King Charles replaces Prince Harry as Captain General of the Royal Marines: Monarch becomes ceremonial head of the Duke of Sussex’s beloved Commandos… a day after son’s memoir announcement
The King today announced he will be the next Captain General of the Royal Marines – an honorary military role that had been stripped from the Duke of Sussex following Megxit.
Harry was reportedly saddened when he his prestigious title was removed by the Queen in 2020 after he and Meghan announced they would step down as working royals and move to California. There had been speculation about which member of the royal family would be given the role, with the Princess Royal tipped for the position.
The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding Prince Philip. Today’s announcement comes just a day after Harry unveiled his ‘provocative’ new memoir Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne.
However, today also marks the 358th anniversary of the founding of the Corps of Royal Marines, providing a likely explanation for the timing of the announcement.
In a statement marking the news of his appointment, the King said he was ‘exceptionally proud’ to be its ceremonial head, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather.
He said: ‘It is the greatest possible pleasure to assume the role of your Captain General. I am exceptionally proud to follow in the footsteps of so many members of my family over the last three-and-a-half centuries, all of whom held the role with a deep sense of admiration.
‘The Royal Marines have a distinguished and unparalleled history, both on land and at sea. I draw immense inspiration from your courage, determination, self-discipline and a remarkable capacity to endure in the most extreme environments.
‘I feel greatly honoured to become part of the Corps Family and very much look forward to meeting many of you in the near future. In the meantime, this comes with my heartfelt and special wishes for a very happy 358th birthday. Per Mare, Per Terram.’
Harry (pictured left at an event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2019) was reportedly saddened to be stripped of the position as ceremonial head of the Commando regiment following Megxit in 2020. Pictured right: Charles – then Prince of Wales – at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
Prince William had initially been expected to succeed his brother as Captain General after a Buckingham Palace statement insisted they would be handed to ‘working members of the Royal family’.
However, growing tensions between the pair following Megxit meant making such a move would be seen as unnecessarily provocative, reports suggested.
The King is a Royal Navy veteran, and served alongside the Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies.
Alongside his new role, he will continue to hold the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy.
Today’s development comes just a day after new details were revealed about Prince Harry’s ‘nuclear’ memoir.
Billed as a work of ‘raw, unflinching honesty’, the controversial book will be eye-catchingly called Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne.
Family members were not informed of the Spare title in advance of the announcement yesterday, while the Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or ‘in the shadow’.
An initial release date of had been pencilled in for ‘late 2022’ to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas market, but the book will not be on the shelves until January 10 – said to be as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, due to last-minute alterations requested by the duke.
A spokesman for the King declined to comment on the book last night. But it is understood that the Royal Household has already been warned that the 416-page, £28 book is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and they are ‘dreading’ it.