Prince Harry trains for charity polar trek in freezer

Prince Harry in cold chamber ahead of South Pole trip

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Prince Harry has spent a night in a sub-zero Army test facility to acclimatize for a charity polar trek.

He will join disabled British veterans in a 200-mile race to the South Pole against US and Commonwealth teams.

The race is organised by the Walking With The Wounded charity. Harry previously took part in their fund-raising walk to the North Pole in 2011.

When asked how he felt, the prince said it had been a cold night's sleep, and the worst part was "going in".

Harry, along with four colleagues who all lost limbs in Afghanistan, were subjected to ambient temperatures of -35C and wind speeds of 45mph as they spent 20 hours in the sub-zero facility at Nuneaton in Warwickshire, which is more commonly used for testing cars and military vehicles.

Prince Harry and his team-mates The participants were closely monitored throughout the night

They simulated the kind of exercise they will have to do during the race by riding bikes and using cross-trainers, before the temperatures were turned down and the wind was turned up.

Team member Major Kate Philp, from Knightwick in Worcestershire, who lost a leg on active service, said his Army background made Harry a good team-mate.

"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... so he's a good extra pair of hands."

Major Philp, who still serves with 3 UK Division Bulford, Wiltshire, said turning down the temperature had been "pretty cheeky, but it was fantastic training."

'Reality dawning'

When asked if the prince was treated just like any other team member, 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."

The race begins in two months' time, and Major Philp said the training exercise had helped them from a practical point of view, and also as a bonding experience.

"It seemed very easy from the beginning, but it's certainly even more comfortable the more time we spend together," she said.

"The reality is definitely dawning now, and certainly having experienced what we've just experienced here at Mira [the test facility], it's really put it into sharp focus for us."

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