Prince Harry’s close friend says he ‘never saw Duke as member of the Royal Family’

Prince Harry: Expert says it’s ‘time to grow up’

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Dean Stott, 44, served in the military alongside the Duke of Sussex, 36, and has opened up on their relationship in the Armed Forces. The pair met at a training base when Harry was just 22-years-old and both went on tours to Afghanistan.

Mr Stott said he did not view Harry any different because he was a member of the Royal Family and only saw him as a soldier and an officer.

They both enrolled in a Forward Air Controllers’ course at a camp in North Yorkshire in August 2007.

Mr Stott explained his friendship began shortly after Harry, who was known as Second Lieutenant Wales, asked a question during the session.

He told PEOPLE magazine: “I sort of made a jokey comment, much to the dismay of the rest of the staff.

“The sergeant major said, ‘You two are partnered up for the six weeks.”

Mr Stott says during that period he got to see a side of the Duke which had never been seen before.

He said: “I never saw Harry as a member of the Royal Family but as a soldier and officer.

“I really got to see the Harry people haven’t seen.

“That’s how we bonded.”

Harry served in the military for 10 years, including two tours of Afghanistan, and rose to the rank of captain.

Mr Stott also climbed the ranks and became a paratrooper to the elite Special Boat Service.

He was discharged from the forces after a parachute accident in 2010 and has stayed in close contact with the Queen’s grandson.

Mr Stott has raised money for the royal’s Heads Together charity and now lives in California – much like Harry and Meghan Markle.

Mr Stott embarked on 14,000-mile bike ride from of Argentina to Alaska in 2018 to help raise money for the mental health foundation.

He completed the journey in a world record time on May 12 – but had the added motivation to get back to attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

Harry and Meghan tied the knot just seven days later at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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Throughout the mission, Mr Stott recalls the goodwill messages he would receive from the Duke as he reached different landmarks.

He said: “Every time I got through a country, I would text [Harry] and let him know.

“He would say, ‘Keep going,’ and send good motivational messages.”
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