Prince Harry announced Tuesday he is to leave the British army after 10 years’ service that has seen him fight on the front line twice in Afghanistan.
The 30-year-old said it had been a “really tough decision” to conclude his military service in June, but added that he was looking forward to a new chapter in his life.
His decision will come as a surprise to many royal-watchers as the prince was living out his boyhood dream and seemed quite content with the army life.
Harry, who will be nudged down to fifth in line to the throne by the birth of his brother Prince William’s second child in April, will end his military service after a four-week secondment to the Australian Defense Force (ADF) in April and May.
“I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities,” he said, in a statement released by his Kensington Palace official residence.
After his time with the Australian army, the prince will undertake an official tour of New Zealand, and then spend time doing voluntary conservation work in sub-Saharan Africa.
Before the end of the year, he then will begin volunteering with the British Ministry of Defense’s recovery program, supporting the rehabilitation of wounded service personnel.
The younger son of the heir to the throne Prince Charles and the late Diana, princess of Wales, Harry is keeping his long-term options open, and will continue to carry out part-time royal duties on behalf of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.