End of Harry’s Army dream: He always yearned for military life and called it his family, now MARK NICOL asks – can any censure be more painful?
- Prince Harry’s honorary roles such will be returned to Queen and redistributed
- Harry will be prevented from wearing full military regalia at official gatherings
- Garments he should no longer wear are understood to include the Blues and Royals frockcoat worn on his wedding day and the Royal Marines dress uniform
Prince Harry will be forbidden by tradition from wearing full military regalia after suffering the bitter blow of losing his honorary appointments with the Armed Forces, it emerged tonight.
With the duke no longer returning as a working member of the Royal Family, his honorary roles, such as Captain General of the Royal Marines, will be returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed among other senior royals.
Harry, 36, will be prevented – if only by tradition – from wearing full military regalia. Should he attend a Remembrance Sunday event he could wear his medals and a regimental beret but not a uniform.
Iin 2005 Prince Harry, then aged only 20, began his officer training. It was widely remarked that the Army became his family. Pictured: Harry during a 1993 visit to the barracks in Hanover (left) and (right) Prince Harry races to scramble an Apache while serving in Afghanistan in 2012
Garments he should no longer wear are understood to include the Blues and Royals frockcoat worn on his wedding day in May 2018 and the Royal Marines dress uniform he wore to the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020, shortly before he stepped down as a senior royal.
Last night, his former commander General Lord Dannatt paid a glowing personal tribute to Prince Harry, saying his heart would always be with Britain’s military community even though he may never be seen in uniform again.
No more Commodore in Chief of Little Ships
The honorary military titles that Prince Harry has lost:
Captain General, Royal Marines
As the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines, Harry was appointed in December 2017, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.
He made numerous visits to the Commando Training Centre in Devon and to Norway for arctic warfare drills.
He made his last appearance in Royal Marines uniform at a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020.
Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington
Appointed by the Queen in 2008 and visited the base on at least three occasions in his formal role.
In 2010 he presented the families of two servicemen killed in Afghanistan with the Elizabeth Cross.
Royal Air Force Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, is the RAF’s centre of Force Protection.
Commodore-in-Chief, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving
Appointed in August 2006 in recognition of the links between the Navy and the Royals.
Opened the £30million Amphibious Centre of Excellence at Devonport Naval Base in 2013.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail Lord Dannatt, a former head of the UK’s Armed Forces, sounded a defiant note on his behalf after the prince’s 16 years of service.
He said: ‘It was a privilege to have enjoyed Prince Harry’s comradeship during the years that he has served his country in uniform.
‘As we say, “You can take someone out of the Army, but you can never take the Army out of them”.
‘I am sure the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force would say the same. I have no doubt that this will be Prince Harry’s emotion.
‘The announcement from Buckingham Palace is welcome in so far as it clears the air about the Duke of Sussex’s future intentions.
‘I fully respect and support the decision that he has made in the best interests of his wife and growing family.
‘The military community will miss his official connections and contributions but I am in no doubt that he will continue to support our serving and veteran soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in a private capacity, especially through the Invictus Games and service charities.’
Back in 2005 Prince Harry, then aged only 20, climbed the ornate steps of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to begin his officer training. It was widely remarked in the following years that the Army became his family.
He subsequently served his country with distinction on the frontline in Afghanistan, both as a soldier on the ground and later as a helicopter pilot.
After Sandhurst Prince Harry commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the Household Cavalry, in 2006. A debate soon began about whether he could deploy with his unit to Iraq.
As he was not directly in line to the throne many senior army figures thought he should go.
Eventually the Ministry of Defence, after drawn-out discussions with Buckingham Palace, was persuaded that he would be a high profile target whose presence would endanger those deployed with him.
News means Prince Harry won’t be allowed to wear the dress uniform he wore on his wedding day (left) and the Royal Marines dress uniform he wore to the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020
Pictured: Prince Harry exits the Australian War Memorial on April 6, 2015 in Canberra, Australia
Lord Dannatt then personally arranged for Prince Harry to serve in Afghanistan. He struck a deal with media outlets for them not to report his presence in return for interviews to be published and broadcast on his return.
The deal held for ten weeks, allowing Harry to experience the brutal realities of warfare.
He served as a Forward Air Controller with a desert reconnaissance unit. In doing so he became the first member of the Royal Family to serve on the frontline since Prince Andrew took part in the Falklands War in 1982 as a helicopter pilot.
While Lord Dannatt last night offered Prince Harry his best wishes, he also sounded a note of caution as the Duke of Sussex starts a new chapter in his life.
He added: ‘Prince Harry will have had to weigh up very carefully everything that was important in his life.
‘Although he cares deeply for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that he has served with and our veterans, especially those who have been wounded, his priority is with his wife and growing family.
‘I fully respect and support the very difficult decision that he has had to make.
‘I wish him well for the future and know that his heart will always be with the British military.’
Harry, 36, will be prevented from wearing full military regalia and stripped of royal patronages
On his return to the UK from Afghanistan Prince Harry was advised to retrain as a helicopter pilot should he wish to go back to the conflict – though secretly few senior officers expected him to pass the necessary selection tests.
But he defied their low expectations, qualifying as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner.
He returned to Helmand Province in September 2012 with the Army Air Corps and duly completed a four-month operational tour.
Harry then focused on veterans’ welfare and helped set up the Invictus Games, a version of the Paralympics for injured military personnel, before retiring from the Army in June 2015.
In December 2017, Harry accepted the role of Captain General of the Royal Marines from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had served in this capacity for a remarkable 64 years.
The prince made a number of visits to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon, and to Norway where Marines practice arctic warfare.
It has been speculated that the Captain General’s role could pass to Prince William or the Princess Royal.
Harry will also relinquish his roles as honorary commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving.
Last night, the Ministry of Defence declined to comment on any issues raised by yesterday’s Buckingham Palace statement on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
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