PRINCE HARRY is causing ripples of concern to flow through the royal household after his confessional documentary was released earlier this month – but the Queen has often been caught in a dilemma over her grandson and his duties, according to an unearthed biography.
Dubbed the rebel of ‘the Firm’ from a young age, Harry only seemed to come into his own when he fulfilled his life-long dream of going into the army – and even that became an area which conflicted with his royal status.
In her 2018 biography ‘Harry: Conversations with the Prince’, Angela Levin revealed how the Queen had a tough decision to make when her grandson repeatedly requested to be sent into a warzone. He had completed all of his official training, but as a high-profile member of the Royal Family, he was more likely to be targeted by the enemy.
Ms Levin said: “As Queen she was Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and could sort out a posting, but she was also the grandmother of a young man she wanted to protect who was desperate to fight for his country on the front line. What was the right thing to do?”
The biographer explained: “The final decision of whether or not Harry would go to war lay in the hands of General Sir Richard Dannatt, then Chief of the General Staff.”
While he and the Queen initially released a statement which confirmed Harry’s deployment to Iraq in April 2007, as part of the Household Cavalry Regiment, it was cancelled at the very last minute.
Prince Harry and the Queen (Image GETTY)
Queen is supposedly very fond of her grandson Harry (Image: GETTY)
Abu Zaid, Commander of the Malik Ibn Al-Ashtar Brigade, had sent word to Britain: “We are awaiting the arrival of the young, handsome, spoiled prince with bated breath.”
More threats came filing in, including plans to spy on Harry as soon as he arrived.
General Dannatt decided the risk to Harry’s life was “too great” and so his deployment was cancelled while the rest of his soldiers travelled out to the war zone.
Harry’s former private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said “Harry went boiling mad” when he heard the news, and “went out and got blotto”.
Ms Levin added: “It was a terrible blow that having given his all during the training it looked as if he wouldn’t be able to put his skills into practice.”
Harry served in Afghanistan twice (Image: GETTY)
He even threatened to quit the army, but his military mentor Edward Smyth-Osbourne promised he could come with him to Afghanistan instead.
Ms Levin explained several meetings between the Queen and General Dannatt were arranged, and draft military plan was put together so Harry could leave for Afghanistan in December 2007.
They also arranged a deal with the British press so that there was a complete media blackout during his time abroad. In exchange, Harry would provide an interview opportunity which could be released upon his return home.
Ms Levin explained: “Only a very tight group knew about Harry’s Placement both in the UK and in Afghanistan, and Dannatt signed with relief as he told the Queen, and subsequently the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the good news.”
Harry with his mother Diana (Image: GETTY)
Harry always wanted to be in the army, even from a young age (Image: GETTY)
She added: “Although it couldn’t have been easy for the Queen to help send her much-loved grandson into a dangerous war, she, more than most understood the concept of duty.
“She also knew that the effect on Harry if he was rejected could be devastating.”
Ms Levin also compared the difficult choice the Queen had to make with the struggles she faced with the troubles which followed Princess Diana’s death. The Queen decided to keep Diana’s sons in Scotland to help them grieve after their mother’s tragic death, but she had faced serious criticism for not making a public statement acknowledging the tragedy sooner and was condemned for appearing to be “uncaring”.
The biographer said: “If during the memorial service, the Queen recalled being at Balmoral at the time of Diana’s death and balancing her position of grandmother and Queen, she now had a similar situation to weight up.”
He officially left the army in 2015 (Image: GETTY)
Harry later commented: “The Queen was very pro my going then, so I think she’s relieved that I get the chance to do what I want to do. She’s a very good person to talk to about it.”
However, the international press were not aware of the blackout while Harry was deployed. The Australian publication New Idea soon revealed details of his whereabouts when he had been in Afghanistan for only ten weeks, so Harry was quickly pulled back to safety in the UK.
He was reportedly very “resentful” and fought to return to the front line. He subsequently trained as a helicopter pilot and went back to Afghanistan several years later in 2012.
He was brought back from his second deployment in 2013, and officially left the army in June 2015 to take on more senior royal duties.
Harry now champions support for veteran soldiers, launched the Invictus Games in 2014 for sick, wounded or injured services personnel.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK