King Charles Puts Prince William In Charge of Prince Harry’s Former Military Unit

It was a role that, had Harry remained a working royal, he likely would have wanted (and probably been given).

Prince William and Prince Harry in profile in military uniform
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yesterday, King Charles announced further military appointments for working members of the royal family, chosen to “continue to reflect the close relationship between the Armed Forces and the Royal Family in His Majesty’s reign,” a statement from Buckingham Palace released yesterday said. Among the appointments? By order of the King, Prince William is now in charge of Prince Harry’s former military unit, Us Weekly reports. This means William “can now add the honorifics of Colonel-in-Chief, The Army Air Corps, Colonel-in-Chief, The Mercian Regiment, and Royal Honorary Air Commodore, R.A.F. Valley, to his list of growing titles as heir apparent,” the outlet writes. William is a veteran of the British military, Buckingham Palace noted, with extensive service in the Royal Air Force in particular; he served as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot from 2010 to 2013.

Prince William in military uniform

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But now, as Us Weekly points out, William’s new role as Colonel-in-Chief to the Army Air Corps in particular—a role previously held by the King himself—now places him in charge of Harry’s old Army unit. Harry “went on multiple tours of Afghanistan during his time in the British military, in which he served as a Forward Air Controller and then as an Apache Pilot in the Army,” Us Weekly reports.

When he stepped back as a working member of the royal family in 2020, Harry was stripped of his three military titles: Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of Royal Air Force Honington, and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command. Since then, whether or not Harry would be allowed to wear his military uniform has been up for continual debate, even though he served in the military for a decade.

Prince William and Prince Harry in military uniform

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Royal expert Christopher Andersen said that, in the midst of the ongoing family feud (we don’t have to tell you which one), the King and William have grown closer than ever. “They’ve been insulted by members of their own family,” Andersen said. "It’s been quite the ordeal for them, and I think that they kind of circled the wagon, so to speak. And they’ve come out of that with a stronger bond.” Similarly, Harry and wife Meghan Markle have put on their own “united front”: “As far as they’re concerned, it’s Harry and Meghan against the world,” a source told Us Weekly.

As Colonel-in-Chief of The Army Air Corps, The Daily Mail reports, William will represent the Army’s airborne wing, including Harry’s former unit, 662 Squadron. It’s a role that Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said Harry himself could have been in line for had he not left life as a working royal. Little said it was “quite feasible” that this prestigious appointment would have gone Harry’s way had he stayed in the Firm. “Had Harry still been around, he might well have had more appointments going his way,” he said. 

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

The Mirror reports that Harry “might have hoped to one day take the role after spending three-and-a-half years in the Army’s airborne wing. But he has been stripped of all his honorary military appointments after quitting royal duty.”

Kate Middleton serving as Colonel of the Irish Guards

Catherine has many military appointments, including serving as Colonel of the Irish Guards (pictured here)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

By the way, William isn’t the only one who has new military appointments—the Princess of Wales was also bestowed with new titles of her own, and she is now the Commodore-in-Chief, Fleet Air Arm, Colonel-in-Chief, 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, and Royal Honorary Air Commodore, R.A.F. Coningsby. Catherine “has family connections to the RAF, as her paternal grandfather served as a fighter pilot during the Second World War and flew with the late Duke of Edinburgh [Prince Philip] in the 1960s,” The Daily Mail reports. Captain Peter Middleton—who the outlet reports, in an incredible twist, was Philip’s co-pilot on flights across South America during a royal tour—passed away just days before William and Catherine announced their engagement back in 2010.

Other royal family members, including Queen Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and the King himself, also received new military appointments from this latest announcement.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.