- Before he dedicated himself to the life of a working royal, Prince Harry spent a decade in the military.
- In 2015, when Queen Elizabeth started to delegate more and more royal duties to younger generations of royals, Harry was forced to choose between his military career and his royal life.
- Harry described the moment as a "crossroads" and got real about the impossibility of juggling royal life with another career.
Being royal looks like a great life from the outside, but living it can be a different story. Sometimes, members of the royal family have to make some pretty serious personal sacrifices in the name of duty. Prince Harry is just one of the senior-ranking royals who had to choose between the life of a working royal and, well, the life he wanted for a long time.
Way back in 2005, Prince Harry entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Harry spent a decade in the army, eventually working his way up to the rank of Captain. In 2015, as Harry's grandma, Queen Elizabeth, was looking to delegate more of her royal duties to younger members of the family, Harry found himself at a "crossroads."
Ultimately, Harry realized that balancing the life of a working royal with the life of a career military officer just wasn't realistic and he made the difficult decision to give up his military career to dedicate himself to The Firm full-time.
"It is a crossroads," he said of the decision in 2015, according to Express. "I’m in the same position now as most people in my year group or my rank would be in, and most of the guys I joined with have left for numerous reasons. It is the case that if we move on then more responsibilities come, and I suppose with wanting to take on slightly more of this royal role I don’t really feel as though I would be in the right position to take on the careers of more soldiers and to take on the responsibility to fly, for instance."
Harry admitted that he tried, for a while, to juggle both parts of his life before he realized that wasn't going to work long-term.
"So it is a balance, and I’ve been trying to get the balance right over the past six months to a year before I finished and it was getting hard," he said.
Harry went on to describe the realities of advancing further in the military—which would have meant a very different life than the one he was used to in the service.
"Inevitably what happens as you climb the ranks is that you will do more of a desk job," he explained. "A lot of guys that get to my age leave, and that is partly because a lot of guys join for the outside, for the excitement of running around in the bush with the soldiers."
According to Harry, the time investment was going to be greater the further he advanced in the military and, if he'd kept on that track and tried to balance the workload with his royal duties, some of his military work would have fallen to others to cover.
"And then there is a point where you have to take the next step and go to a desk and do Staff College and become a major and so on. With all that comes greater responsibilities and a lot of your time, which if I’m doing these royal duties doesn’t work," he said. "It doesn’t sit comfortably with me knowing that I’m off doing something while others are still at work looking after my soldiers. I don’t want people to cover for me—that was never going to work."
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