Proud Prince Harry dons his medals for video presentation of Soldier of the Year award to combat medic

26 April 2024, 11:05

Prince Harry dons his medals to present a soldier of the year award to US combat medic
Prince Harry dons his medals to present a soldier of the year award to US combat medic. Picture: Service Members of the Year

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Harry has donned military medals in his sunny Montecito home to give a soldier an award - despite being stripped of his titles.

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In a 'special presentation' filmed outside the back door of his Californian mansion, the Duke of Sussex paid tribute to his "friend" Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks - who he described as a "beacon of inspiration".

The four-time Invictus Games gold medalist and five-time Paralympic medalist, 33, suffered bilateral hip injuries while deployed in Iraq in 2010, after joining up aged just 17.

Prince Harry wears his medals in ceremony video

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Harry recorded the video tribute for an awards ceremony hosted by the Military Times news site, which Marks attended in person.

The prince wore a suit, red tie and four British Army medals in the sun-bathed clip.

Pinned to his chest during the ceremony, were his Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan, which he earned in 2008 for his service in Helmand Province.

He also showed off his Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, which was awarded in 2002 to everyone who had been in active service for five years, and his Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, which was given to members of the emergency services, Armed Forces, prison service, and the royal household in 2012.

Finally, he wore his Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks, 33, (pictured) suffered bilateral hip injuries while deployed in Iraq in 2010, after joining up aged just 17
Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks, 33, (pictured) suffered bilateral hip injuries while deployed in Iraq in 2010, after joining up aged just 17. Picture: US military

Thanking SFC Marks for her service, he said: "Ellie - you embody the Invictus spirit through your selfless service. You know that sport doesn't just save lives, it transforms them for the better.

"To me, she epitomises the courage, resiliance and determination represented across our service community. And this is not just because of her swimming abilities.

"Ellie has courageously overcome every obstacle to cross her path. She has turned her pain into purpose and led through compassion and willpower, showing others that the impossible is indeed possible.

"Despite the injuries she endured during her deployment as a medical assistant in Iraq – along with numerous surgeries and setbacks that would have deterred many – she has persevered tirelessly, becoming the first woman in the Army’s world-class athlete program as well as the first swimmer the program had ever seen.

"She’s also taken her recovery a step further, using her experiences and achievements to inspire and assist others in their mental and physical journey into sport, ensuring those who can’t see a way out or through are introduced to the medicine of sport that saved her too."

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