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Harry's Army friend reveals how the royal helped him woo his future wife as he prepares to escort the prince for wedding with Meghan

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When Corporal of Horse Frankie O’Leary rides through Windsor in full ceremonial kit a week on Saturday, he will not just be playing a key part in the royal wedding procession. He will be repaying a favour.

For the 31-year-old soldier credits Prince Harry with helping him on his own journey to the altar some years ago. ‘He rather kindly helped me get in with a young lady,’ explained Cpl O’Leary yesterday, referring to his days serving as radio operator, cook and tea-maker to the junior officer known in the Household Cavalry Regiment as ‘Mr Wales’.

The young O’Leary was walking back to barracks in Windsor with his then girlfriend, Niina, when a car slowed down and stopped.

The driver lowered the window. ‘See you later, Frankie,’ said Prince Harry affably. ‘See you later, Sir,’ replied O’Leary, as nonchalantly as he could.

Niina was bowled over. ‘I had to scrape her jaw off the floor,’ the soldier laughed, explaining that romance blossomed thereafter. Five years ago, they married.

It was just one of many stories circulating at London’s Hyde Park Barracks, where wedding preparations are now well under way.

In addition to the 800 guests at Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle on May 19, there will be a cast of thousands — including clergy, police and stewards. But for 62 of the 325 members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR), the ceremonial wing of the Household Cavalry, it is rather more personal. For they will be looking after one of their own.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence allowed the cameras to meet a cross-section of all the military personnel earmarked for the occasion, including streetliners from the Royal Navy and the RAF.

The starring role, however, will go to the Household Cavalry, with whom Prince Harry served from 2006 to 2009 before transferring to the Army Air Corps.

Yesterday, they talked of their pride in their old comrade, not just for his service in the regiment but for his subsequent role in creating the Invictus Games for wounded troops.

Soldiers being soldiers, there was the odd joke about falling standards, too. ‘He’s got a very untidy beard,’ joked Cpl O’ Leary, who served with the Prince in Afghanistan in 2007. ‘The Regimental Corporal Major would have him for that!’

All the men, however, voiced their admiration for the Prince’s choice of bride. As Cpl O’Leary put it: ‘He’s pulled a cracker —and he gets to take her home!’

The regiment will provide the Travelling Escort that accompanies the bride and groom on their journey after the service from St George’s Chapel, through the streets of Windsor, on to the Long Walk and up to the castle for the reception.

The regiment will also line the steps of St George’s Chapel and provide the State Trumpeters who will herald the arrival of both........

© Mail Online