Soon-to-be-father Prince Harry might be a bit nervous about what is to come. On Monday the Duke of Sussex met with his old friend JJ Chalmers, a former Marine and new dad while visiting the Institute of Translational Medicine and the Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, which is based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The scar centre, the very first of its kind in the world, is a groundbreaking facility designed to help veterans and the civilians who have been victims of terror incidents, to cope with the psychological and physical impact left by scars.
There, Harry got the chance to meet with Kornelia, Chalmers’ wife and their 5-week-old baby, James.
“It’s your turn next!” Chalmers said to him. Harry simply smiled — looking a bit nervous — as the little one wriggled and cried. Later during his visit, Prince Harry met with Maxine French, 50, a senior auxiliary nurse in the diabetes centre and self-described “No. 1 fan” of Harry, and the two talked about babies as well.
“I just grabbed him and hugged him and gave him a kiss,” she said. “I wished him all the luck in the world with the baby.”
Harry, 34, has always been a supporter of the veterans and this visit just continues his ongoing work in supporting them. Some of the breakthroughs that they are working on here are a pro-healing protein being developed within a new biomaterial gel and the use of laser therapy to correct scars.
Over 6,000 members of the British Armed Forces have been seriously injured or scarred in recent conflicts, and veterans who survive physical injury and go back with scars have a greater risk of experiencing mental health problems. Harry has made it his goal to highlight some of the challenges that veterans face, both physical and psychological.
The new centre will support the creation of customized interventions to help veterans and their families adjust to living with scars.
Before leaving, Harry made his last stop to a workshop run by the UNITS study, whose aim is to better understand the psychological needs of military personnel affected by appearance-altering conflict wounds. The study hopes to recruit more than 200 participants and is being supported by veterans and members of the CASEVAC club, which was formed by and for armed forces personnel wounded in recent conflicts.
More than 6,000 members of the British Armed Forces have been seriously injured or scarred in recent conflicts — the @scarfreeworld centre at @qehbham is a ground-breaking national facility that aims to minimise the psychological and physical impact. pic.twitter.com/GCdoZCeEg0
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 4, 2019
CASEVAC(which was actually kick-started with funds from the Royal Foundation) is one of the collaborators in the Centre of Conflict Wound Research and is working to assist in the advancement of medical science and treatments for all, help other experiencing traumatic injury and provide wounded personnel with the support of a close-knit community.
Earlier in the day, Prince Harry paid tribute to the victims from two terror attacks in Tunisia in 2015. The families of the deceased were consulted on plans for the Sousse and Bardo memorial that Harry visited Monday. The U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office hopes the site will be a place of “remembrance, commemoration and reflection for the families of those injured and killed.”