We revealed last week that Prince William has been invited to become Captain General of the 356-year-old corps if the Duke of Sussex does not return from California to resume the role. Major General Julian Thompson, the former head of 3 Commando Brigade who led land forces to successfully retake the Falklands in 1982, said: “The Royal Marines have had sovereigns serving as Captains General since GEORGEV, but the royal link stretches back to James II.
“In that regard, and for many other reasons too, the Duke of Cambridge would be perfect. The Royal Marines deserve someone who is an active participant for the role, someone who lives here.
“The point is to have someone who understands us and protects us. It cannot be done by someone who has decided to make his life in Los Angeles. It matters.”
He recalled the dedication with which Prince Philip carried out the role, which he performed for 67 years. “The Duke of Edinburgh was very motivated and involved himself as much as he could,” said Gen Thompson.
“When he did so, he was one of the boys. He’d often share jokes and we all felt both immensely proud and, at the same time, at ease in his company.”
He said Philip spent the day in Portsmouth on July 13, 1982 welcoming home the amphibious assault vessels HMS Fearless and Intrepid, which carried the remnants of the brigade back from the South Atlantic.
Prince Philip passed on the baton of Captain General to Harry in 2017. However, Buckingham Palace had to broker a 12-month review earlier this year following his decision to split from the Royal Family and live in North America with Meghan and their young son Archie.
Though still nominally Captain General of the Royal Marines, under the terms of the deal, he is not allowed to participate in ceremonial engagements until the review period finishes in April.
However, last week the Sunday Express revealed how, in anticipation of finding “no reason to alter current arrangements” next year, senior Royal Navy chiefs have decided to already approach Prince William to take over.
Last night former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West added: “Prince William is a future king of this country and as such the Royal Marines would be very proud to have him in that role.”