Prince Harry becomes emotional over sentimental gift from wounded US Marine

Prince Harry Greets Wounded Veterans at Buckingham Palace
Prince Harry Greets Wounded Veterans at Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry became emotional when a wounded US Marine gifted him a lost colleague's dog tags.

Marine Kirstie Ennis met the royal at the end of a marathon 1,000 mile trek across the United Kingdom, called "Walking With the Wounded."

Ennis was severely injured in Afghanistan after her helicopter crashed in 2012. The wounded Marine was set to have her leg amputated below the knee this summer, but put the surgery off so she could trek a marathon charity walk across the United Kingdom with fellow US Marine, Andrew Bement and four British ex-servicemen, People reported.

At their last stop, the American woman gifted the prince, who is also a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, with a poignant memento -- the dog tags of one of her fallen comrades. Ennis had brought 24 other dog tags with her on trip and left them in various locations across the UK

The wounded Marine had originally planned to leave the last tag at Buckingham Palace, but when she encountered Harry, Ennis knew she had to take advantage of the meeting.

Overwhelmed, the emotional Marine placed the necklace into the royal's hand.

The gesture clearly moved the 30-year-old prince, as well.

%shareLinks-quote="No I can't, I can't accept this." type="quote" author="Prince Harry" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Fighting back tears, Ennis responded to Prince Harry, "Please, you know what this means to me. I want you to."

The prince and the Marine shared a warm embrace, both touched by the sentimental moment.

The tag belonged to Corporal Buane, who fell in the line of duty in 2012 after his unit was hit from an IED blast in Helmand Province.

The 21-year-old corporal from Minnesota, "passed away just 10 days before my helicopter went down and I was injured and the two guys who got blown up with him, Brad and Chris, and are missing their legs now have been part of my own support network in dealing with my own injuries," Ennis told nearby reporters.

She said the close-knit group became her "rocks for a long time":

I look at situations like that, he never came home, he had a wife and a family but he never came home. The six of us here today did come home, we are actually the lucky ones. The least we can do is share their legacy and honor their memory.

Harry was reluctant to accept it at first because he knows how much it means [to me]. He has helped me lay a couple of them and was hesitant to take them as he knows how much it means to me. I told him he had to.

The wounded Marine also noted it was "bittersweet" to complete the 1,000-mile trek:

It was quite painful and there is nothing you can do to prepare for that, even when you are able-bodied, much less when you have debilitating injuries. It was quite the challenge. I have never felt so disabled in my life at times.

But to say that we have done it now, it is a great feeling. We have pushed our limits. I have been here for three months and a huge part of me will be left here when I return home.

See more photos of the sentimental moment between Prince Harry and the veterans:

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