Prince Harry walks away from Everest expedition
Published 03/02/2012 | 08:54
Prince Harry, who joined wounded servicemen on an expedition to the North Pole last year, has been forced to turn down their upcoming attempt on Everest.
When Prince Harry last saw the group of wounded servicemen he joined on their expedition to the North Pole last year, he told them: “See you on the next one.”
It was widely interpreted that the Prince had every intention of enlisting for the group’s attempt on Everest in May, and I was told by Mollie Hughes, the 21-year-old mountaineer who plans her own ascent that month with Kenton Cool, provisional plans had been put in place.
The conditions on the world’s highest mountain mean, however, that the window of opportunity for making a successful climb is a relatively narrow one — March and May are regarded as the optimal months — and the Prince’s diary this year doesn’t allow for a huge amount of flexibility.
Now, reluctantly, he has had to accept that the mission is going to be impossible for him. His spokesman tells me: “He won’t be going to the Himalayas because of his military commitments. Naturally he is very disappointed that he won’t be able to join the Walking With The Wounded team.”
The Army has always had first call on the Prince’s time and he already has a number of commitments in his diary, not least some of the celebrations for his grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and his first official solo tour, taking him to Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas.
Prince Harry struck up a quick rapport with the group of wounded servicemen that he joined for four days last April on their successful trip to the North Pole. “I think for me, personally, I’m hugely proud to be a British soldier, to walk alongside these guys,” he said. “What these guys have done — and what they will continue to do throughout their lives — is just truly inspirational.”