Earlier today, it was announced that Prince Harry of Wales was to finish his attachment to the Army Air Corps and take up an administrative role back as a Staff Officer in HQ London District, where his new job will involve organising ceremonial events with the Army.
Retaining his current rank for the moment (though he does qualify for promotion to Major this year), Captain Wales will work from Horse Guards Parade – just down the Mall from Buckingham Palace and a short drive away from his current residence at Kensington Palace.
Whilst Prince Harry qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander just over 6 months ago, his new role will be comparatively less exciting – with His Royal Highness now becoming a Staff Officer, with the role name ‘SO3’, which equates to Staff Officer at level 3.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, who commanded Prince Harry in the Army Air Corps said: “Captain Wales has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence as an Apache pilot, particularly in Afghanistan and, in the process, has proved to be a real inspiration to the many Army Air Corps officers and soldiers who have come to know him so well over the last two years.”
SO3s are responsible for planning and organising parts of army ceremonial, under the command of SO2s and SO1s. Captains typically fill the post of SO3s and Majors that of SO2 with Lieutenant Colonels (pronounced Leftenant Colonel in British English) filling the post of SO1.
Another part of Captain Wales’s role will also be to convey information between commanding officers and military units.
Occasions such as Trooping the Colour and State Funerals involving the Army are typically co-ordinated by the Garrison Sergeant Major, London District (WO1 Bill Mott) – Prince Harry’s duties won’t extend quite that far at the moment.
Prince Harry’s latest career move brings him closer to home, perhaps signalling that Prince Harry looks to take on more royal duties in the months to come as his grandmother takes on less and less. Prince Harry will be one of the key players in the Monarchy when Prince Charles accedes to the throne as the most senior royal not expected to inherit the throne.
It seems that at least for the moment, Prince Harry’s operational role in the army is at an end, though who knows where he’ll progress next.