Things have turned out great for Prince Harry – with the young royal now married to Meghan Markle and enjoying being a first time dad to baby Archie. But it's been revealed that not too long around the royal was a source of much anxiety for the Queen and Prince Charles, who feared he might go off the rails after leaving the army.
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Worrying about a repeat of Prince Andrew’s botched transition to civilian life, the Queen and Harry’s dad held crisis meetings, desperate to manage the next stage of his life.
Leaving the army after ten years of service in 2015, Harry was at a crossroads, says Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story.
‘At first the Prince of Wales in particular raised concerns about his youngest son leaving the career he loved and was so good at,’ he says.
‘It was his view that the Army gave Harry both a focus and a purpose. But in the end, the senior royals agreed that it was a decision only Harry could make.’
Prince Andrew, who served in the Falklands war as a helicopter pilot, was the model of what the Queen didn’t want to happen to Harry – a messy exit into civilian life.
‘When he left the Navy he struggled for many years to find a role that was suitable,’ says Larcombe.
‘He became a trade envoy, but that was the start of a string of controversies over the friends he made and his reputation with the public was damaged beyond repair.’
Harry himself never hid his own concerns about what leaving the army would mean. ‘It is a crossroads,’ he said at the time.
The royal has since gone on to settle into his new life with remarkable ease – something that has been a huge relief for the monarch and Harry’s dad. Since leaving the forces, Harry has been active promoting the Invictus Games, has been appointed as a s appointed a Counsellor of State, and is active in a range of charities.
Matthew DenbyMatthew is Executive Editor - Digital (Entertainment & Family) at Pacific Magazines