Army figures tell of 'widespread relief' as Prince Andrew loses titles

From Falklands war hero to humiliation: Top Army figures tell of ‘widespread relief’ as Prince Andrew is stripped of all honorary military titles

  • Senior military sources say Andrew losing his honorary military titles is a relief
  • Units associated with disgraced Duke would share in ‘widespread relief’
  • Humiliation comes just weeks before 40th anniversary of the Falklands War 

Top military figures said there would be ‘widespread relief’ after Prince Andrew was stripped of his beloved honorary titles.

The humiliating decision by the Queen came weeks before celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, in which the prince, then 22, served as a helicopter pilot.

Last night, a colleague of Andrew from the 1982 campaign said he was ‘stunned’ by the palace’s move while a former head of the Army said there would be ‘widespread relief’ in units associated with the disgraced prince.

Yesterday’s announcement drew a veil over Andrew’s 43-year association with the UK’s armed forces. 

However, the prince will retain his honorary rank of Vice Admiral, having been granted this by the Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015.

He had been due to be promoted to admiral on his 60th birthday in 2020 but asked to defer this after stepping down from public duties. 

Last night, a colleague of Andrew from the 1982 campaign (pictured) said he was ‘stunned’ by the palace’s move while a former head of the Army said there would be ‘widespread relief’ in units associated with the disgraced prince.

Yesterday’s announcement drew a veil over Andrew’s 43-year association with the UK’s armed forces. However, the prince will retain his honorary rank of Vice Admiral, having been granted this by the Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015.

The prince, who remained on the Navy’s Active List until 2001, was also Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm and Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lossiemouth (pictured above)

The duke held a number of prestigious honorary positions, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – the Army’s most senior regiment

Andrew was not expected to play any part in commemorations for the Falklands this summer. 

Last night, a fellow campaign veteran said he was ‘shocked’. 

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, who flew with Andrew, said: ‘This was an unexpected development. He is a former colleague and a veteran, so it is shocking, particularly for those who served in the South Atlantic, that it has come to this.

‘We are also approaching the 40th anniversary of the campaign in which he took part. But at any time one should not speak ill of a comrade.’ 

Having his military titles removed is arguably the ultimate ignominy for Andrew.

The duke held a number of prestigious honorary positions, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – the Army’s most senior regiment.

Last night a former Chief of the General Staff, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a ‘widespread relief’ across the Army, adding: ‘It was the right move at the right time and undoubtedly senior officers will be breathing a sigh of relief. Her Majesty acted appropriately.’

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, a former Army officer and now chairman of the Commons defence committee, said it was ‘necessary’ to preserve the reputation of the units formally represented by Andrew.

The prince, who remained on the Navy’s Active List until 2001, was also Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lossiemouth, Royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers (2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland) and Colonel-in-Chief of the 9th/12th Lancers, the Royal Irish Regiment, the Small Arms School Corps and the Yorkshire Regiment.

Mr Ellwood said: ‘It was important Prince Andrew’s problems didn’t bleed over into these regiments and units. I think it was necessary to protect these organisations.’

Overseas titles he has also lost are Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment); Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Highland Fusiliers Of Canada; Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own); and Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess Louise Fusiliers (in Nova Scotia, Canada).

Last night a former Chief of the General Staff, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a ‘widespread relief’ across the Army

Andrew was three years into his military career when he joined the taskforce which sailed 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

The humiliating decision by the Queen came weeks before celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, in which the prince, then 22, served as a helicopter pilot

Andrew was three years into his military career when he joined the taskforce which sailed 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. 

The prospect of the prince being killed in action made Mrs Thatcher’s Government apprehensive and the Cabinet requested he be moved to desk duties.

However, the Queen insisted he should remain on HMS Invincible and play an active role, even if that meant risking his life. He earned his colleagues’ and the nation’s respect. 

Ducking enemy fire in his helicopter proved Andrew’s finest hour. The daring prince manoeuvred his Sea King so it acted as a decoy target to divert Exocet missiles away from ships.

He also took part in casualty evacuations and anti-submarine warfare and witnessed the deaths of 12 British sailors when Argentine rockets sank the SS Atlantic Conveyor. 

After the victory, Andrew returned a gallant hero – he was also the first member of his family to serve on the frontline since Prince Philip in the Second World War.

Last night, the chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association, Tom Herring, said the prince had not been an active member of the organisation. 

The Queen’s decision means neither of the Royal Family members who have served their country in wartime retain any formal link with the Armed Forces.

Prince Harry, who served two tours of Afghanistan, relinquished four honorary military titles last year, including Captain General of the Royal Marines.

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