Sky News Tonight on Prince Harry’s Memoir

Tonight, I am discussing the implications of the Duke of Sussex’s revelations in his memoir with Sophy Ridge on Sky News. Inevitably, I will be asked about his claim that he killed 25 Taliban and his description of them as pawns. I won’t spoil what I intend to say, but perhaps Harry should have remembered Gandalf’s advice to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: “True courage is about not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one”.

There are also some serious ramifications that he should have considered. First, the fate of the crews who served with him in the Household Cavalry and Army Air Corps (it is not just his family, who will be at a higher risk of attack by revenge-seeking assassins). Second, to those who gave him exceptional support when he initially failed his Apache helicopter tests. Third, to the families of those he killed – real combat soldiers respect their enemy and don’t describe them as “pawns”. And finally, to the MoD as a whole; now that he has broken the code of what retired officers can write about in their memoirs – has he opened Pandora’s box?

For my next book, I have researched an incident after World War I when Harry’s Great Great Grandfather established the values of the House of Windsor. King George V had to reprimand Field Marshal Viscount French of Ypres when he discovered he was about to publish a memoir of the war, before the Treaty of Versailles was signed. As Head of the Armed Forces, the King was unceasing in his efforts to promote concord and to allay dissension. He believed that “people who write books ought to be shut up” and that “angry disputes” and “personal wrangling” with regard to either the conduct of operations, or the leadership of troops, would not help the cause of peace.

For the record, I never served in the same unit as Harry, but I was in Camp Bastion with him in December 2012 and have interviewed soldiers who were with him during his first tour of Afghanistan. The story of his cancelled deployment to Iraq is told in Chapter 5 of Belfast to Benghazi.

Operation Herrick Arrival


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