Prince Harry losing his honorary military titles because he has quit royal life will be a ‘big ordeal’ for him, a war hero friend said today.
Burns victim Martyn Compton, who has known Harry for 15 years, said he hopes his friend’s decision to build a new life for himself, Meghan and Archie in Los Angeles will be ‘worth it for him’.
But Mr Compton hinted he can understand why the Queen has cut him loose, saying: ‘I guess it comes down to you can’t be a royal and cash in on it – and the royal family have said that, which is why everything had happened’.
Mr Compton, who was speaking to ITV’s Lorraine, is a former British soldier from the Household Cavalry Regiment who suffered his injuries after an RPG set his vehicle alight in Afghanistan.
Last week he said his friend, who calls a ‘genuinely nice bloke’, may come to ‘regret’ his decision to step back from his royal responsibilities.
Burns victim Martyn Compton, who has known Harry for 15 years, said he hopes his friend’s decision to build a new life for himself and his family will be ‘worth it for him’
Prince Harry speaks to Martyn Compton in 2007, and the pair have enjoyed a long friendship
Prince Harry won’t be allowed to wear the dress uniform he wore on his wedding day (left) and the Royal Marines dress uniform he wore to the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020 with Meghan
When asked about the Queen’s decision to ensure Harry is forbidden by tradition from wearing full military regalia after suffering the bitter blow of losing his honorary appointments with the Armed Forces, Mr Compton said: ‘It’s a big ordeal for him to be able to do that – but he’s obviously looking out for his family.’
Harry is Commodore in Chief of Little Ships no more: The prince’s lost titles
The honorary military titles that Prince Harry has lost:
Captain General, Royal Marines
As the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines, Harry was appointed in December 2017, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.
He made numerous visits to the Commando Training Centre in Devon and to Norway for arctic warfare drills.
He made his last appearance in Royal Marines uniform at a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020.
Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington
Appointed by the Queen in 2008 and visited the base on at least three occasions in his formal role.
In 2010 he presented the families of two servicemen killed in Afghanistan with the Elizabeth Cross.
Royal Air Force Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, is the RAF’s centre of Force Protection.
Commodore-in-Chief, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving
Appointed in August 2006 in recognition of the links between the Navy and the Royals.
Opened the £30million Amphibious Centre of Excellence at Devonport Naval Base in 2013.
When asked if Harry would wish things were different, he said: ‘I guess it comes down to you can’t be a royal and cash in on it – and the royal family have said that which is why everything had happened.’
He added: ‘I’ll watch it [the Oprah interview] out of interest of what’s been said, but yeah it’s going to be a big thing that comes out and there’s obviously a reason why he’s done it by himself.’
Martyn Compton was in hospital for a year after he suffered horrific burns to 75 per cent of his body when his armoured vehicle was blown up by a Taliban in 2006.
He was then shot twice in the leg as he scrambled away from the burning wreckage.
As he lay on the ground, his colleague Corporal Of Horse Andrew Radford thought he was an enemy soldier and raised his rifle to shoot him.
But CoH Radford realised his mistake just before he squeezed the trigger and dashed through enemy gunfire to carry his comrade to safety.
On their return to the UK, Lance Cpl Compton lay in a coma for three months and his saviour was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his heroics.
Martyn has scars all over his body but with some help from a leading surgeon in Harley Street, and has dedicated himself to raising money for charity since his recovery.
Paying tribute to Harry he said: ‘He does a lot for military charities. It comes back to the sort of guy he is. He’s just a normal, caring guy who just so happens to be a royal. He’s supported me in various charities and ventures I’ve done.’
His friend Prince Harry will now be forbidden by tradition from wearing full military regalia after suffering the bitter blow of losing his honorary appointments with the Armed Forces.
With the duke no longer returning as a working member of the Royal Family, his honorary roles, such as Captain General of the Royal Marines, will be returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed among other senior royals.
Harry, 36, will be prevented – if only by tradition – from wearing full military regalia. Should he attend a Remembrance Sunday event he could wear his medals and a regimental beret but not a uniform.
Harry, 36, will be prevented from wearing full military regalia and stripped of royal patronages
Garments he should no longer wear are understood to include the Blues and Royals frockcoat worn on his wedding day in May 2018 and the Royal Marines dress uniform he wore to the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020, shortly before he stepped down as a senior royal.
His former commander General Lord Dannatt paid a glowing personal tribute to Prince Harry, saying his heart would always be with Britain’s military community even though he may never be seen in uniform again.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail Lord Dannatt, a former head of the UK’s Armed Forces, sounded a defiant note on his behalf after the prince’s 16 years of service.
He said: ‘It was a privilege to have enjoyed Prince Harry’s comradeship during the years that he has served his country in uniform. As we say, ‘You can take someone out of the Army, but you can never take the Army out of them’.
‘I am sure the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force would say the same. I have no doubt that this will be Prince Harry’s emotion.
‘The announcement from Buckingham Palace is welcome in so far as it clears the air about the Duke of Sussex’s future intentions. I fully respect and support the decision that he has made in the best interests of his wife and growing family.
‘The military community will miss his official connections and contributions but I am in no doubt that he will continue to support our serving and veteran soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in a private capacity, especially through the Invictus Games and service charities.’
Back in 2005 Prince Harry, then aged only 20, climbed the ornate steps of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to begin his officer training. It was widely remarked in the following years that the Army became his family.
He subsequently served his country with distinction on the frontline in Afghanistan, both as a soldier on the ground and later as a helicopter pilot.
After Sandhurst Prince Harry commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the Household Cavalry, in 2006. A debate soon began about whether he could deploy with his unit to Iraq.
As he was not directly in line to the throne many senior army figures thought he should go. Eventually the Ministry of Defence, after drawn-out discussions with Buckingham Palace, was persuaded that he would be a high profile target whose presence would endanger those deployed with him.
Lord Dannatt then personally arranged for Prince Harry to serve in Afghanistan. He struck a deal with media outlets for them not to report his presence in return for interviews to be published and broadcast on his return. The deal held for ten weeks, allowing Harry to experience the brutal realities of warfare.
He served as a Forward Air Controller with a desert reconnaissance unit. In doing so he became the first member of the Royal Family to serve on the frontline since Prince Andrew took part in the Falklands War in 1982 as a helicopter pilot.
While Lord Dannatt offered Prince Harry his best wishes, he also sounded a note of caution as the Duke of Sussex starts a new chapter in his life.
He added: ‘Prince Harry will have had to weigh up very carefully everything that was important in his life. Although he cares deeply for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that he has served with and our veterans, especially those who have been wounded, his priority is with his wife and growing family.
‘I fully respect and support the very difficult decision that he has had to make.
‘I wish him well for the future and know that his heart will always be with the British military.’
On his return to the UK from Afghanistan Prince Harry was advised to retrain as a helicopter pilot should he wish to go back to the conflict – though secretly few senior officers expected him to pass the necessary selection tests.
But he defied their low expectations, qualifying as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner. He returned to Helmand Province in September 2012 with the Army Air Corps and duly completed a four-month operational tour.
Harry then focused on veterans’ welfare and helped set up the Invictus Games, a version of the Paralympics for injured military personnel, before retiring from the Army in June 2015.
In December 2017, Harry accepted the role of Captain General of the Royal Marines from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had served in this capacity for a remarkable 64 years.
The prince made a number of visits to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon, and to Norway where Marines practise arctic warfare.
It has been speculated that the Captain General’s role could pass to Prince William or the Princess Royal. Harry will also relinquish his roles as honorary commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving.