Valiant Prince
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 03 May 2010

In 2008, against his will, Prince Harry was recalled from Afghanistan when his cover was blown by the Australian journal, New Idea. The military reason was obvious. His unit would have become not just a target of the enemy; every effort would have been made to take him prisoner or wipe out the unit to score a major propaganda victory against the allies, a sthe following video recalls.  (“ New Idea apologizes,” 13 March 2008;  "That leak: appalling republican allegation by media columnist in The Australian " 6 March, 2008)

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According to an announcement 30 April, 2010 the Prince has completed the competitive British helicopter course. Media reports suggest this will boost his chances of returning to active service in Afghanistan.

 

It was ironical that it was in the United States media that Prince Harry’s qualities seemed to have first been recognized. This was when the Prince was preparing to go to Iraq.  One particular example of this by  Washington Post correspondent, Marie Cocco.(“ Prince Harry: honour, duty and service,” 29 February 2008 }  





 ...an “uplifting” Royal tale...






 Ms. Cocco wrote  that a royal tale, even “more uplifting” than Dame Helen Mirren’s superb portrayal of The Queen in the film of the same name, had begun to unfold in London “just as the red carpets were being rolled out in preparation for the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.  This was that Prince Harry is marching off to war in Iraq”.

  “Having graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the equivalent of West Point, the son of Diana and Prince Charles is fulfilling, at his own insistence, a duty to serve on the battlefront with the troops he was trained to command.

 "There's no way I'm going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my a**se back home while my boys are out fighting for their country", the young prince said in a 2005 interview that has been circulated widely.”

Ms.Cocco writes that it takes no nostalgia for the Crown to hear the honour in Prince Harry's vow -- and to wince at the contrast with the US much larger force in Iraq, from which, she declared, the sons and daughters of the American well-heeled and the well-known are largely absent.

 “Like the United States, Britain has a volunteer military.  Unlike the United States, Britain has some vestige of an elite that believes in the notion of noblesse oblige.” 

A young contributing writer in the official student newspaper of Wayne State University, The South End, on 21 February 2007, agreed.

Responding to an earlier piece in which another student had written that she was "distraught" about Prince Henry going to Iraq, Mr Caswell said that rather than being distraught he was humbled. 

But unlike Ms. Cocco, who compared the Prince with the US upper classes, Mr Caswell compared him with other young men. 

“The Prince’s adolescent antics aside, he should be elevated as an example of selfless service.  He doesn’t need nor have to serve in the military, but decided to. 

Whether it is family pressure or pure devotion that made him choose his route, it is nice to see a young, wealthy person decide to do something other than drink, vomit and rally for the fourteenth party of the night.”

 

 

  ...with a heavy heart, The Queen does her duty...  



 

Ms. Cocco  was especially impressed by the fact that “England sends its prince into battle.”  She will no doubt be impressed that rather than blocking Prince Harry’s wish to go to Afghanistan, The Queen understood it and approved it, no doubt with a heavy heart.

Once again The Queen did what she always does, her duty.

This sense of duty in the Royal Family is no new thing.  Older generations remember it in the Second World War, when The King and The Queen, as well as the Royal Family, stayed with the people.  Prince Harry’s grandfather, and his father saw distinguished service.  More recently, in the Falklands war, Prince Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew, also rode, or perhaps more correctly, flew into battle.


 

.....comparing royalty with  the ruling class in a republic...






In the meantime, the Argentinean media, once they were freed as a result of the United Kingdom’s refusal to accept the invasion of the Falklands, lamented that while Argentina’s conscripts had been sent into battle, the officer class tended to stay in Buenos Aires.  

Ms.Cocco also contrasted the way US veterans are treated with that offered by the UK authorities to theirs.  While they send their princes to war, she wrote that  “…we ( Americans) are making paupers of our military families.”

 “By what turn of history”, she demands, “did a nation founded in rebellion against absolute power wielded by a coddled elite become less concerned with equal treatment and shared sacrifice than the monarchy it overthrew? 

If the American upper class were sent to battle -- or expected, by tradition, to serve -- would soldiers have shipped out to Iraq without proper body armour?  Would the Senate now be tied in a political straitjacket, with members agreeing that something must be done to change course in Iraq, but with lawmakers incapable of passing any measure to alter it?” 

 Comparing Iraq and Vietnam, she says one overriding truth separates the two conflicts: the draft.  As a consequence, only a tiny slice of American society today bears the republic’s military burden. “Because of this, our ruling class is proving itself to be more aloof than royalty”. 

Once again The Queen and the Royal Family have shown that they lead their lives guided by a high sense of duty and service. This is the standard which inspires the representatives of the Australian Crown, and those who serve the Crown.

This demonstrates once again that in our Commonwealth of Australia , only the  Crown  can provide leadership beyond politics.

It remains  indispensable to our system of governance.