virginia's Fort Belvoir.

Britain's Prince Harry hugs U.S. Marine Sgt. Roderic Liggens in the music room during a tour of the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va, Oct. 28, 2015.

"I am in no doubt that my two deployments to Afghanistan changed the direction of my life," Harry said while at Fort Belvoir. "There is very little that can truly prepare you for the reality of war. The experiences can be stark and long lasting."

Britain's Prince Harry, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden tour the USO Warrior and Family Center at the Fort Belvoir military base, Oct. 28, 2015, at Fort Belvoir, Va.


Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, was also on hand as Harry toured the USO Warrior and Family Center, a facility that offers assistance to injured or ill troops and those who care for them.

Britain's Prince Harry, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and Marine Sgt. Roderic Liggens of Washington, greets  marines as he tours the USO Warrior and Family Center at the Fort Belvoir military base, Oct. 28, 2015 in Fort Belvoir, Va.

The prince will also be in Washington later in the day to attend a board meeting for the Invictus Games, which will be held in Orlando this year, and he'll visit with the president.

During his stop at the base, Harry visited a music therapy room to watch a couple Marines jam on a keyboard and electric drums.

Later, the prince, the first lady and Biden sat courtside at a wheelchair basketball game.

Prince Harry greets participants as he enters the Joining Forces Invictus Games 2016 Event at the Wells Fields House on Oct. 28, 2015 in Fort Belvoir, Va.

The sport is one of the events at the Paralympic-style games, which Harry launched in London last year.

During a speech to the athletes, Harry threw out a friendly challenge to his American competitors.

"You better bring it, USA," he said, according to the Associated Press.

Britain's Prince Harry reacts as first lady Michelle Obama makes a comment about the USA's performance in the upcoming Invictus Games Orlando 2016 as they speak to wounded servicemen at Fort Belvoir military base, Oct. 28, 2015 in Fort Belvoir, Va.

Army Specialist Sydney Davis, who battles post-traumatic stress disorder, stressed the importance of sports therapy and the Invictus Games when she spoke to TODAY.

Britain's Prince Harry hands U.S. first lady Michelle Obama the basketball at the end of a game played by wounded warriors at Fort Belvoir, Va, Oct. 28, 2015.

"It pulls you out of that hole that you're in, and you start to see your depression lessen," Davis said.

First lady Michelle Obama passes the game basketball on to a young member of the crowd, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 in Fort Belvoir, Va.

This will be a short visit for Harry, who arrived in the U.S. Tuesday night and will depart Wednesday evening.

The Invictus Games Orlando 2016 will take place from May 8 through 12.

This article first appeared at