Over the last week or so a debate has raged in the UK media about the issue of whether or not one Henry Wales (aka Prince Harry) should be deployed in Iraq. Many arguments both for and against have been expounded, most are logical and rational. However, today I came across an article which is so incredibly dumb it really defies belief that anyone could have thought of writing it in the first place.
Writing in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section, Mark Lawson says this:
“Harry Wales cannot be treated equally, because soldiers are expendable and princes are not “
My first thought was, surely this man knows that kind of thinking went out with the divine right of kings, but then I realised it didn’t even apply then. Princes have always been expendable. It wasn’t so very long ago that kings and princes led their armies into battle. And, after all, Harry is not the heir to the throne, he is simply one of a long line of emergency back-up heirs. If anything were to happen to him, there are numerous people ready and waiting to step into the breech (sorry, couldn’t resist that).
It is astounding that there are still people who genuinely believe that members of the royal family are somehow better than the rest of us. I was going to say, I wonder if they would say that to the families of service men and women who are currently on active duty, or the families of those who don’t make it back, but anyone who genuinely believes in such ridiculous notions probably would be crass enough to do so. Suffice it to say, the average soldier is significantly more important to their family and friends (and probably society in general*) than some posh bloke, no matter who his grandmother happens to be.
As a little aside – I noticed quite a few commenters discussing the old rumour about Harry’s parentage. I have never understood this theory because I think he bears a striking resemblance to Prince Philip. On the other hand, his brother . . .
* After all, the country isn’t going to grind to a halt if we don’t have royal folk to open hospitals.