MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Put an end to this reckless talk, Harry – for all our sakes
With a strange combination of sadness and anger, much of the nation turns away in shock from Prince Harry’s extraordinary claims about his service in Afghanistan.
The damage he has done is incalculable, giving propaganda ammunition to the Taliban themselves and to all kinds of Islamist extremists and enemies of our society here.
How wretched it is to recall how much we once admired and liked this brave young man. And now we see instead an outburst of rash wilfulness, thoughtlessly endangering others for reasons which are far from clear.
At the same time he bursts into the privacy of his own father’s private communications and chatters blithely about his use of illegal drugs. What will his own children one day make of this?
Prince Harry’s true friends will by now surely be telling him that he has gone too far
Once again it is evidence that when good things go wrong, the outcome is especially bad.
The Duke of Sussex knows better than this and will eventually understand how big a mistake he is making. Let it be soon.
During the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, the monarchy was associated very closely with the longstanding English virtues of patience and self-restraint.
During an era when the stiff upper lip was otherwise mocked almost out of existence, the monarch continued to follow the old rules.
She and the rest of her family endured all kinds of attacks, mockery and disdain from the leaders of a new age. And it has to be said that she emerged victorious from the struggle.
By the end of her reign, her particular form of Christian forbearance was viewed with almost universal admiration, even by those who had little time for monarchy.
The greatest example of the opposite view was, of course, Princess Diana, whose tragic life and death embodied more modern ideas of compassion and of unconcealed emotions.
During an era when the stiff upper lip was otherwise mocked almost out of existence, Queen Elizabeth II continued to follow the old rules
She, too, is still admired by many. Millions celebrate her memory, and it lives on most of all in her two sons, who had to suffer so much, so publicly, before, during and after her death.
Now the younger of those sons is embroiled in one of the most terrible and hurtful forms of conflict known to humanity – a war with his own family.
We must be grateful that his targets have so far declined to respond in kind, and must hope, for the sake of nation and monarchy as well as for the individuals involved, that they continue to follow the late Queen’s example.
As for Harry himself, his true friends will by now surely be telling him that he has gone too far, that this is enough, and that the only hope of eventual reconciliation lies in future silence.
The unsoldierly talk about his time in combat goes much further than his reckless exposure of family secrets which ought to have remained secrets.
The breaches of privacy are foolish by any standards, cruel and wrong – though it is not entirely impossible that he will one day be able to apologise and seek forgiveness for them.
The talk of killing is another matter. It is a dangerous mistake on its own terms, it cannot be unsaid and its repercussions for Harry and for others cannot be foreseen.
Surely this must be the end of this, for Harry’s sake and for all our sakes. No more, please.
Turning the tide
An incredible four billion items of plastic cutlery are thrown away every year in this country.
The damage these do to the environment is vast – as our sister paper, the Daily Mail, has long passionately argued in its Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.
Praise is due to Environment Secretary Therese Coffey for banning single-use plastic cutlery.
There is, of course, more to be done. But future generations will be grateful that we acted when we did.
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