“Are you ever going to be king?” he was asked by a student during the filming of a children’s TV show last Tuesday.
Harry laughed. “That’s the question everybody wanted, let’s be honest!” before adding, “You’ll be glad to know, probably not!”
As 9-year-old Tristan of Lambs Lane Primary School in Berkshire looked disheartened, Harry dashed across the school hall and commiserated right along with him. “Oh, look at the disappointment! I love that! I’m going to give you a high-five.”
Later in the day, Tristan said, “I just want Prince Harry to do what he wants, what he really, really wants. I think it would be a fun experience for him to be king. I would love to see him be king.”
Harry spent much of the morning giving out high-fives as he arrived as the surprise guest on Sky Sports’ Game Changers show, which was being filmed in the school a little earlier.
“There’s got to be a focus on the next generation, there has to be, and the beauty of it, though it’s a massive risk from our point of view, is kids will ask whatever they want to ask, they have no inhibitions,” the prince told Sky News of his decision to take part in the children’s TV show. “They have no problem with going up to someone and saying, ‘You’ve got no legs, why?’ and these guys are a little bit upset, a little bit bored of the parents pulling the kids away saying leave the poor man alone, they would much rather tell their story.”
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During the show – which aims to encourage children to get excited about sports through games, challenges and hearing from inspirational sportspeople – Harry, 31, sat with Invictus Games competitors, double amputees Stuart Robinson, 34, and Scott Meenagh, 26, and Mary Wilson, 52, who has multiple sclerosis, as they explained their sports to the kids.
The prince then took part in some wheelchair basketball drills with the students and helped them throw balls at targets – some of which had his face plastered on!
The filming aspect were not without a few hiccups. After at least the third take of his introduction, Harry suggested, “Shall we stick with the first one?”
But he was a hit with his audience. “When you are doing a kids’ TV show, the children know when somebody’s fake and not there for the right reasons,” co-presenter and former Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell said. “They know Prince Harry was there for the right reasons. It will be a day those young people won’t forget.”
Prince Harry talks with young students while filming an episode of Sky Sports “Game Changers”
PA Images / Sipa
At one point, Harry quietly headed over to talk with Craig, 10, who is in a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy. Then they watched a film of wheelchair-athlete Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham doing acrobatic, BMX-style tricks.
“He said, ‘I hope to see you when you do backflips in your wheelchair,’ ” Craig said. “It was cool to meet him in real person. He said, ‘You’re like one of the people who does the Invictus Games.’ ”
Darren Campbell added, “Craig said , ‘It’s so good to see an adult like me’. Even if we have only inspired that one lad, it’s a touching moment. Prince Harry created that and that’s why he’s got so much respect from the guys from Invictus.”
“He’s a gentle person and has a warmth and a genuine friendship towards others,” fellow presenter Di Dougherty said of the prince’s touching moment with the young student. “He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He loves working with children, loves inspiring them – that’s what our show is about, inspiring the next generation.”
She also said the prince would make a perfect TV presenter. “He’d be great. He’s a natural on camera and natural off camera. What he says, he means. He is one of the guys.”
But the students would still like to see him take on another role! “He’s really nice, I’d like to see him as king. He’s really fun,” Madison, 10, who chatted with Harry, said.
Harry will head to the U.S. next month to bring his Invictus Games to Orlando, which will feature more than 500 competitors from 15 nations.
When asked if he’s been surprised by the number of Invictus competitors coming forward with psychological injuries as well, he said: “The Army puts you through a day, two-day course on the way back through Cyprus, which is crucial to everybody. I described it to someone ages ago as one of those slideshows that goes through your mind. If you’ve got a good imagination as well, everything that you see, especially if it’s something that is quite powerful, then that slide is in there; it’s always in there and if you have dark moments in your life, those slides will pop up.
“You know, there are images I’ve been lucky enough not to see, but there have been images that I’ve been unfortunate to see, nothing like some of these guys, but yes, there is a percentage of me being able to relate to exactly what they go through.”
The Game Changers Invictus Special airs Friday at 5 p.m. in the U.K.