Prince Harry ‘miserable’ about military titles says expert
Harry was said to be most upset about losing his honorary military appointments during his royal exit negotiations with the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. As the 12-month review for his departure was supposed to be taking place next month, royal watchers speculated that the Duke of Sussex might try to win his prized titles back. While he maintains his promotional titles such as Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, Major in the British Army, and Squadron Leader in the RAF, it’s understood he was devastated about losing his three royal patronages linked to the Army.
He was in the Army for a decade and undertook two tours of Afghanistan, so these titles are undoubtedly close to his heart.
Harry also left the military to focus on his future role as a full-time working royal — just as Captain Mark Phillips once did.
Mark came from a long line of military figures, and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, just like Harry.
He became a Second Lieutenant in the Army, and was promoted to Captain in 1975 — two years after marrying Princess Anne.
Mark even rejected the Queen’s offer of a title, preferring to keep hold of his military title as a Captain.
Prince Harry and Princess Anne’s ex-husband Mark Phillips
Captain Mark Phillips came from a prominent line of military personnel
However, he retired from the Army in 1978 even though was reportedly reluctant to give up his post, according to royal biographer Nicholas Courtney.
He claimed that Mark was “sorry to leave” and that Anne “shared in his disappointment”.
In an extract included in Mr Courtney’s 1984 book, ‘Princess Anne’, the Princess Royal explains: “It was a pity, but it was more or less forced on him.
“If he had been able to do what he wanted to, which was basically stay to command a squadron and then possibly the regiment, I would have been very happy, though I don’t suppose that I would have made a very good colonel’s wife…
“But he was never going to be in a position to do that, and there wouldn’t have been much point in his spending the rest of his life behind a desk in Whitehall.”
Harry was also deeply upset when he retired from the military in 2015, after being promoted to Captain like Mark.
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Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips
At the time, Harry explained: “After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision.
“I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.”
He concluded: “Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career.”
While Harry stepped up his public royal duties after leaving the military, Mark turned his focus to his royal life behind closed doors.
He went on to enroll on an intensive farming course at the Royal Agricultural College of Cirencester instead, and learnt how to turn his Gloucestershire estate with Anne into a farm they could profit from.
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Prince Harry served in the Army for a decade
Harry, Meghan and Archie during a 2019 tour in southern Africa
Mr Courtney explained: “The farm could be made to provide an income, and their horses could be kept and, to a degree, fed.
“A countryman born and bred, he is in his element at Gatcombe.
“He never wanted, nor was indeed able, to run in the ‘Royal Stakes’ and consequently never shone when asked to compete.”
The biographer claimed that Anne was happy for her first husband not to join her on royal engagements.
However, the couple separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992.
Mark Phillips with his daughter Zara – he now lives as a private citizen
Upon his exit from the Royal Family, Mark was able to withdraw completely from royal life and public appearances.
He has since turned his focus to his equestrian career instead, but lives as a private citizen.
This echoes Harry’s departure from the Royal Family last year.
He and Meghan voluntarily left the royal frontline together last March, and Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the two of them are now completely private individuals and separate from the Firm.
‘Princess Anne: A biography’ by Nicholas Courtney was published in 1984 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson and is available here.