Prince Harry’s soldier friend was attacked hours before he was due to receive a medal from Princess Anne.

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David Land, a 19-year-old comrade of Harry, intervened during a fight outside royal residence Windsor Castle, but was left with facial injuries including a shattered cheekbone.

He was due to receive a medal for his work in Afghanistan from Princess Anne – in her capacity of colonel of the Blues and Royals – later that day (05.05.08) but failed to make the ceremony as he was still receiving treatment in hospital.

The ceremony, held in Windsor to honour 170 members of the Household Cavalry Regiment, was witnessed by Harry’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.

A friend of Harry and David said: “Harry was as gutted as anyone to hear what happened. The pair were in attached squadrons in Afghanistan so know each other well from operations.”

Harry served 10 weeks of a proposed four month stint in Afghanistan. His time on the frontline was cut short after a media blackout on his whereabouts was broken.