Meghan Markle and Harry: How Queen decided on a ‘hard Megxit’
Harry has just been completely stripped of all his patronages, including his military ones, after he and his wife Meghan Markle told the Queen they have no intention of returning to life as working royals. The Queen issued a statement which read, “it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service” and confirmed these titles will be redistributed among the remaining royals. Then, in a surprisingly terse reply, the couple said: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Harry is said to have been “emotional” when it was announced he could not hold onto his honorary military appointments, while Meghan reportedly thought the Palace’s move was “so unnecessary” according to the biography Finding Freedom.
The Duke of Sussex served in Afghanistan twice during his decade in the Army, although during the first tour in 2008 he was recalled back to the UK early over concerns for his safety.
The return flight is said to have provided a pivotal moment for the royal rebel.
Biographer Sean Smith claimed: “The flight back to the UK changed everything for him.
“The coffin of a Danish soldier was loaded onto the plane that Harry shared with three injured soldiers, who were all missing limbs.
Prince Harry’s perspective on Army altered forever after return flight from Afghanistan
Harry and Meghan had to give up all of their royal patronages this week
“Despite being a serving officer, he hadn’t seen close up the devastating effects of such injuries.
“He knew then that he needed to help these brave servicemen and others like them to overcome the physical and psychological scars of being wounded in action.”
Mr Smith suggests that this one plane journey might have planted the seed for Harry to later set up the Invictus Games, for injured servicemen and servicewomen in 2014.
It’s worth noting that Harry went on a second tour in 2012 but as an Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot.
He was then recalled back to London as a staff officer to help injured soldiers with their recovery — and it’s in this role that he founded the Invictus Games.
Mr Smith noted that the Games have been key for Harry.
He wrote: “Harry’s obvious delight while watching his fellow servicemen at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London demonstrated that he was leaving his Twenties behind and had grown into an empathetic and caring man.”
Harry in Afghanistan in 2008 during his first tour
Prince Harry trained as an Apache Helicopter pilot in 2012
Despite leaving the Royal Family, Harry’s role with the Invictus Games remains unchanged.
He even donated the winnings from a recent legal battle to the Invictus Games Foundation, and has been the first to announce his disappointment after the international sporting event was postponed once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His dedication to the Armed Forces was also clear when he announced he was retiring, back in 2015.
Harry said: “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.
“Inevitably, most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career.”
Prince Harry on same ‘forced path’ as Princess Anne’s ex Mark Phillips [INSIGHT]
Prince Philip’s brutal take on Cenotaph move amid Harry request [EXPLAINED]
Queen recognised ‘year best forgotten’ amid military chaos with Harry [EXPOSED]
Harry wanted to be a soldier from childhood – pictured at Sandringham training
Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014
Then Chief of General Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, said Harry had “achieved much in his 10 years as a soldier” and that “he has been at the forefront throughout his service” upon his retirement in 2015.
Harry is said to have wanted to serve in the military ever since he was a young boy.
Indeed, he was so disappointed at having to evacuate Afghanistan in 2008 after his location was leaked, that he even contemplated quitting the Army.
Although the Palace had agreed to a media blackout with the British media, an Australian magazine leaked the whereabouts of the then third-in-line to the throne.
The Taliban subsequently announced that they were going to target him, “using all our strength”.
Alarmed at this threat towards both the Queen’s grandson and his fellow soldiers, Harry was immediately withdrawn.
However, it is a testament to his dedication to the military that the Duke of Sussex decided to retrain as a helicopter pilot and return to Afghanistan four years later.
Harry remains dedicated to the Invictus Games in his post-royal life
Harry speaking on how the Invictus Games had been postponed in a group video shared in February
Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote: “The most demoralising aspect of the new deal was his being stripped of his honorary military appointments that had been awarded to him as a senior royal.”
Harry can still wear his medals as he is a retired serviceman.
However, he cannot wear uniform as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington and honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations.
An insider told Finding Freedom: “That’s been a tough pill to swallow and the one that has been most painful for Meghan to witness him go through.”
‘Meghan Misunderstood’ by Sean Smith was published in 2020 by HarperCollins and is available here.
— to www.express.co.uk