Prince Harry ‘miserable’ about military titles says expert
Prince Harry’s hopes to retain his three military patronages appear to have been dashed as the palace stands firmly behind its plans to reassign them to other royals, according to a royal commentator. During the summit in Sandringham in mid-January last year, the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William agreed with Harry the terms of his and Meghan Markle’s exit as senior royals.
As announced by Buckingham Palace in a statement released following the meeting, the Duke of Sussex was required to “step back from royal duties, including official military appointments”.
However, the Queen appeared to leave the door open to a possible return of his grandson in 12 months, with the palace saying she would not fill these positions until the end of the so-called Megxit transition period.
Now, as the end of March is fast approaching, a friend of Prince Harry has told the Daily Telegraph the Duke “wants to keep” these military patronages, as his military work is particularly important to him.
However, royal expert Rebecca English said it doesn’t look like the palace was keen on granting this wish to the Duke of Sussex.
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Speaking about the pending decision on his three military patronages, Ms English said during MailPlus’ Palace Confidential: “That was the one issue after the Sandringham summit that was yet to be resolved.
“Obviously the couple was told they would have to give up most of their links and patronages but Harry, as someone with a 10-year service under his belt, two tours in Afghanistan, and he set up the Invictus Games, he is very passionate about the work he does with the military.
“And the Queen agreed to let him keep his three honorary military titles in abeyance, until the 12-month probation period was up.”
Commenting on the claim the Duke is determined to fight to retain his three honorary military titles, Ms English added: “I’ve spoken to Buckingham Palace, who are not commenting on the record, but the definite guidance is that they don’t feel their position has changed.
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“There really does need to be a clean break and Harry will have to relinquish those titles as well.”
Adding this could create further tensions between the Sussexes and the palace after a bitter exchange on Archie’s birth certificate, Ms English said: “So it does seems there could be another spat on the horizon, and again I think that’s something the monarchy and also Meghan and Harry don’t need.”
Following the Sandringham summit last year, Meghan and Harry issued a lengthy statement in which they detailed the terms agreed with Buckingham Palace.
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Mentioning the military patronages, the Sussexes said: “In relation to the military, the Duke of Sussex will retain the rank of Major, and honorary ranks of Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader.
“During this 12-month period of review, The Duke’s official military appointments will not be used as they are in the gift of the Sovereign.
“No new appointments will be made to fill these roles before the 12-month review of the new arrangements is completed.
“While per the agreement, the Duke will not perform any official duties associated with these roles, given his dedication to the military community and ten years of service he will of course continue his unwavering support to the military community in a non-official capacity.”
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Prince Harry served in the Army between 2005 and 2015, a decade during which he also fought twice in Afghanistan.
Early into his service in the Armed Forces, the Duke was appointed Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.
Two years later, in 2008, he was given the title of Honorary Air Commandant.
And in 2017 he succeeded his grandfather Prince Philip as Captain-General of the Royal Marines.
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Prince Harry reiterated his unwavering support to the military on February 1, at a brief High Court hearing during which his lawyer read a statement which officially ended the libel case won by the Duke against Associated Newspapers.
Harry’s legal representative said after he officially stepped down as senior royal, the Duke “has maintained active links with those forces ever since and will continue to do so in the future”.
She added: “The Duke’s commitment to the men and women who have put their lives on the line, to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and to military families, is steadfast and unquestionable.”