During the recording - broadcast during the “Total Ops Connection” programme from Camp Bastion and heard by a worldwide audience of forces personnel - he says he wants to let Britain's service men and women "know that you are all very much in my thoughts and prayers at this time of year."
His Royal Highness is Colonel-in-Chief of four regiments currently serving in Afghanistan (at the time of the recording.) The recording took place at St. James’s Palace, London. During the recording he wore an Army Air Corps Tie and four lapel badges (from left to right on the photograph) The Royal Gurkha Rifles, The Mercian Regiment, The Royal Dragoon Guards and The Parachute Regiment.
In his message the Prince pays tribute “to the extraordinary contribution made by those of you who belong to our Armed Forces, in all sorts of different parts of the world. Nowhere is your fortitude and relentless courage more clearly on display than in Afghanistan, where your resilience, patience and determination to see the job through, usually in impossibly difficult conditions and circumstances is, quite simply, humbling.”
The Prince adds: “As a result of the regular reports I receive from my Regiments serving in Afghanistan - and even occasionally from my family members, I am well aware of the discomfort and privations you all endure with seemingly endless reserves of good humour. In addition to the intense heat and dust of the summer and the freezing winters, you face the constant terrifying threat of IEDs, attacks from rockets, grenades and small arms fire almost every day and sometimes these attacks come from infiltrators hidden among those who are supposed to be working alongside you as allies. And yet you all seem to bounce back in an almost unbelievable way, despite the setbacks and vicious insurgent attacks.”
And the Prince refered to how families miss their loved ones at this time of year. “With two sons currently serving in the Armed Forces, one of whom is with you all out there, I really do have at least some understanding of what your loved ones on the “home front” are going through. They are clearly missing you deeply, particularly at this time of year, and they are constantly thinking and worrying about you.”
And the Prince encourages servicemen and women, including Prince Harry, to write more letters home. As there is perhaps “some small consolation in occasional opportunities to speak on the welfare telephone, to Skype, to post on Facebook, to send E-blueys or, in the case of my younger son to receive a very rare and precious letter in answer to mine! And don’t forget that a letter will one day be a very valuable historical document, treasured by families and by those who come after us.”