UK & World News
Prince Harry Leaves Big Freeze For Polar Trek
Prince Harry has emerged from a giant freezer where he spent the night in preparation for a charity polar trek.
He joked it was a cold night's sleep after spending 20 hours in a giant freezer to simulate the gruelling conditions he will face on the 208-mile South Pole trek this winter.
Emerging from the huge testing facility, in which temperatures dropped to as low as -55C (-67F) with wind-chill, the 29-year-old blew into his hands and rubbed them together to warm up as he chatted with his teammates over tea and biscuits.
The cold chamber is based at Mira in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where cars and military vehicles are put through their paces, and simulates blizzards, high winds, and sudden extreme temperature drops.
When asked what the worst part had been Harry, patron of the Walking With The Wounded charity, said: "Going in."
The Prince is to race with a team of injured British servicemen and women against US and Commonwealth groups.
Alongside his four teammates - all of whom have amputated limbs after sustaining injuries in Afghanistan - Harry practised with the clothing he will wear on the expedition and learned how to avoid frost-nip and frost-bite in the inhospitable climate in Antarctica.
The Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge will begin in late November and last around 15 days. The teams will trek between nine miles and 12 miles each day.
Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard, star of True Blood, will head the US team, while English actor Dominic West, star of hit series The Wire, will race alongside the Commonwealth team.
Harry, who took part in the Walking With The Wounded trek to the North Pole in 2011 for five days, is patron of the Antarctica expedition.
He missed out on an attempt to conquer Mount Everest with the group last year because of his military commitments, and he withdrew early from the successful North Pole expedition to attend his brother's wedding.
On the latest exercise, Harry shared a tent with Captain Ibrar Ali, 36, who lost his right arm in a roadside bomb blast in 2007, and Major Kate Philp, who chose to have her left leg amputated after her Warrior armoured vehicle struck an IED (improvised explosive device) in Musa Qala in Helmand Province in 2008.
Maj Philp, from Knightwick in Worcestershire, said Harry was a "good extra pair of hands" during the training exercise.
The 35-year-old Royal Artillery officer said having the prince with the team was "great".
"He's experienced at this, having spent some time at the North Pole also," she said.
"He knows what he's doing. He's got his military training, and it's very, very easy, so he's a good extra pair of hands."
Asked if Harry mucks in with the team, she said: "Oh God, absolutely. We wouldn't let it be any other way and he wouldn't want it to be any other way.
"It's great having Harry along, and hopefully he appreciates it too. It's a chance not just for him to experience all the practical stuff that we've just done as well, but for us to get together as a team and start to get to know each other better."