Prince Harry to receive US honour for using influence to 'change the world'

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surrounded by medal winners during an Invictus Games
-Credit: (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

Prince Harry is set to receive a high honour at this year's Excellence in Sport Performance Yearly awards (ESPY) in the United States for his life-long service and using his influence to "change the world".

At the event, hosted by renowned sports broadcaster ESPN, The Duke of Sussex will be bestowed the Pat Tillman Award for Service. This award recognises individuals from the sporting realm who have notably improved the lives of others.

Harry has received this distinction for initiating the Invictus Games a decade ago. These games offer both physical and mental healing to injured and ill military personnel - including active duty members and veterans.

Previous recipients of this esteemed badge include Marcus Rashford - the Manchester United striker who successfully campaigned for the UK Government to supply free meals to England's vulnerable children during school holidays amidst the Covid pandemic.

ESPN's vice-president of production, Kate Jackson, commented: "It's our privilege to recognise three incredible individuals Steve Gleason, Dawn Staley and Prince Harry. These honourees have used their platforms to change the world and make it more inclusive for marginalised and suffering communities, demonstrating incredible resilience, positivity and perseverance, and we're thrilled to celebrate them at the 2024 ESPYs."

Harry in military fatigues speaking from a podium as he launched the Invictus Games in London in 2014
Harry launched the Invictus Games in 2014 -Credit:PA Archive/PA Images

ESPN underlined that Harry is being celebrated for his "tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport".

In recognition of its global effect, ESPN highlighted that the Invictus Games has "transcended borders and impacted lives across every continent".

The website has confirmed that Prince Harry will be honoured, stating: "During this year's ESPYs, ESPN will recognize exceptional individuals who exemplify courage, perseverance, and service. Among the esteemed recipients is Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, who will be honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service."

Prince Harry, in 2012, in military uniform in the cockpit of an Army helicopter
Harry, pictured in 2012, was in the military for 10 years -Credit:PA Archive/PA Images

The 2024 ceremony in Los Angeles will see tennis champion Serena Williams, friend of the Duchess of Sussex, take on hosting duties. The Pat Tillman Award for Service is named after former NFL player and US Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who tragically lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004.

In May, Harry made a trip to the UK for a special event at St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate a decade of the Invictus Games. Having served on two frontline tours in Afghanistan and spent 10 years in the British armed forces, Harry was stripped of his military patronages by his late grandmother, the Queen, in 2021, a year after he stepped down as a senior working Royal.

In response, the Sussex camp fired back with the statement: "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal". This led to accusations of disrespect towards the Queen and her many years of public duty.

Gleason, a former NFL player who established his Team Gleason charity after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), will be honoured with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. It supports others battling the degenerative disease and successfully advocated for the Steve Gleason Act, ensuring access to speech generation communication technology in the US.

Staley, an Olympic gold-medal winner and head coach of the University of South Carolina women's basketball team, will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. She is recognised for her resilience on the court, advocacy for women's sports and equality, and her efforts in cancer research campaigning.

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