Prince Harry gives up his seat in flypast tribute for Battle of Britain veteran

The royal stepped aside to ensure veteran Tom Neil could take part in the anniversary commemorations
Prince Harry

Prince Harry marked his 31st birthday today by giving up his seat in a historic flypast commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, to allow a WWII veteran to take his place in the cockpit.

The royal was supposed to be in one of four two-seater Spitfires taking part in the anniversary flypast. However, when one of the planes was grounded for mechanical issues, Prince Harry gave up his seat to ensure 95-year-old wing commander Tom Neil could still take part in the commemorations.

As the planes flew overhead to mark the anniversary, Harry looked content to celebrate the special moment from the ground instead, capturing footage from the flypast on his phone. After the pilots landed, he was there to welcome Mr Neil back.

“He’s a lovely man,” Mr Neil said of Harry.

“It was delightful. It was nice to be back in a Spitfire again,” he told The Mirror.

For his part, Harry said he felt “unbelievably fortunate and lucky” to be at the event – which marks the biggest gathering of aircraft since WWII – on his birthday. The royal also caused a stir by debuting a new bearded look at the flypast, a departure from his usual clean-shaven style.

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