Harry more at ease as captain than prince

Juggling army, royal and charitable commitments with his personal life was “exhausting”, he admitted.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Harry in Afghanistan: ‘Anyone in this position would hope you are not hated'” was written by Caroline Davies, for The Guardian on Monday 21st January 2013 20.05 UTC

Working in Afghanistan was “as normal as it’s going to get”, Prince Harry said in a series of frank interviews offering a rare glimpse into the different roles demanded of him.

The current third in line to the throne described having “three mes”: “one in the army, one socially, in my own private time, and then one with the family”. But his attempts to reconcile them all were not helped by media that wrote “rubbish”, and of whom the 28-year-old royal obviously harbours a long-standing distrust.

In comments giving an insight into his relationship with his father, the 28-year-old said the Prince of Wales “is always trying to remind me about who I am”, and admitted he did not always get it right.

The photographs of him cupping his genitals, taken during a game of “strip billiards” at a Las Vegas hotel, were published shortly before his army deployment, marked one such time. “At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let people down,” he said. It was, he said, ” a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince. It’s as simple as that”.

Having last year undertaken his first solo tour – to Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil – and having also been chosen as a figurehead for the London Olympic Games’s closing ceremony, his royal engagements diary is becoming increasingly packed.

But, with a higher profile comes greater opportunity for mishap. “Certain people remind me, ‘Remember who you are, so don’t always drop your guard,” he said.

Working in Afghanistan was “as normal as it’s going to get” and he is “definitely” more at ease with being Captain Wales than Prince Harry. “It’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army. Everyone’s wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing.”

The Apache helicopter CPG (co-pilot gunner) said he was able to “flick a switch” between his roles, but “army comes first. It’s my work at the end of the day”.

The fact he had been selected for the Apache co-pilot gunner course appeared to have surprised the prince, not least because he lacked academic qualifications.

“When it was decided, it was never expected,” he said, as he was a “non-grad[uate] obviously not going to university, therefore the army presume you to be less intelligent, which is nice of them – probably true. But there were a couple of us that got pushed through to the front seat instead of the back.”

Exams at school were “always a nightmare” and he had been “absolutely useless” at them “from stage one of my youth”, he said. The prince had needed to repeat a year at his prep school Ludgrove to get into Eton, and his GCSE results have not been published. Claims that an art teacher helped him to cheat in his A-level coursework overshadowed his B grade for the subject and he was awarded a D in geography.

But he excelled throughout his 18 months of helicopter training, and believes his prowess on the PlayStation and Xbox – he was ranked second in his unit at Fifa 13 PlayStation – had contributed.

Juggling army, royal and charitable commitments with his personal life was “exhausting”, he admitted. But because his professional life was mostly kept behind closed doors, the public read only about his royal engagements and private life. “So, whenever anybody sees me, they presume I’m off gallivanting somewhere.”

He believes he has been unfairly criticised in the press. Of the Las Vegas incident, he said that “I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy”.

The photographs, which were published on the internet and by the Sun, who ignored a request not to from St James’s Palace, triggered a web campaign in which troops, their wives and others showed solidarity by posting naked pictures of themselves on Facebook and other sites.

But Harry was infuriated by the hypocrisy of the media who printed it at the time, only to print later that his actions were understandable, given he was shortly to be deployed to Afghanistan. “Well, the papers knew that I was going out to Afghan anyway, so the way I was treated from them I don’t think that is acceptable”.

Of his mistrust of the press, he said sharply, “I think it’s fairly obvious how far back it goes. It’s when I was very small.”

“My father always says, ‘Don’t read it’. Everybody says, ‘Don’t read it, because it’s always rubbish.’ Of course I read them. If there’s a story and something’s been written about me, I want to know what’s being said. But all it does is upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do. Not just about me, but about everything and everyone.”

It mattered to him what the public thought about him. “But they are two very different things – what the public think and what the media think … anyone in this position would hope that you’re not hated by the people.”

Citing reports he had texted his congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their pregnancy announcement and sent a letter to Kate, he said he had a chat with the couple, but had not sent a letter. “How any of the papers think they know the relationship between myself and my sister-in-law is quite remarkable. But they’re wrong, as always.”

Of the couple’s early pregnancy announcement, made because the duchess had been admitted to hospital with acute morning sickness, he said: “I think it’s very unfair that they were forced to publicise it when they were, but that’s just the media for you”. He “seriously” hoped that “she gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother-to-be to enjoy the privacy that that comes with”.

A report, in some newspapers, comparing his role to that of a Second World War Spitfire pilot, sitting around waiting to be scrambled, also irked. “I don’t know who quoted that. I think it was probably the Sun newspaper, but because we haven’t got mobile phones out here they obviously can’t bug our phone so they don’t know what we’re saying,” he said.

Harry said his next challenge was to join a group of injured servicemen taking part in the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge, a race between teams of armed forces personnel from Britain, the US and the Commonwealth.

As for his own personal life, he gave little away, except that it would probably be some time before he settled down. “If you find the right person and everything feels right, then it takes time, especially for myself and my brother. You ain’t ever going to find someone who’s going to jump into the position that it would hold.”

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