Harry’s just trying to ‘justify’ his service to ‘woke elements’: Former British Army commander dismisses Prince’s claim that he revealed his Taliban kill-count as part of his ‘healing journey’
- Colonel Richard Kemp said he wasn’t sure how revealing kills could help healing
- Colonel Kemp added Duke’s descriptions of Taliban ‘distorted’ truth of army
- Prince Harry made the revelation of his 25 Taliban kills in bombshell memoirs
- Harry told People he spoke of his time in the Army and kill count ‘to help others’
The former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan said he didn’t see how Prince Harry’s public revelation of his 25 Taliban kills would help his healing process.
Colonel Richard Kemp, 63, said Prince Harry had distorted the truth about the way the British army fights and was trying to justify his service to ‘the woke elements’.
The Duke of Sussex claimed in his memoirs to have killed 25 enemy fighters during two tours of Afghanistan – calling his victims ‘chess pieces’ rather than people as a means of bearing the emotional strain of taking dozens of lives.
Prince Harry justified revealing his Taliban kill-count to US Magazine People because soldiers should discuss ‘parts of our service that haunt us’.
Prince Harry has done a glossy cover interview with People magazine, one of the Sussexes’ favoured US publications
Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded Operation Fingal in Afghanistan in 2003, told MailOnline that he didn’t think revealing the number would help ‘any healing process he thinks he needs’
Harry also told People that he speaks openly about his time in Afghanistan – and killing insurgents – ‘for my own healing journey’ and ‘in the hopes it will help others’.
But Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded Operation Fingal in Afghanistan in 2003, told MailOnline that he didn’t think revealing the number would help any ‘healing journey’ and that it given the Taliban more fuel for propaganda.
‘I don’t really see how making that sort of public statement is going to help whatever healing process he thinks he needs.
‘I don’t think that saying that he has killed 25 people is a terrible thing to say. I am sure it’s factual and everybody knows that he was out there as an attack helicopter crewman and therefore that his job would have been to kill the enemy.
The Colonel, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan in 2003, said he was concerned about claims made by the Prince about training procedures
‘The biggest problem I have with what he said is the way he said he was trained to describe the Taliban and to think of the Taliban as less than human,’ the Colonel explained.
The former commanding officer added that veterans were frustrated with some of Prince Harry’s claims about training procedures.
Veterans, he said, were particularly worried about Prince Harry’s description of the enemy as like ‘chess pieces’.
‘It gives the wrong impression of the way the British army fights and it feeds into jihadists’ propaganda. We’ve already seen examples of how, already, within days, they’ve started to exploit that.
‘That’s the dangerous part of this. The majority of veterans that I have been in touch with are quite horrified by what he’s been saying.’
He added that Prince Harry’s motivation to reveal his kill count might be more complicated than just his personal healing journey.
‘He probably spoke about the business of brainwashing or soldiers being trained to see the enemy as less than human, I think in some ways as a kind of justification for him in the circles he now moves.
‘Most of those people – the woke elements – they know he was fighting in Afghanistan and he’s justifying his actions by saying he was essentially brainwashed by the British army into doing it. So I think that’s more likely to be a motivation rather than some kind of therapeutic treatment for himself.’
Other critics, including senior figures in the British Army, have said his admission is a breach of the unwritten code that soldiers do not count ‘notches on their rifles’.
Others said Harry had betrayed ex-comrades by risking their safety, his own and that of the Royal Family.
Justifying his decision to tell millions that he killed 25 fighters as an Apache helicopter gunner, Harry told People, a favoured US magazine of the Sussexes’: ‘I know from my own healing journey that silence has been the least effective remedy. Expressing and detailing my experience is how I chose to deal with it, in the hopes it would help others.’
Prince Harry on patrol through Garmisir, where he was posted in Helmand province in 2008. Critics of his memoirs have said his revelation handed the Taliban a propaganda victory
Harry’s claims, including that he saw Taliban fighters as ‘chess pieces’ during operations, have prompted anger from the Armed Forces community
Former military commanders, pilots, aid workers and diplomats condemned the remarks, which they claimed handed the militants a propaganda victory.
He also faced the ignominy of being branded a ‘big-mouth loser’ by the Taliban itself.
But Harry told People: ‘This is something each soldier has to confront, and in the nearly two decades of working alongside service personnel and veterans, I’ve listened to their stories and have shared mine.
‘In these conversations, we often talk about the parts of our service that haunt us — the lives lost, the lives taken. But also the parts of our service that heal us and the lives we’ve saved.
‘It’s a duty, a job, and a service to our country — and having done two tours of duty in Afghanistan for my country, I’ve done all I could to be the best soldier I was trained to be.
‘There’s truly no right or wrong way to try and navigate these feelings.’
He added: ‘My relationship with Meghan has opened my eyes to so much I fear I otherwise would have never fully understood’.
The People Magazine interview was released on Tuesday afternoon, with social media users remarking on how the magazine’s photo shoot appears to have brightened his blue eyes and thickened his hair.
One critic said pictures of Harry, which include him walking on a wooden terrace and leaning against some patio doors in an open blue shirt and dark slacks, looked like a ‘faux fashion photo shoot’.
Harry is also wearing a black leather cord necklace. Some claimed it is identical to the one he says was broken by his brother William in an alleged fight at Kensington Palace during a row over Meghan’s ‘difficult’ and ‘abrasive’ behaviour in 2019.
Prince Harry is seen on Monday leaving his Manhattan hotel and heading to record an episode of Stephen Colbert’s show, accompanied by an armed guard with a Glock gun lock box
It comes as it has been revealed today:
Paul Burrell, 64, a former footman to the Queen, has said he didn’t recognise the Prince that he once knew.
Mr Burrell worked for Princess Diana for ten years after working for the late Queen.
Appearing on Australian breakfast show Sunrise, Mr Burrell said: ‘I first met him in his mummy’s tummy. I don’t recognise the young man I see today. That’s not the boy I knew.
‘What I see now is an angry, petulant, privileged prince who is constantly blaming other people and not taking accountability on his part.’
Mr Burrell appeared on Australian TV this morning after being attacked by Harry for ‘milking’ his mother’s death
The Duke of Sussex accused Mr Burrell of ‘milking’ Princess Diana’s death for money (pictured together in 1997)
‘She would be angry at these personal, vindictive revelations which don’t just undermine Harry, but his country, his family, the institution – which his mother was very proud of – and his late grandmother’s legacy,’ he said.
Harry has also been accused of reducing the royals to a laughing stock ahead of an appearance on the satirical The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, due for broadcast in the US on Tuesday evening.
It was recorded in New York on Monday, with the royal ushered in and out of the studio by armed bodyguards including a British former policeman carrying a Glock pistol case.
Harry was asked by People about how his family might view his book.
He has previously admitted that he didn’t think they would read it.
The Duke said: ‘I don’t want to tell anyone what to think of it and that includes my family. This book and its truths are in many ways a continuation of my own mental health journey. It’s a raw account of my life — the good, the bad and everything in between.
‘My hope has been to turn my pain into purpose, so if sharing my experience makes a positive difference in someone’s life, well, I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that’.
And speaking about the chances of reconciliation, he added: ‘I’ve said before that I’ve wanted a family, not an institution — so of course, I would love nothing more than for our children to have relationships with members of my family, and they do with some, which brings me great joy’.
Prince Harry and his memoir have been ridiculed by Stephen Colbert ahead of the broadcast of their US TV interview on Tuesday night, with the comedian comparing his life to Harry Potter and joking the new book is available as a royal commemorative plate.
There were gales of laughter as the Duke of Sussex was called ‘His royal Harryness’ and also seen downing tequila shots in an interview in New York.
In a series of interviews in the US and UK to promote his memoir Spare, which is released today, he has shared intimate details of his life including losing his virginity, his use of drugs and killing 25 Taliban, as well as private conversations with his family and the deepening rift over Megxit.
But even the usually supportive liberal US media is tiring of Prince Harry’s complaints. The New York Times called his remarks ‘repetitive and tiresome’ and suggested the ‘tide seems to be turning’ in US attitudes towards the Sussexes.
And in a trailer for tonight’s show, Stephen Colbert appeared more focused on poking fun at the royal and his bitter rift with his brother, and scathing gags about Britain and the royals including the late Queen.
After playing a clip where Harry describes his pain at William trying to avoid him at Eton, the Late Show presenter said to roars of laughter: ‘That’s heartbreaking. To be rejected by his older brother at school even though that magic hat sorted them into the same house. What do you think? Hufflepuff? Gryffindor?’
Harry is promoting his book on US TV – this time with Late Show host Stephen Colbert – who appears ready to lampoon the prince and his life
Mr Colbert compared Harry’s school days to Hogwarts and also poked fun at the Royal Family and Britain
In another tease Mr Colbert said Spare is available in hardback, audiobook and as a ‘commemorative plate’
In another tease Mr Colbert said Spare is available in hardback, audiobook and as a ‘commemorative plate’ – a joke at the expense of Harry and other royals whose weddings and anniversaries are marked with limited edition tableware and crockery.
In a further dig at the Royal Family, Colbert says: ‘Stock up on corgis and steal a priceless cultural treasure from one of your colonies because The Late Show is going imperial.’
Harry’s book also contains anecdotes that also appear to poke fun at his own family including hanging a trinket likeness of the Queen on a Christmas tree.
Spare reveals that Meghan gave Harry an ornament of the Queen that she had bought from a local store in California.
Harry writes in his book that it was ‘Granny’s face to a T’ and hung it straight on the large Christmas tree in their California home.
Toddler Archie was running around and knocked the tree’s stand, which caused the ornament to fall off and smash into pieces.
Harry also said he sought help from a medium who said she could prove she was talking to his late mother from beyond the grave because Diana was ‘giggling’ at Archie breaking the ornament.
And in the couple’s Netflix documentary, released last month, a Meghan appeared to mock her own efforts at following royal protocol as she recounted the ‘surreal’ moment she first met the Queen – performing a deeply exaggerated curtsey.