The outlaw Harry Wales

A media storm often reveals a greater truth about a society.

The Queen’s grandson has been, according to himself, killing members of the Taliban.

Well fetch the smelling salts for Aunt Maude!

What did people think he was doing in Afghanistan?

The point that people in the British media seem to have missed is that if young Wales had completed his tour as a gunner in an AH64 Apache gunship carrying out Close Air Support missions in a shooting war WITHOUT killing the enemy then he would be dissed as just another cosseted useless freeloading Royal.

Young men (and now young women) get sent to war.

The aim of war is to kill the enemy.

Moreover soldiers once safely returned home have always boasted of their exploits.

Of course what actually happened is changed in the telling, but soldiers in war do kill and that is their core function when they close with the enemy.

Sometimes it is done from a distance, but the solider can be close enough to smell the man he is killing.

Harry was a gunner/co-pilot in a helicopter that can engage the enemy from a long way away.

He controlled Hellfire missiles with a range of 8 kilometres.

Modern technology can mean that war on the digital battlefield can sometimes be akin to a deadly video game and Harry made that point himself.

However, he was in a warzone and ipso facto in danger as the Taliban have the ability to shoot down helicopters.

Those who sneer at him probably haven’t had the life threatening “privilege” of being in combat.

Down in the killing fields of Helmand bayonets are still fixed.

The ISAF mission in Afghanistan has been, to borrow a term beloved by the US Marine Corps, a complete Clusterfuck.

That is not the fault of those sent to prosecute that war.

They just do what they have to in order to survive.

As it always was, it’s the man to the left of you and the man to the right of you.

Harry, like many of the Afghans he was shooting, is an easy target.

I think he is justified in his confusion about what is expected of him by others.

The iron rule that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas does not seem apply to the third in line to the British throne.

It is clear that he craves to be an ordinary young bloke, but that can never be possible for him.

His older brother does seem to carry that inherited burden with more aplomb.

The idea that Britain’s ruling tribe do not have real hands on political power has recently been called into question.

It has always been a riposte of monarchists to anyone in Britain espousing republican tendencies that the Queen and her tribe are merely there for ceremonial window dressing.

That the “Mother of parliaments” is in total control and expresses the stated will of the people at the ballot box.

The pageantry and the ancient rituals are of a bye gone feudal age and the British people through the House of Commons are truly sovereign.

Well that view, one that I had held previously to, appears to be very wrong indeed.

The hereditary principle in matters political is quite frankly medieval.

I get to elect my head of state so I just don’t get the love affair that the British people clearly have with the Windsor clan.

This is the celebrity feudalism that young Harry was born into and it is not surprising that he bridles against it.

Being born into a situation doesn’t mean that the adult approves of it.

Harry was a clearly a happy camper in the village of Garmsir in Helmand province in 2008 when he was crapping in an ammo box and burning his own shit in a  mud walled FOB (Forward Operating Base).

He had a real job to do and he did it.

If they let him he would be in the infantry.

However, there are fewer and fewer of them as Britain quietly prepares to exit the world stage.

If all of the cuts go through then the UK will have little more than a defence force (gasp).

Other countries manage just fine like that and they don’t invade other places.

This is a cultural change for an ex-super power, but I’m sure the British will be fine.

Harry’s mother was an outsider to the Royal firm, despite the vintage of the Spencer tribe in England’s heraldry.

He certainly seems to have inherited Diana’s non-conformism regarding what others expect of him.

Captain Wales wants to be ordinary and to earn the respect of his mates for what he does rather than for who is granny is and that, for a British Royal, makes him something of an outlaw.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion