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Prince Harry fails to grab attention of pup during speech to veterans

By Helen William

A canine assistant to a former Royal Marine from Northern Ireland managed to upstage Prince Harry yesterday.

Harry was taking part in a veterans' mental health conference in London, where he told the audience that mental health issues are "not a life sentence".

Perhaps the only individual in the room who paid no attention to what Harry was saying was a 19-month-old dog called Cooper.

The golden Labrador, an assistant to former Royal Marine Phil Eaglesham, yawned on stage and stood up to lick his owner in his wheelchair as the prince was speaking.

Corporal Eaglesham, who is originally from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, contracted the debilitating Q fever (Helmand fever) in 2010 during his third tour in Afghanistan.

Cpl Eaglesham said: "Cooper sees when I am anxious and him coming up on my lap was his way of trying to comfort me. He is great and takes away some of the stigma that people have about coming up and speaking to me because I am in a wheelchair."

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