It took only 13 minutes to climb but it was his personal mountain.
On the eve of the fourth running of his Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the Duke of Sussex scaled the 464 steps to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The official Games flag he unfurled, 440ft above the water, flapped in the breeze as Gwen Cherne gave him a hug.
She was one of three representatives from Team Australia who accompanied him to the summit. Her husband had served in Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq, but took his life in February this year.
Today’s opening ceremony, in front of Sydney Opera House, sees her installed as an ambassador for the Games, which will see 500 competitors in 11 sports, over 10 days. But as she walked on to the central walkway of the bridge, Ms Cherne was in no doubt about the stars of the show were.
Referring to the Duke and his pregnant wife, she said: “I think they provide this beacon of hope and light for so many.
“They’re touching, they’re shining that interest on the Games, and that shines light on their service and that shines light on the sacrifices their families make.”
Meghan’s condition dictated that she did not accompany her husband to the top of the bridge.
Her place was taken by Ms Cherne, who said: “I was humbled by the opportunity to spend that time with him and grateful for all he is doing given his place in the world.”
The New South Wales flag is only rarely supplanted on top of the bridge, and the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, accompanied Harry on the climb – making it to the summit before him.
Close behind was Captain Ruth Hunt, an indoor rower and swimmer, who said Harry was “just keen to have a normal chat”.
“It was awesome,” she said. “We’re the only three people in the world who are going to have had that experience. It’s one for the history books.”
Luke Hill, a swimmer, who was deployed to Timor-Leste – the former East Timor – three times, said the Duke, who has proclaimed his “favourite time of the year is the Games”, asked the athletes about their experiences of the Invictus journey.
“I just wanted to thank him for the opportunity, for putting all that effort in, that self-exploration to come up with this idea and then put it into action,” said Mr Hill – who added that he was “puffed” after the climb.
“He also highlighted the fact that Invictus isn’t about the medal. We are really there just to form a community that supports itself.”
Earlier, Harry and Meghan visited another Sydney landmark, kicking off their shoes on Bondi Beach. They met representatives from a group tackling mental health issues and then visited Macarthur Girls’ High School to discuss social justice and youth empowerment.
The Duchess told the pupils that her first job, taking out the rubbish, had helped to shape her character.
She said: “My first job when I was 14, I remember taking out the trash, all sorts. It gives you a good work ethic, right?”
Harry, who is now said to identify as a feminist, told the girls he wants men to add their voices to the fight for equality.
“Men can help as well by getting involved, we have to,” he said. “We need to get men’s voices involved as soon as possible.”