Prince William is now in charge of Prince Harry’s former military unit — by order of their father, King Charles III.
“Following His Majesty’s Accession, The King is pleased to announce further military appointments for working Members of the Royal Family,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Friday, August 11. “The new appointments will continue to reflect the close relationship between the Armed Forces and the Royal Family in His Majesty’s reign.”
For William, 41, that means he can now add the honorifics of Colonel-in-Chief, The Army Air Corps; Colonel-in-Chief, The Mercian Regiment and Royal Honorary Air Commodore, R.A.F. Valley, to his list of growing titles as heir apparent. (The Prince of Wales became first in line to the throne after Charles, 74, became monarch upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.)
As Buckingham Palace noted, William is a veteran of the British military, with extensive service in the Royal Air Force in particular — during which he served as a RAF Search and Rescue Pilot from 2010 to 2013.
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It is William’s new role as Colonel-in-Chief to the Army Air Corps — a position previously held by his father — that now places him in charge of his estranged brother’s old army unit. Harry, 38, went on multiple tours of Afghanistan during his time in the British military, in which he served as a Forward Air Controller and then as an Apache Pilot in the army.
Along with William’s new titles, his wife, Princess Kate, was also bestowed with new military monikers, making her the Commodore-in-Chief, Fleet Air Arm, Colonel-in-Chief, 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards and Royal Honorary Air Commodore, R.A.F. Coningsby. (Other royal family members — including Queen Camilla, Prince Edward and Princess Anne — also received updated military titles in Charles’ latest announcement.)
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Harry, for his part, was stripped of his three honorary military titles — Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of Royal Air Force Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command — after he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down from their positions as senior royals in 2020. While the Duke of Sussex was granted permission to wear his military uniform for his late grandmother’s vigil in September 2022, he was not allowed to do so for the queen’s state funeral days later.
Harry and his family have been at odds for years and the tension has only grown since he and Meghan, 42, moved their family to California and began speaking at length about their alleged mistreatment by The Firm. (The Sussexes, who wed in May 2018, share two children: son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2.)
As Harry and Meghan have made numerous accusations against the royal family since stepping down from their roles — including claims of racism, lack of adequate mental health care and much more — royal expert Christopher Andersen exclusively told Us Weekly last month that the Sussex’s allegations have only made Charles and William become closer.
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“They’ve had to put up this united front against Harry and Meghan,” Andersen explained. “They’ve been insulted by members of their own family. It’s been quite the ordeal for them, and I think that they kind of circled the wagon, so to speak. And they’ve come out of that with a stronger bond.”
Meghan and Harry, meanwhile, have also put on their own “united front” amid the drama, a source exclusively told Us earlier this month. “As far as they’re concerned, it’s Harry and Meghan against the world.”
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