Robin King, CEO of the Navy SEAL Foundation, tells PEOPLE that she was "thoroughly impressed" by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took part in the grand opening of the Navy SEAL Foundation’s Warrior Fitness Program West Coast facility on Wednesday, and CEO of the Navy SEAL Foundation Robin King tells PEOPLE that the couple knew their stuff.
"They were absolutely fantastic. They had done a lot of homework on the Navy SEAL Foundation, on the program," King shares exclusively. She adds that Meghan, 42, and Harry, 39, "came prepared, and they were extremely interested in knowing what the program did, what it was going to do and how it's going to impact the community."
She adds, "I was thoroughly impressed with both of them on how much they wanted to engage with the community members to talk about the real issues."
The new 20,000-square-foot facility offers individualized programs for Navy SEALS, Naval Special Warfare warriors and Special Warfare Combat Crewmen to reset the mind, body and spirit, King explains. In addition to physical recovery, they focus on cognitive elements such as dealing with memory loss and word recall as well as community support. King says they anticipate helping over 150 people in 2024.
King says, "The feedback we get on this four- to six-week program is something that I couldn't have predicted when we started. 'Transformational' is the word we hear."
"Our guys spend so many years working through the pain and ensuring that they can just tackle any potential struggle they need to deal with when they are on the battlefield, and this is their opportunity to understand how to reset and down-regulate and get back in touch with all those needs that they have that really should be addressed," she adds.
During Prince Harry and Meghan's visit on Wednesday, they "toured the new state-of-the-art complex, met with service members benefitting from the program and officially opened the facility alongside 250 supporters and participants," according to their Archewell Foundation.
King says Prince Harry was "very invested in the veteran community" and "wanted to understand the cognitive piece and the mental health piece" of the program.
"As someone who had served in the military, he has a close connection to the people he served with," King says, referencing the Duke of Sussex's 10 years in the British Army, which included two tours in Afghanistan. "He's very compassionate towards the veterans and the wounded, ill and injured. He spent some time with our Gold Star and surviving family members, which was just lovely."
King says they pointed out unique elements, such as the artwork all done by SEAL community members, to Meghan and Harry during the tour.
"They're interested in all those aspects," she says. "They just really wanted to know about these families. They wanted to understand what was going on. They asked specific questions like that."
King praises the couple as "very comfortable and very easy to talk to."
And there were some lighthearted moments during the visit, like some jokes about pushups with the team.
"The pushup contest did not happen, but maybe in the future sometime. We'll see," she says.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Prince Harry complemented King on her handling of oversized scissors.
"He thought I handled those scissors very well, which handling big scissors is — I'm not going to run with scissors," she says.
Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Prince Harry and Meghan's visit to San Diego also included spending time with veterans, active duty service members and their loved ones at Camp Pendleton.
During their visit, Meghan and Harry stopped by Operation Bigs — a first-of-its-kind mentoring program dedicated to children of military families, including active duty, veteran and Gold Star families. So far, the program has served more than 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps children and has expanded to over 30 affiliates across the country.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.