For years, Prince Harry’s less-than-proper antics earned him plenty of press coverage as the “bad boy” of the royal family. But earlier this week, he was leveled with harsher words from a Labour Party Member of Parliament.
Emma Dent Coad, who represents the area covered by Kensington Palace, told the audience at the annual Labour Party conference that Harry was a co-pilot during his military service because “he tried to pass the helicopter exam about four times and he couldn’t get through it at all…so he just sits there going ‘vroom vroom.’” She went on to say that Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, are “not that bright,” and that they should just “drift away, be playboys or whatever.”
Anyone who glanced at the news during Prince Harry’s teenage and young adulthood years knows that he gave the paparazzi plenty of playboy moments. Highlights include getting caught smoking cannabis at age 16 and being ordered by Prince Charles to visit a drug rehabilitation clinic, attending a 2005 birthday party wearing Nazi attire, and last but certainly not least, getting photographed in the nude during a wild Las Vegas weekend in 2012.
But Prince Harry’s come a long way from offensive costumes and crotch shots. After completing his training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Prince Harry served ten years in the military, including two tours on the frontlines in Afghanistan. He was indeed a co-pilot on an Apache helicopter and was awarded as the best Co-Pilot Gunner in his course. Since retiring from military service, the Prince has thrown himself into philanthropic endeavors, most notably the Invictus Games, a Paralympic sporting event in which wounded or injured military veterans compete for prizes.
Ms. Coad faced a torrent of reproaches from military veterans and royal family supporters since her comments on Tuesday. “Anyone who signs up for the Armed Services is putting their life on the line for Queen and country,” said Bernie Broad, a former army major who lost both legs below the knee. “Harry is an amazing, amazing man. He joined the Air Corps and the selection for that is treacherous.” Although she hasn’t apologized for her comments, she has since referred to them as “a joke.”
Seems about as funny as a Nazi costume. Whether you judge Prince Harry’s military career as laudatory or lacking, one thing is for sure: everybody loves a playboy turned philanthropist.