Prince Harry’s ‘alienated his second family the military’
Prince Harry’s friends have rushed to defend him after controversy erupted over the Duke disclosing he killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in his tell-all memoir. The 38-year-old discusses his two tours of duty on the frontline in his autobiography Spare, which has seen a flurry of revelations emerge after copies went on sale in Spain ahead of next Tuesday’s release date.
Harry’s claim to have killed 25 people has sparked criticism from senior military figures in the UK and even prompted the Taliban to taunt him as a “big mouth loser”.
But a number of the Duke’s friends have now come out to defend his comments in the tome, which also sees him make a series of claims about the Royal Family.
TV presenter and former Royal Marines commando JJ Chalmers, who met Harry in 2014 and attended his and Meghan Markle’s wedding, tweeted: “Since WW1 pilots recorded their actions.
“In modern warfare it’s ‘literally recorded’, numbers kept, not by the pilot but by those who watch and command them. War is hellish and those who experience it first hand know the context and can ultimately reflect on it as they see fit.”
Veteran Dave Henson, who has competed in Harry’s Invictus Games, retweeted the full passage from the book which includes the quote about killing 25 people.
Harry spent 10 years in the Army including two tours of Afghanistan
Harry reveals he killed 25 Taliban fighter in his book
He said: “Context is everything, and so crucial to support an accurate narrative. Unhelpful to jump on isolated sentences or figures.”
RAF pilot Nathan Jones, who has also taken part in the Invictus Games, added: “Things written out of context can be dangerous for a lot of people. I understand the need for headlines but be careful to not follow it up without the real meaning of what’s been said.
“A lot of people are having some very strong opinions on Prince Harry right now and most without any knowledge of the background of what they’re saying or commenting on. Be careful what you say as words can be incredibly damaging.”
In his book, Harry said he did not think of the Taliban insurgents he killed as “people” but instead as “chess pieces” that had been taken off the board.
He writes: “So, my number: 25. It wasn’t a number that gave me any satisfaction. But neither was it a number that made me feel ashamed.
The royal two tours of duty on the frontline in Afghanistan
Spare is published by Penguin Random House next Tuesday
“Naturally, I’d have preferred not to have that number of my military CV, on my mind, but by the same token I’d have preferred to live in a world in which there was no Taliban, a world without war.”
But the former soldier’s Taliban kill claim has prompted an intense backlash.
Colonel Tim Collins, known for giving an inspirational battle speech on the eve of the 2003 Iraq invasion, told Forces News: “Amongst his assertions is a claim that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan. That’s not how you behave in the Army; it’s not how we think.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, wrote in the Telegraph that the Montecito-based Duke “should talk less”.
General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of Joint Forces Command, said “you don’t talk about these things”.
Spare by Prince Harry will be released by publishers Penguin Random House on January 10 2023.
The tell-all memoir, which was ghostwritten by Pulitzer Prize winner J R Moehringer, promises to be packed full of explosive revelations and insight into the Royal Family – and there’s even an audiobook read by the Duke of Sussex himself.
You can buy your copy of Spare on Amazon.
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Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee and a former British Army captain, said: “There should be no pride taken in scalps accumulated in any battles.”
Lord Kim Darroch, former National Security Adviser, told Sky News that “he would have advised against” Harry offering such details.
Ben McBean, who lost an arm and a leg serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan in 2008 and was described by Harry as a “real hero” after they met at several events, told the Duke to “shut up”.
He tweeted: “Love you Prince Harry but you need to shut up! Makes you wonder the people he’s hanging around with. If it was good people somebody by now would have told him to stop.”
Ex-defence secretary Lord Hutton said Harry making the disclosures “diminishes him” and is a “very serious mistake”.
Harry first went to war in 2007 on a 10-week tour of duty fighting the Taliban in dangerous Helmand Province, operating as a battlefield air controller behind enemy lines.
The secret mission – which ended early after it was leaked on the internet – gave him the opportunity to be treated as a real soldier, rather than a prince.
He went on to retain and qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot after rigorous training in Britain and America.
In September 2012, he made it back to Afghanistan for a second time.
The 20-week stint gave him the chance to use his Apache flying skills and head out on operations in his role as co-pilot gunner.