Prince Harry has urged veterans to use their experiences to support others with their mental health as he launches the Invictus Games single despite the games being postponed.
The Duke of Sussex joined Jon Bon Jovi and members of the Invictus Games Choir at Abbey Road Studios in London as part of his final engagements as a working royal in February.
The singer worked with the choir to re-record one of his songs, Unbroken, to be released to coincide with May’s games in The Hague, Netherlands.
But the duke announced the games would be postponed until next year just a few weeks later, as the COVID-19 outbreak swept the world.
Despite the delay, the song will be available to stream and download from Friday, with one of the choir members saying it will “touch many hearts and be a light during this troubling time”.
Susan Warner, a member of the choir who was seriously injured during an Afghanistan deployment in 2009, said the song offers hope to veterans during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The 61-year-old told the PA news agency: “We hope the single will touch many hearts and be a light during this troubling time for so many people around the world. It just feels like it is so important.
“In life you never know what might open up or what is going to happen. This is a very good example. There we were in Abbey Road Studios and we were singing Unbroken. Then, a month later, here we are.”
She was one of those to recreate the iconic Beatles cover with Harry and Bon Jovi during the visit and added that it was “an honour and privilege” to work with the duke.
In video footage from the Abbey Road visit in February, Harry spoke to veterans about how they help not just other military personnel, but the wider community.
One of them said they give back to the military community, to which Harry replied: “You can now be out in your own community, making a massive difference, because actually, believe it or not, you were given a better toolbox on how to deal with what you have to deal with than a vast majority of civvies.
“So there is this inherent responsibility that stays with you for the rest of your life.
“And I think, especially within the mental health community, everybody always wants to make sure that whatever you’ve been through, you want to make sure no-one else has to go through what you went through.
“Or at least if they have to, then they’ve got the right support. I think that is really important.”
Bon Jovi told Press Association he thought plans to record the single had been scuppered by Harry’s decision to move to Canada with the duchess.
He said: “In light of everything that was happening here now I thought ‘Oh well, there goes that great idea.’
“And the same week that he left here, they got right back to us and said ‘Oh no, we’re coming back and this is the first thing on the docket and he’s doing it.’
“I thought ‘Good for him, this is great’ because it came from such a pure place.
“I just wanted to give back to the people of the UK that have given me so much for almost 40 years.”
The song was originally written by Bon Jovi as a tribute to veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The singer and the prince announced the plans to re-record it in a video on social media which mocked up a text conversation between the two of them.
The single’s release comes as Harry’s wife Meghan confirmed her first job outside the life of a working royal.
Meghan has recorded the voiceover for a Disneynature film, which will be streamed on Disney+ on 3 April, two days after they stop being senior royals.