Prince Harry and Andrews military careers ranked as Sussexes given last chance

The royal family has a long history when it comes to serving in Britain’s military, with many even serving actively on front lines.

In recent memory, Prince Harry famously flew Apache helicopters in Afghanistan, based in the infamous Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.

In 2012 he undertook a four-month tour in the active combat zone, with famous footage emerging of him having to scramble to his helicopter mid-interview.

At the time, Buckingham Palace said: "Prince Harry, like any soldier, considers it a great honour to represent his country in Her Majesty's armed forces wherever it chooses to deploy him."

Prince Harry has seen many of his titles and roles stripped from him since his decision to step back from senior royal life, and now some experts think he and wife Meghan Markle could be on their 'last chance' and could be 'cut off'.

Author Duncan Larcombe said some royals were concerned that any interactions might end up on a podcast or a memoir, a feeling that could test their ability to mend relationships with the family in London.

Harry is far from the only one to have embarked on a military journey. And, as is unavoidable when part of the armed forces, even royals are given ranks when they serve.

But what military jobs did the biggest names in the family today do, and who holds, or held, the highest rank?

Prince Harry's military rank

Rank: Harry was a Captain during his time in service and also as of 2018, a Major in the British Army, Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, and Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force (since removed following the decision to step back from royal life).

Role: Apache co-pilot gunner.

Harry served for 10 years in the armed forces, touring active combat zones in Afghanistan.

In total he did two tours in Afghanistan and is still involved in the military community through his work with veterans and the Invictus Games.

Prince William's military rank

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Rank: Lieutenant, Captain, Squadron Leader and, since leaving the armed forces, has been given the ranks of Lieutenant Commander, Major and Squadron Leader.

Role: Helicopter pilot for the Search and Rescue Force.

Prince William served as a regimental officer in the Army, followed by attachments to the Royal airforce and Royal Navy.

It was announced he would become a full-time pilot in 2008 and that he would join the Royal Air Force’s Search and Rescue Force.

He did seven and a half years of full-time military service.

Prince Andrew's military rank

Rank: Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy.

Role: Helicopter pilot (Falklands War) and commander of mine countermeasure vessel HMS Cottesmore.

Prince Andrew has recently had many of his official titles and patronages stripped of him and returned to the Queen, however, he has held onto his service rank of Vice-Admiral.

He did however lose a number of other UK military titles, including:

  • Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British army. He took this role over from his father Prince Philip in 2017.
  • Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth.
  • Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment.
  • Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps.
  • Colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth's Own).
  • Colonel-in-chief of the Yorkshire Regiment.
  • Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm.
  • Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
  • Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Andrew was promoted to Vice-Admiral on his 55th birthday, in line with his military peers who are still serving.

On his 60th birthday in 2020 he was promoted to Admiral, however, asked to defer the promotion given his step back from public duty in 2019.

Prince Charles's military rank

Rank: Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

Role: Helicopter pilot and serviceman on multiple navy ships.

In 2012, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, received the highest military honours possible from the Queen.

The monarch, however, didn’t award her eldest son the highest honour in one particular service.

Instead, she gave him the top rank of all three major wings of Britain’s armed service, Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

The Prince of Wales served in both the Royal Airforce and the Royal Navy.

Charles has received Royal Air Force training and served on the guided-missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and the frigates HMS Minerva and HMS Jupiter.

He is also a qualified helicopter pilot.

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