Prince William is to become Colonel-in-Chief of his brother Prince Harry’s old Army unit in an appointment that highlights the dramatic change in their circumstances.
William, the heir to the throne, takes on the role representing the Army Air Corps, in which Harry once served as an Apache helicopter pilot, earning a reputation as a war hero for his actions attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Harry, 38, might have hoped to one day become Colonel-in-Chief of the corps, after spending three and a half years in the Army’s airborne wing and serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan between September 2012 and January 2013. It was his second tour of duty there after an earlier posting as a forward air controller in 2007-08.
But a decade on, Harry has been stripped of all his honorary military appointments after quitting royal duty. Instead he is preparing to play polo in Singapore tomorrow (Saturday) after attending a sports conference in Tokyo organised by one of his main sponsors.
Joe Little, a longtime royal watcher as managing editor of Majesty magazine, said Harry might well have been in the running for the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the corps if he had remained a working member of the family
“It’s quite feasible,” he said, adding: “Had Harry still been around he might well have had more appointments going his way too.”
Under a wider shake-up of military appointments by the King, William, 41, now also becomes Colonel-in-Chief of The Mercian Regiment and Royal Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, where he once served as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.
His wife Kate takes over from William as Royal Honorary Air Commodore at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. She has also taken over disgraced Prince Andrew’s role as Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm and become Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, which King Charles represented when Prince of Wales.
The King has taken over eight of his mother’s former honorary posts himself, including sponsor of the Royal Navy’s fleet flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as sharing some of his own affiliations now he is monarch.
Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, has been appointed to another of Andrew’s former roles before he was forced to step down after settling a multi-million-pound civil sexual assault trial. She is now Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Irish Regiment.
Queen Camilla becomes patron of The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, a position held by the late Queen.